Latin Name: Cocos nucifera
Coconut fruit comes from the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) which can grow up to 30 m (98 ft) tall, with pinnate leaves 4–6 m (13–20 ft) long, and pinnae 60–90 cm long. Older leaves will break away cleanly from the tree leaving a smooth trunk. While a mature and thriving tree can yield up to 75 fruits per year, it is more common to get fewer than 30. A full-sized coconut weighs about 1.44 kg (3.2 lb). Coconut palms are cultivated in more than 80 countries of the world, with a total nut production of 61 million tonnes per year.
The coconut palm is grown throughout the tropics for decoration, as well as for its many culinary and nonculinary uses; virtually every part of the coconut palm can be used by humans in some manner and has significant economic value. Coconuts’ versatility is sometimes noted in its naming. In Sanskrit, it is kalpa vriksha (“the tree which provides all the necessities of life”).
Per 100-gram serving with 354 calories, raw coconut meat supplies a high amount of total fat (33 grams), especially saturated fat (89% of total fat), moderate content of carbohydrates (15 grams), and protein (3 grams). Micronutrients in significant content (more than 10% of the Daily Value) include the dietary minerals, manganese, copper, iron, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc (table).
To start a coconut from the seed, it is best to have the outer fibrous husk intact. Get a 3-gallon pot. Use high quality nursery soil mixed with 40% coarse sand. Add drainage rocks to the bottom of the pot. Lay your coconut husk on the ground and see what way it wants to rest. Plant your coconut husk 1/2 way into the soil in the same position. You can leave the pot in the sun or the shade. Water lightly to keep very lightly moist. Partial shade will likely be more successful. Be patient. The first time we started a coconut from seed it took 9 nine months to sprout. It is common for many palms to take many months to sprout. Don’t over water as you’ll rot them out.Your coconut will first split its husk at the bottom and send down some roots. It may take several months before your coconut also splits the top of the husk pushing up its first fronds. In other words, your coconut will be growing and you won’t even know it until it splits the top. After your coconut sprouts, your coconut can live in your 3-gallon pot for about 3-6 months. After that, plant it out or in another larger pot or directly into the soil. Incorporate lots of manure. Fertilize properly starting after sprouting 3 fronds.
Coconut is LIKELY SAFE when eaten in food amounts. Coconut is POSSIBLY SAFE when used as medicine. In some adults and children, eating coconuts might cause an allergic reaction. Symptoms may include skin rashes and difficulty breathing.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Coconut is LIKELY SAFE when eaten in food amounts. There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking coconut as medicine if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Allergy to coconut oil or related plants: Coconut might cause serious allergic reactions in people who are allergic to coconut oil, coconut palm pollen, components of coconut, or other members of the Arecaceae plant family.
High cholesterol: There’s some concern that coconut might increase cholesterol. Some research found that people who eat large amounts of coconut have higher cholesterol than those who eat less. But not all research agrees. Some research shows that eating foods with coconut flour can actually decrease cholesterol. The reason for the different results might relate to the type and amount of coconut eaten. Coconut contains coconut oil. Coconut oil is made up of saturated fat. So, eating large amounts of coconut might increase cholesterol due to its saturated fat content. But eating coconut in normal amounts probably isn’t a concern. And eating coconut flour is also probably safe, since coconut flour is processed to remove fats.
Can help to lower cholesterol. Doesn’t seem to negatively affect cardiovascular health, despite its saturated fat content. According to a few studies, including a 2014 study in the Journal of Brain, Behavior and Immunity, a 2015 study in the Ceylon Medical Journal and a 2016 article in Nutrition Reviews, the saturated fat content in coconut is not comparable to the unhealthy saturated fats found in animal products. Is considered to have anti-diabetic activity. Is rich in antioxidants and other beneficial compounds.
Is good for people on ketogenic diets: The high fat content and high nutrient value of coconut make it an ideal plant-based food for people following low-carbohydrate diets like the ketogenic diet (which is safe if done vegan but very dangerous in its omnivore version). It’s also naturally sweet but still low in carbohydrates — which you won’t find in many foods that have low carbohydrate contents.
May have compounds that can help prevent or treat Alzheimer’s disease