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Coconut

Benefits

Coconut contains protein, several important minerals, and small amounts of B vitamins, and unlike many other fruits that are high in carbs, coconuts provide mostly fat.

The minerals in coconut are involved in many functions in your body. Coconuts are especially high in manganese, which is essential for bone health and the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and cholesterol.

They’re also rich in copper and iron, which help form red blood cells, as well as selenium, an important antioxidant that protects your cells.

Although coconut meat is high in fat, and helps you lose excess body fat, it also provides carbs and protein along with many essential minerals, such as manganese, copper, iron, and selenium.

Here are the nutrition facts for 1 cup (100 grams) of raw and dried coconut meat :

Raw coconut meat               Dried coconut meat                 Nutrients
 354                                      650                                        Calories 
     3 grams                                7.5 grams                          Protein 
    15 grams                             25 grams                             Carbs 
      9 grams                             18 grams                             Fiber 
    33 grams                             65 grams                             Fat 
   75% of the Daily Value       137% of the DV                    Manganese 
   22% of the DV                      40% of the DV                     Copper 
   14% of the DV                      26% of the DV                     Selenium 
   8% of the DV                        23% of the DV                     Magnesium 
   11% of the DV                       21% of the DV                     Phosphorus 
   13% of the DV                     18% of the DV                       Iron 
   10% of the DV                     16% of the DV                       Potassium

 

Symbolism

The coconut palm (cocos nucifera) is a universal symbol of the tropics. Coconut palms give food, clothing and shelter to millions of people around the world. No wonder it’s called the Tree of Life or Tree with a Thousand Uses in some parts of Southeast Asia, where it originated.

Well, coconuts have some interesting and unusual characteristics that many consider to make them uniquely appropriate as a symbol of the ego.

The outer shell is what is likened to a person’s ego. This tough, resilient layer represents all the protection and the roughness that we build up around our inner self. Like the coconut’s shell, our ego serves an important function. It helps us to survive and maintain our form in the rough and tumble of life. It also keeps the goodness inside separate and hidden from the world.

It is rough, but actually, like the ego, it has a clear purpose. It is a container for something precious. It is the soft, white inner core and water of the coconut that represents our inner light, beauty and divinity. It could even be said that just as the water of one coconut is indistinguishable from another, our truest essence is the same as everyone else. And once it is freed from the ego, it can flow out and be absolutely unrestrained.

A Bit of History

Coconuts have been grown in tropical regions for more than 4,500 years. Prior to the age of discovery, coconuts were dispersed from east Africa to the Pacific coast of Panama, they were floating on the ocean for months and still germinate when beached, so they may have arisen anywhere between the eastern Indian and western Pacific oceans. Today, coconut is distributed pantropical, and even reaches extra-tropical areas such as southern Florida and the Bahamas.

Malay seamen had seen coco de mer nuts "falling upwards" from the sea bed, and so they had reasoned that these nuts must grow on underwater trees, in a forest at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. According to Antonio Pigafetta and Georg Eberhard Rumphius, Malay people believed that the tree was also the home of the huge bird or bird-like creature Garuda (or Rukh of the Arabs). African priests believed that the Garuda was capable of hunting elephants and tigers. The African priests also believe that sometimes the coco de mer trees rose up above the ocean surface, and when this happened, the waves that the trees created did not allow any ship nearby to sail away and the helpless sailors were eaten by the Garuda.

In the Maldives, any coco de mer nuts that were found in the ocean or on the beaches were supposed to be given to the king, and keeping a nut for yourself or selling it could have resulted in the death penalty. However, Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor was able to purchase one of these nuts for 4,000 gold florins. The Dutch Admiral Wolfert Hermanssen also received a nut as a gift for his services, from the Sultan of Bantam in 1602, for fighting the Portuguese and protecting the capital of Bantam. However, the nut that the admiral was given was missing the top part; apparently the Sultan had ordered the top of the nut to be cut off, in order not to upset the noble admiral’s modesty. João de Barros believed that coco de mer possessed amazing healing powers, superior even to those of "the precious stone Bezoar.


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