Historical and Modern Day Uses of Coconut

historical and modern day uses of coconut

These days, we are all amazed by the numerous properties and uses of coconut. Yet its derivatives have been a staple in the home of many for years, particularly in Caribbean and South-East Asian regions.

Coconuts are the seeds of the woody husk on a palm tree. These seeds, when mature, contain a meat as well as a clear liquid inside, known as coconut water. 

The Properties and Benefits of the Coconut

uses of coconutThe properties of the coconut are endless, and somewhat amazing.  Even the Bible mentions the palm tree in Psalm 92:12, whereby likening the righteous man to the fruitfulness and standing of this nutrient-rich, fruit bearing tree.

The meat of the coconut is rich in a variety of important nutrients, including Protein, Calcium, Fiber, Iron and Vitamins B6, C and E. It also contains Potassium, Niacin, Thiamin, Magnesium and Folate (USDA).

Combined, these nutrients contribute to bone and teeth formation, as well as red blood cell formation, blood pressure regulation, and immune system and nervous system function. Additionally, the vitamin C and E provide antioxidant properties—they help prevent and reduce damage to the cells caused by free radicals. Yet vitamin C also contributes to wound healing, as well as collagen and connective tissue formation. This means it may helpful in bringing about more youthful looking skin. So needless to say, the reasons to incorporate coconut oil, milk and cream into our self-care regimen and diets are endless!

Everyday Uses of Coconut

We see now that coconut derivatives all offer unique benefits to the body, hair and skin. However, we can’t just stop there—as countries like Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, as well as several West Indian islands have found significant ways to utilize all aspects of the coconut.

1. Cooking

Derivatives like coconut oilmilk and cream are common ingredients in  island and West Indian cuisine. This includes various rice dishes, as well as recipes involving chicken, seafood and even drinks, sweets and desserts. 

uses of coconut

2. Crafts and more

Islanders are known for using coconut leaves to create baskets. It is also used for roofing in certain cultures; some, even still to this day.

3. Household Uses

Many West Indian baby boomers can also remember using the dried husk as a brush to polish and shine floors and shoes.

4. Hair & Skin-Care

For these same baby boomers, coconut oil was the hair and skin moisturizer used by everyone in the home. This is because coconut oil was known, even back then, for its many health and beauty properties.

These days you can find coconut oil hair treatment and skin-care products on the market. Coconut oil is even highly regarded among the most well-known natural hair loss treatments. In fact, now, countless widespread beauty, as well as food products feature coconut oil, milk and cream. This is in an effort to take advantage of their huge and vast benefits!

uses of coconut oil

FDA. Vitamins and Minerals Chart. <https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/interactivenutritionfactslabel/factsheets/vitamin_and_mineral_chart.pdf>
USDA. "Nuts, coconut meat, raw."National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Legacy Release.  <https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/">
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). Antioxidants: In Depth. <https://nccih.nih.gov/health/antioxidants/introduction.htm>
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