While on my recent trip to California, a fresh coconut was on the menu at a local vegan restaurant so I thought I would try it. Wow, what a great experience from the delicious sweet hydrating coconut water inside to the white sweet tender flesh on the inside. It is a wonderful culinary experience and it’s good for you !

Raw coconut is rich in medium-chain triglycerides, a type of dietary fat that may encourage weight loss. According to an article published in the June 2006 edition of the Ceylon Medical Journal, medium-chain triglycerides convert into mono glycerides and medium-chain free fatty acids during digestion--two substances your body uses immediately for energy rather than storing as fat. In addition to their metabolism-boosting properties, medium-chain triglycerides may curb hunger more effectively than other forms of fat, leading to a lower calorie intake over time. As a result, the specific fats in raw coconut may promote a healthy body weight and help you shed unwanted pounds.

Raw coconut is rich in dietary fiber, with one cup of shredded meat yielding 7 grams, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database. As the April 2009 issue of "Nutrition Reviews" explains, diets rich in fiber can boost health by normalizing bowel movements, reducing your risk of hemorrhoids, preventing blood sugar swings, lowering blood pressure, providing long-lasting satiation that discourages overeating, protecting against diabetes and even boost your immune system. In addition, the fiber in raw coconut may improve your cholesterol levels by reducing the amount of low-density lipoprotein--or LDL--cholesterol in your bloodstream.

So upon my return home, while  shopping in the Whole Foods, I saw a coconut in the produce aisle. Fresh coconuts can be either young or mature. Young coconuts either have a green shell or a white husk (where the green shell has been removed).  These are typically Asian coconuts. There is also the more familiar brown-haired variety which is the more mature coconut. Young coconuts contain more water and soft, gel-like meat whereas mature coconuts have firm meat and less water.

Young coconuts are the most health enhancing of the two. The water in the young coconut is one of the highest sources of electrolytes. Electrolytes are responsible for keeping the body properly hydrated so the muscles and nerves can function appropriately. Therefore it is more beneficial to drink the water from a young coconut after an intense workout rather than the commercial sports drinks we see advertised.

I was so excited, I bought it and looked forward to having it. At the restaurant they serve it all peeled back with the top attached like a little lid and a straw in it so you can just go for it and enjoy it. I tried using a knife and I was able to peel away some of the exterior, I tried to crack it open but still could not open it. I was perplexed, so the only thing left to do was to “google it”. There are a lot of YouTube videos on how to open a coconut and after watching the video, on my first try, I was successful.  Sweet success, I drank the water and scooped out the coconut flesh, ate some and then saved the rest for my smoothies. 

Get out of your comfort zone and try something new today. Here are the TOP TEN Benefits of Coconut:

    1    Supports immune system health: it is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-parasite

    2    Provides a natural source of quick energy and enhances physical and athletic performance

    3    Improves digestion and absorption of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals

    4    Improves insulin secretion and symptoms associated with diabetes

    5    Helps protect the body from cancers due to insulin reduction, removal of free radicals that cause premature aging and degenerative disease

    6    Reduces risk of heart health and improves good cholesterol (HDL)

    7    Restores and supports thyroid function

    8    Helps protect against kidney disease and bladder infection

    9    Promotes weight loss

    10    Helps keep hair and skin healthy and youthful looking, prevents wrinkles, sagging skin, age spots, and provides sun protection