Once upon a time, coconuts were unfortunately looped into the anti-fat craze, and were considered a food to be avoided. Today, we not only know there’s nothing to fear with coconuts (or plant-based fats at all, for that matter), but it seems that the coconut is almost something of a miracle food. Because there are so many types of ingredients that can be produced from every palm, coconuts are considered a profoundly sustainable crop, often called the “Tree of Life.” And in each of its individual ingredient categories, it really does seem coconut just does things a little…better. Here are some of the most popular coconut products available, and why they rock:
Fresh Coconut Meat | There are two types of fresh coconut sold at markets: young coconuts, which look like white cylinders, and regular coconuts, which are brown hard-shelled globes. The meat from both varieties is a good source of plant-based fat that is well known for its beautifying properties.
Dried Coconut | Whether shredded or in flakes, dried coconut creates a textural delight in recipes. For a more flavorful option, I’m currently obsessed with Navitas Naturals new coconut chip line, which are made from dried coconut flakes and available in 3 flavors: Cacao, Caramel, and Chili Lime.
Coconut Flour | Advocates of a gluten-free lifestyle routinely rely on coconut flour to help create exceptional baked goods that are very high on fiber, and big on flavor, too.
Coconut Water | Coconut water tastes like lightly sweet water but is one of the best natural sources of electrolytes, which counteract dehydration and keep cellular communication optimum. Fresh coconut water is delicious, but you can also use freeze-dried coconut water powder, which instantly transforms any bottle of water into coconut water goodness with a simple spoonful.
Coconut Oil | The healthy fat pressed from the coconut is rich in benefits, including offering heart-healthy anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal activity. Use both coconut oil just like you would use butter as a great cholesterol-free upgrade.
Coconut Sugar | Arguably one of the healthiest forms of sugar, Coconut Palm Sugar is half the glycemic index of cane sugar, and offers vitamins and minerals at the same time. You can use this caramel-like sugar as a 1:1 substitution for regular sugar in any recipe application.
To the many, many uses of coconut!
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