The Tree of Life

Coconut is considered as a sacred fruit and holds a very high place in all religious ceremonies. In Vedas coconut tree is described as Kalpa-Vriksha – the tree of heaven. It is widely cultivated in Sri Lanka and coconut milk is found in most Sri Lankan dishes giving the cuisine its unique flavor.

Coconut is nearly a perfect diet, as it contains almost all the essential nutrients required by the human body. It is nourishing, strengthening and fattening dietary. Its jelly like tender kernel contains various enzymes and easily digestible. Ripe kernel is rich in fat and carbohydrates. Fresh coconut milk is rich in Vitamin A. Coconut water contains lots of minerals and vitamins.

Nutritional Value ( per 100 grams edible portion)

  • Moisture – 36.3%
  • Protein – 4.5%
  • Carbohydrates – 13%
  • Fiber – 3.6%
  • Minerals – 1%
  • Fat – 41.6%

Minerals and Vitamins

  • Calcium – 10 mg
  • Phosphorus – 240 mg
  • Iron – 1.7 mg
  • Vitamin C – 1 mg
  • Magnesium – 32 mg
  • Potassium – 356 mg
  • Small amount of Vitamin B Complex

Calorific Value

  • Fresh Coconut: 444
  • Dried Coconut: 662

People have experienced the benefits of the tree of heaven for thousands of years as an effective medicine and, the products have held a respected and valuable place in local folk medicine.

Medicinal values of coconut water

  • Increase appetite
  • Subside hyperacidity
  • Healing ulcers and wounds
  • Useful in skin diseases, burning sensations of the body
  • Prevent urinary diseases

Health benefits of coconut milk

  • Relaxing muscles & nerves
  • Lubricate joints
  • Maintain flexibility and the oiliness of the skin and the tissues
  • Improve immunity
  • Control weight

 Medicinal uses of coconut oil

The cheaper hydrogenated oil is indeed harmful for health, but cold-pressed coconut oil is an effective health supplement.

  • Healthy growth of hair
  • Moisturize the skin
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Healing wounds
  • Good for burns
  • Boost energy
  • Improve HDL (good) cholesterol
  • Remove intestinal worms
  • Heal fissures, hemorrhoids
  • Useful in yeast and fungal infections, including Candida
  • Dissolve Kidney stones
  • Promote weight loss

Is coconut oil good for cooking?

Coconut oil contains saturated fatty acids, but many indigenous cultures around the world value saturated fats for their nourishing properties. Coconut is made up of a unique blend of medium-chain fatty acids, which may offer certain health benefits. Particularly, it can raise HDL (good) cholesterol. Since it contains only 2% of polyunsaturated fatty acids, it prevents lipid peroxidation and less in free radicals that damage your body. The refreshing scent of coconut oil and its fabulous taste makes it an ideal cooking medium.

 

Delicious Sri Lankan Coconut Sambol Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh grated, coconut
  • 1 tbsp of chili powder /1-2 tbsp of chillie pepper flakes
  • Dash of pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 3-4 small red onions (shallots) or 1- 2 finely diced red onions
  • 1 lime

Using a mortar and pestle, grind all the ingredients until combined. Alternatively, use a food processor. Add lime juice and mix well. Ready to serve!

May all beings be healthy!

Dr. Indunil Weerarathne
06 March 2015

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