Go (Coco) Nuts: Three new ways to eat the prized fruit of the palm tree
It appears there's more to the coconut than the Bounty Bar.
Long referred to by Pacific Islanders as "the tree of life", the fruit of the coconut tree can be used in everything from oils and waters to sugars, flours and soaps, each rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and good fats. Neat, eh? Here are three coconut products creating a buzz in health and wellness circles.
It's the hottest sweetener on the market at the moment and while coconut sugar is still sugar, it does contain more antioxidants, iron and zinc than the run-of-the-mill stuff. The boiled and dehydrated sap of the coconut palm, coconut sugar has a low glycemic index, so it doesn't cause a blood sugar spike as sharp as its garden variety cousin and it's also a source of the dietary fibre inulin, which is good for your intestinal bifidobacteria.
With a super impressive five grams of fibre (and two grams of fat) per two tablespoons, coconut flour adds a delicious flavour to dessert recipes. Gluten free and low in carbohydrates, it also contains important minerals for health, such as manganese, copper and potassium. Coconut flour is also packed with Medium Chain Triglycerides, a healthy source of fats, which help to lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. If you're using coconut flour as a substitute for regular flour, you only need one third of a cup for every one cup of grain-based flour.
Coconut water has been around for a few years, but now that it's more widely available it's also less expensive than it used to be, meaning we can indulge our hunger for trendy fitness ingredients a little more often. Vita Coco Coconut Water contains 50% less sugar than fruit juices. It's also packed with naturally occurring potassium and essential electrolytes, making it the perfect alternative to sports drinks (and an ace hangover remedy). Try this protein-packed Post Work-Out Smoothie to prevent cramps and reduce swelling after your gym session.
Post Work-Out Smoothie
- 1 Banana
- 1 TBSP Unflavoured Protein Powder
- 4 Dates, stones removed
- 330ml Vita Coco Natural Coconut Water (available nationwide: Tesco, SuperValu, Spar, Holland & Barrett, 330ml from €2).
- ¼ TBSP Cinnamon
Method: Blend the ingredients together and you’re good to go.