Coconut oil comes from the coconut palm, Cocos Nucifera. The coconut plant consists of a palm, seed and fruit. Technically, the fruit of the coconut is a drupe, not a true nut. It has various uses in cooking, medicine and industry. The coconut can only grow in high temperatures and is prevalent throughout the tropics, such as the Pacific Islands, where it is used for culinary and non-culinary purposes.
Coconut oil is extracted from the kernel or meat of coconuts.
Coconuts have been a mainstay of traditional diets throughout much of the world throughout history.
The seed contains a white, fleshy part known as the coconut meat or copra. Coconut oil is extracted from the meat. Coconut also yields milk, water, flour, dried coconut pieces, a sweet sap used to make candies and other treats.
Coconut oil is found in the fruit and nut of the plant and in coconut milk, so you can enjoy these other coconut products to add more coconut oil to your diet!
Sales of coconut oil have surged recently. At Whole Foods, annual sales growth “has been in the high double digits for the last five years.”
New research—and a fresh look at older studies—has revealed that coconut oil contains certain types of fats, such as lauric acid and medium-chain triglycerides, that have numerous health benefits. It also contains antioxidants. These are just a few of the positive effects of coconut oil: improved lipid profile, metabolism, immune system function, thyroid function, cardiovascular health, and skin health.
Coconut Cream, Milk and Water
Coconut milk and coconut cream are prepared as described above: They are extracted from fresh coconut meat or from copra.
Both milk and cream are mostly water with some fat. They differ by their fat content—in coconut milk, the fat content is 17% or greater and in coconut cream, it is 24% or greater.
Like coconut oil, milk and cream are rich in saturated fat, the same MCTs as in coconut oil, especially lauric acid. Also, coconut milk and cream contain some coconut oil, making them wonderful extra sources of the wonderful oil!
Coconut water is simply the watery fluid inside immature coconuts. It contains no fat, but does contain a small amount of sugar and several electrolytes and antioxidants.
Learn more about coconut oil in our 5 start Amazon Kindle eBook: Introduction to: Coconut Oil – Including Anti-Aging, Skin Care, Weight Loss and Recipes