Harvested from the coconut palm tree, young coconuts provide the soft, rich-tasting flesh of green coconuts. Before fully mature, coconuts are green, with a thick, fibrous outer shell. Young coconut juice (water) is a super hydrating and refreshing beverage, - think nature's Gatorade.
A 1-cup serving of raw coconut has over 7 grams of fiber. Adults need at least 21 grams of fiber per day. Fiber is essential for the effective elimination of waste from your body. Fiber cleans and scrubs your intestines as it makes its way through the digestive tract.
Young coconut meat is rich in medium-chain fatty acids. Although these are saturated fats, your body processes non-animal saturated fats differently. Unlike saturated fat from animals (long-chain fatty acids), coconut fat is actually used directly as fuel bypassing the need for bile production, additionally very little of medium-chain fatty acids are stored by the body.
Like coconut water, young coconut meat is a generous source of potassium and sodium, 285 and 16 milligrams per cup. Coconut is a rich source of potassium,which helps keep your blood pressure at a healthy level. Coconut meat is also a source of a number of B vitamins, and folate (folate is required for dopamine production in the brain.)
With all this said, it's a good idea to add fresh coconut to your diet on a regular basis. Drink the coconut water - it's the perfect drink to fuel your work outs. The meat can be used in smoothies and sweet or savory dishes. The trick is getting to the water and the coconut meat. It get's easier to navigate the more you do it - practice, practice.
First, you'll want a sharp knife, such as a meat cleaver. BE CAREFUL - NOT and activity for children! You could also employ a power drill and large drill bits to create a circle or square around the top if you're reluctant about whacking away with a meat cleaver.
Firmly hold the coconut on a flat surface and SLOWLY "hammer" the bottom point of the meat cleaver into the top of the coconut in a square. You will have to make a couple of turns around the coconut to break through the top.
Carefully peel the top off as not to spill any of the coconut water. You could transfer it to a bowl to catch any spills, just in case.
Pour the water in a glass container to reserve for later or drink it now (about 1.5 cups)
Slice off an area of the side of the coconut to make a flat surface. Place the coconut on it's side and again CAREFULLY "hammer" the bottom point of the meat cleaver into the sides of the coconut - you will have to make two or three passes to get it halved. Now you can scrape out the meat with a spoon - it's very soft and easy to scrape out. Some of the brown coconut shell may stick to the coconut flesh, but you can easily pick it off. Will keep in the fridge for one week. Add to smoothies, baking, or cooking or eat on it's own. Perfect for coconut cauliflower curry soup!
That wasn't so hard now was it?
(1) Ceylon Medical Journal 2006