Is coconut a fruit or vegetable?

Is coconut a fruit or vegetable?

Technically speaking, the coconut is a tropical fruit that is obtained from the coconut tree and, botanically speaking, the coconut is a fibrous single-seeded drupe, also known as a dried drupe.

 

The tender coconut contains pulp and the seed that has a sweet taste can be eaten as food.

Is coconut a fruit that has a diameter of 20 to 30 centimeters and can weigh at least 2.5 kilograms. It is composed of a thick outer shell (exocarp) that can be green or yellowish in color, and a fibrous mesocarp with another hard, brown, and downy inner part.

 

Its endocarp, which is the one with the pulp attached (endosperm), is white and aromatic.

Coconut is a fruit with a high content of water rich in vitamins and minerals, and that is why it has been used as food, especially in tropical countries.

 

Coconut trees belong to the palm family and it is the most cultivated palm in the world, thanks to its medicinal and nutritional values.

The products that are extracted from the coconut tree are coconut oil or fat, coconut shell, tender coconut water, and even non-food products such as those based on wood, coconut marrow, coconut leaves, among others.

 

We can consider that the coconut can be a fruit, a seed, and a nut.

Eating coconut has many benefits because it is a great, delicious, and nutritious source of vitamins, fiber, minerals, and amino acids, and it has large amounts of calcium and potassium.

 

The benefits of coconut have made it one of the most popular foods in the raw food diet.

Coconut has been used since ancient times, especially tender coconut water, this is because it contains different properties such as antiviral, antibacterial, antiparasitic, antifungal, hypoglycemic, antioxidant, immunostimulating, and hepatoprotective.

 

Most outstanding products are obtained from coconut.

 

Coconut milk:

It is obtained by squeezing the pulp of the coconut once it is crushed, you can add water or milk.

It can be taken as a drink or it can be used in food preparations.


Coconut water:

It can be found in the central cavity of the coconut, specifically green coconuts, naturally.

Unlike the milk contained in ripe coconuts, the water in green coconuts has not yet developed fat and its sugar level is low.

This water is perfect as a hydrating drink thanks to its potassium content.

 

Jelly pulp:

Found in green coconuts, it contains the same nutrients as ripe coconut, but in a lower concentration.

 

Ripe pulp:

This can be consumed raw, roasted, grated, or as part of culinary preparations.


Coconut oil or coconut butter:

It is extracted directly from the dry pulp of the coconut, it is used in many ways in packaged industrial confectionery and snacks due to its low cost and good results, since it is a solid vegetable fat, 

saving and avoiding the work of solidifying other vegetable oils to through industrial processes such as hydrogenation that, in addition to increasing production costs, turn out to be very negative for health.


Grated coconut:

It is the dried and grated pulp of the coconut. It is widely used in pastry.

 

What is coconut for?

Coconut has many benefits, although each of its parts provides different qualities:

Coconut water:

Coconut water is one of the most consumed coconut products and contains many nutritional properties.

It is a great refreshing and hydrating drink.

There have been some studies that show us that young coconut water, together with early re-feeding, is a good oral rehydration solution when there is a deficit of electrolytes and glucose.

The moisturizing effect that coconut water has is partly associated with its high potassium content.

The natural enzymes contained in coconut water aid digestion and the elimination of toxic waste, as well as the many solids it contains, such as its fiber content, provide a nourishing medium for the beneficial microflora of the gastrointestinal tract.

Coconut water is also used to treat mild diarrhea in children.


Coconut oil or butter:

Among all the qualities that coconut oil contains, we can find its high energy intake.

Coconut has a high-fat content, it is a food that contains a lot of energy, it is a very important characteristic in cases in which you want to increase caloric consumption.

It is very useful when we have to ingest large amounts of energy or when the appetite is decreased, making it easier to ingest the energy that we want to consume.

This oil is also related to cognitive health, as it is a valuable source of energy for the brain.

The cognitive enhancement that coconut oil provides appears to be related to its medium-chain triglyceride content, helping to improve brain metabolism and cognitive function.


Coconut oil is also capable of improving the blood lipid profile. Although this oil has a high content of saturated fatty acids, it seems that coconut reduces lipoproteins (bad cholesterol), at the same time that it increases lipoproteins (good cholesterol). This is why it cannot be considered a negative oil for health.

Coconut oil can help reduce belly fat. Studies conducted with people with abdominal obesity show that dietary supplementation with coconut oil not only causes dyslipidemia but also appears to promote the reduction of abdominal fat.


This oil can also be good for wound healing, because it accelerates re-epithelialization, improves antioxidant activity, and promotes cross-linking of collagen within the tissue that is being repaired. This is why it can be very good it burns.

Coconut oil contributes to bone health by reducing oxidative stress in the bone, which can help prevent structural damage in bones with osteoporosis.


Preclinical studies (animal models) have observed an improvement in testosterone levels. The results obtained after the consumption of coconut oil were significantly higher, besides, oxidative stress in the testicles was reduced and even the benign growth of the prostate was reduced.

Other applications of coconut oil are to act as an antifungal and insecticide used on the skin.


Coconut milk:

It acts as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory and helps reduce fever and ulcers.

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