Coconut is a large and tall palm tree that reaches a height of about 30 meters and has ancient history. It has cotton leaves that each grow to a size of about 6 meters and its length is about 90 cm. It grows in tropical regions and is a major commercial product due to its various decorative and culinary uses. The tree named “Coconut” by Spanish and Portuguese explorers. The name derived from the Iberian ‘El Coco’, which refers to a legendary hairy monster.
The main origin and history of coconut
It is believed to originate in South Asia. Some fossils found in New Zealand reflect the fact that coconuts have been flourishing off the coast of New Zealand for 15 million years. In Asia, research shows that fossils found in Kerala, the “land of coconuts,” are much older. However, the fossils found in Khulna, Bangladesh are known to be the oldest.
Ideal weather conditions for growing coconuts
It grows mainly in tropical regions of the world and needs warm climates to grow. These terms include:
- Sandy soil, with high salinity tolerance
- Plenty of sunlight, with an average annual temperature of 27 ° C
- Regular annual rainfall is approximately 150-200 cm
- High humidity
- No shadow
Coconut pests and diseases
Coconut is very susceptible to Phytoplasma. It is also threatened by Erythroid mites. This fruit is the favorite food of Lepidoptera larvae. Coconut leaf beetle feeds on coconut leaves and damages seedlings.
Nutrition facts of coconut
Coconut is high in fat and calories while moderate in carbohydrates and protein. The nutrition facts of one cup (about 80 grams) of fresh and chopped coconut is:
- Calories: 283
- Protein: 3 grams
- Carbohydrates: 10 g
- Fat: 27 grams
- Sugar: 5 grams
- Fiber: 7 grams
The largest exporters of coconut and its products in the world
In 2018, Indonesia (18,555,000 tons) was the main exporter of coconut. The Philippines (14,726,000 tons) is in second place, followed by India (11,706,000 tons) and Sri Lanka (2,623,000 tons) in third and fourth place. Indonesia remains the largest supplier of coconut worldwide.
Health benefits of coconut
Coconut is very nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. However, unlike cow’s milk, coconut milk is lactose free so it can be used as a milk substitute by people with lactose intolerance.
Different types of coconut
Tall coconut is one of the most common types of coconut and has two types, East Coast Tall and West Coast Tall. They live an average of 80-90 years and grow even at very high altitudes. These trees typically grow between 15 and 18 meters or more in height.
Dwarf coconut species
As the name implies, dwarf coconuts are smaller than their tall species and grow an average of 6 to 18 meters. Their average lifespan is 40-50 years and they bear fruit earlier than the tall species of coconut.
Malay Yellow Dwarf Coconut
It is believed to be the most widespread dwarf coconut species in the world. It was first introduced in Malaysia between 1890-1900. When younger, the fruits of this species are pale yellow-green at first and turn pale yellow as they age.
This type of coconut is native to Sri Lanka and part of India and is slightly shorter than other types. King coconuts grow an average of 20 meters and produce about 20 coconuts in clusters. Their average length is 20 to 30 cm and their skin is light orange.
Health benefits of dried coconut
Coconut, whether dried or fresh, has many health benefits. The minerals in coconut are involved in many functions of your body. Coconut in particular contains manganese, which is essential for bone health. They are also rich in copper and iron, which help build red blood cells, selenium and important antioxidants that protect your cells.