By Joseph Mercola, D.O.
Many people believe that coconuts are generally not healthy. However, raw coconut contains many naturally occurring, health-promoting qualities, and I would like to share my findings on how you can enjoy the wonders of this amazing food.
Lauric acid, the major fatty acid from coconut fat, has been recognized for its unique properties in food use, which include antiviral, antibacterial and antiprotozoal functions. Also, natural coconut fat in the diet may lead to a normalization of body lipids, thereby protecting against alcohol damage to the liver and improving the immune system's anti-inflammatory response.
Part of the confusion about coconut relates to the saturated fat issue. Fortunatley, Sally Fallon, author of the highly recommended Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats (with Mary G. Enig, PhD), as well as numerous articles on the subject of diet and health, has addressed the issue of saturated fat. Trans fat is actually the problem not saturated fat.
It is important to note that your Metabolic Type has a major influence on whether or not you will enjoy coconuts and whether they are good for your individual type. If you are a protein type you will likely thrive on coconuts, but if you are a carb type you will most likely not enjoy the coconut meat. The coconut milk (fluid inside the coconut) is fine for carb types, however.
As a protein type, I really don’t enjoy the low-fat coconut milk, but I devour the coconut meat and eat about one whole coconut every two days. Since I started eating whole raw coconuts I have stopped using coconut oil.
How to Open a Coconut
First you will need to drain the coconut. You can do this by piercing two or three of the “eyes” at the pointed tip with a Phillips screwdriver and a hammer. Drain all the fluid out, otherwise you will have a mess when you crack open the shell with the hammer.
When cracking the shell, you can aim the hammer at a ridge at the eye end. I recommend breaking the shell into small pieces as it will be easier to remove the meat. Also, placing the coconut on a concrete floor or sidewalk makes it much easier to break open. Initially, I would place the coconut on the ground and hit it with an axe, but then winter came and I found the hammer to be the easiest way.
After the coconut is broken, separate the meat from the shell by scraping or peeling the flesh from the shell with a strong knife. Be careful to point the knife away from your other hand.
Once you have removed the meat from the coconut please note its color and texture. The meat should be bright white, firm and taste good. If it is soft or tastes funny throw it away as it is likely moldy. Another clue is the backing or “skin” behind the white coconut. The skin should be a smooth, unbroken homogenous dark brown. If there are patches of white that show through, this is another clue that the coconut is too old to eat.
If you still believe that coconuts are not good for you please review the links below. If you are a protein type you will likely fall in love with coconuts like I did, and find them to be a perfect food to have with your vegetable juice as the fat really helps to balance out the meal. It is a nearly ideal snack for protein types, one that will satisfy your cravings and not make you gain weight.