Anyone remember the 1994 exposé of movie theater popcorn? This cinema staple, known for its delicious taste and aroma, had been consumed for years by a public blissfully unaware of the fact that it was loaded with demonized saturated fat.
Movie theatre popcorn was (gasp) popped in coconut oil, an “evil” tropical fat that had no place in a healthy diet. As a result, concession stand popcorn sales dropped by half and many venues scrambled for an alternative.
Fast forward twenty years, and coconuts, which never went out of favor in their native countries, are now touted for their health benefits.
Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) has nothing to do with cocoa or nuts. “Coconut” actually comes from the word “coco” which refers to the head or skull in Spanish. The coconut tree is a variety of palm that grows readily in tropical areas, particularly in sandy soil.
Known in India as kalpavriksha: the all-giving tree, coconut wood, leaves, sap, and especially the fruit, have been used by humans for a variety of uses for centuries.
The sap of the coconut tree is the source of coconut syrup and sugar. The fruit of the coconut palm is valued for its water and its flesh, the latter of which is the source of coconut milk, cream, flour, and oil.
Coconut milk has, in just a few short years, become a popular alternative to cow’s milk. Available in the dairy section of any major supermarket, this refreshing beverage contains no lactose and is a good choice for those who are lactose intolerant.