The Mighty Coconut – Why this Nut has been so Misunderstood
Coconut is my absolute favourite when it comes to Nuts. I can eat the real fruit (soft jelly or the hard nut) every day. The water of the young nut is just heavenly. The coconut fat is great for cooking and frying and even for ‘pulling’ (cleaning your teeth).
But coconut is still not well understood. And has been perhaps the most bad-mouthed nut of all.
Why is the Coconut Misunderstood?
Growing up in the Caribbean, we learnt the virtues of the Mediterranean OLIVE oil. The British Unilever and the American farmers also promoted margarine and all types of vegetable and seed oils (e.g. sunflower).
And the lowly coconut (although this is one of the highest nuts on the world) continues to languish.
It is strange to look back at how our tastes and preferences are developed. How can something that grows in our own Caribbean backyard be ‘bad’ for you; while something, like olives, that grow in a rough arid climate, and has to be transported thousands of miles/kilometres to get to you, be so ‘good’ for you?
Is this just about marketing or companies just wanting to sell their products? Or is it about consumer stupidity? Yet we still convince African mothers that breast milk in ‘not the best’, because companies want to sell powdered milk and ‘formular’. How many more must die before we get some sense; before people trump profits?
Wake Up and Smell the Roses
It is about time that we in the Caribbean ‘wake up and smell the roses’ or ‘smoke the ganja’ (subject of another blog).
It is finally realised, today, that coconut is in fact healthy product with tremendous health values. The BBCgoodfood now confirms that coconut flesh is highly nutritious and rich in fibre, vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous and that consumption of coconut milk and other coconut-derived foods may help protect the body from infections and viruses. To think that it took a good half-century to recognise this. Perhaps they will also ‘discover’ that breast milk is the best after all.
This is the case of coconuts. But every other local fruit and vegetable may be powered with vitamins and rich in minerals – the avocadoes (another culprit?), the mangoes, the soursop, cherries etc., that rot in Caribbean gardens, farms and estates, while we believe in the mantra: ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’.
What is to Be Done?
- Real effective demand for local fruits, vegetables and produce needs to be developed
- More research and knowledge of the health benefits of local produce are needed.
- A healthy dose of loving ourselves, loving the Caribbean where we came from and the fruits of our own land, instead of wishing to migrate and worshiping foreign is needed.
- Perhaps, this transformation could yet be a positive effect of Covid 19.
Dr. Auliana Poon
Dr. Auliana Poon is the founder and Managing Director of Leve Global and Exceptional Caribbean.
Auliana loves the Caribbean and believes in its people. Her personal mission is to change the world; to transform our societies. And this is precisely why she has spearheaded Exceptional Caribbean – a continuing mission to elevate tourism, trade and lives.
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