Coconuts – The Tree of Life
Coconuts grow like crazy here in the region of Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia. It seems that they just don’t like the altitude of the mountains. Theoretically the Coconut palm tree natural habitat is in the tropical regions not to far from the sea coast. The coconut palm thrives on sandy soils and is highly tolerant of salinity. Which in other words means it needs Salt! It prefers areas with abundant sunlight and regular rainfall (1500 mm to 2500 mm annually), which makes colonizing shorelines of the tropics relatively straightforward.
Image: Displaying the natural habitat of the Coconut palm over the entire planet
Coconuts in Bolivia
Even Bolivia, which is not within the Coconut natural habitat, neither is Brazil, I can absolutely confirm that we have plenty of Coconuts here! :-) And this is great of course because… I have to admit that I’m truly fascinated by the Coconut. Even more when I consider the health benefits and the variate of uses for food and cooking recipes :-) We first “discovered” fresh Coconut while traveling in Costa Rica which is the epicenter of Coconut in Latin America.
Image: Fresh cracked Coconut. After drinking the Coconut milk we always open crack the Coconut to see if the Coconut meat is good to eat. In this specimen the Coconut meat is just perfect and it tasted very well – we ate the entire Coconut as dessert after our lunch :-)
Coconut (Cocos Nucifera) The Tree of Life
The scientific name for coconut is Cocos nucifera. Early Spanish explorers called it coco, which means “monkey face” because the three indentations (eyes) on the hairy nut resembles the head and face of a monkey.
Image: Beautiful Coconut tree full with Coconuts in the tropical region of Rurrenabaque, Beni, Bolivia
Health benefits of Coconut
Coconut contains No Trans-Fats, is Gluten-Free, Non-Toxic, Hypoallergenic, and also contains Antibacterial, Antiviral, Antifungal, and Anti-parasitic healing properties. Coconut helps to aid and support overall Immune System functions.
- Improves Heart Health
By providing healthy short chain and medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) that are essential. Close to 98% of all fatty acids consumed are composed of long-chain fatty acids (LCFA), which are very different from MCFA that have no negative effect on cholesterol ratios and help to lower the risk of atherosclerosis and protect against heart disease.
- High in Dietary Fiber
Rivaling other fiber sources such as psyllium, wheat bran, oat bran, and rice bran. Coconut supplies an impressive 61% dietary fiber! Foods contain two types of carbohydrates – digestible and non-digestible.
- Low Glycemic Index (GI)
Measures how fast available carbohydrates in food raise blood sugar levels. Coconut fiber slows down the release of glucose, therefore requiring less insulin to utilize the glucose and transport it into the cell where it is converted into energy. Coconut also assists in relieving stress on the pancreas and enzyme systems of the body, in turn, reducing the risks associated with Diabetes.
Image: Opening a Coconut with the Machete can be challenging and dangerous but the more you practice the more you should know how to do it without hurting yourself.
Image: Btina drinking the fresh Coconut water. Directly harvested off from the Coconut palm tree. Not to be confused with coconut milk which is the milky-white liquid made from coconut meat. The coconut water is the clear liquid from young Coconuts. Did I mention that it tasted delicious and better than any commercially available Soda like Coca Cola, Sprite, Nestea etc.
Fresh coconut water is one of the richest natural sources of electrolytes and can be used to prevent dehydration from strenuous exercise, vomiting, or diarrhea. You lose electrolytes (especially sodium and potassium) when you sweat, which must be replenished with food and water intake. Because coconut water naturally contains so many electrolytes, it’s been called “Nature’s Gatorade.”
Image: Okay now this is me enjoying the fresh harvested Coconut liquid water.
Coconut water also has an alkalizing effect on your body, which can help correct the cumulative effects of acidifying foods that make up most diets today. For a complete nutritional profile, refer to the tables at the Coconut Research Center site.1 The list of health benefits of coconut water is impressive, and growing by leaps and bounds with each new scientific study.
Image: Visually the Coconut palm tree is very appealing with the brown trunk and the yellow or green Coconut which stand very well out of the vivid green palm leafs.