The coconut palm is grown throughout the tropics and the whole tree is useful to us.

What are the uses of coconut?

• Coconut is a good food with all the necessary nutrients.
• Almost every part of the coconut tree is useful to human beings.
• It is used in traditional medicine as well as in modern medicine. More than 50 applications are written in the literature which is still in use.

Why are the fatty acids of coconut healthy?

Coconut has less (30%) long chain saturated fatty acids but more (70%) short and medium chain saturated fatty acids and therefore it is healthy to make a good ratio of LDL and HDL.

What is your personal opinion?

Coconut is good and we all must eat. The reasons are as follows:

• It has 9% fibre.
• Coconut has the highest amount of selenium. It has 810µg Selenium per 100 g. Selenium is found in enzymes to remove the dangerous free radicals and also helps to remove the toxic heavy metals such as mercury from our body.
• All the other elements like potassium, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, zinc and iodine are present.
• B vitamins, E and C are also present in coconut.

30 g of coconut chutney for idly or for methu vadai will not harm anybody. Normal amount could also be used in some other food preparations. In every preparation the food is diluted few times to several times and at the end we may be taking only few grams of long chain saturated fatty acids.

I met several people who are not at all using coconuts years together in India because of their high blood pressure or after the bypass heart operation. Interestingly many of them are still eating meat or poultry and why is coconut alone a villain? But to have things properly done care should be taken with coconut oil as well as with other oils in cooking. Other vegetable oils are also good and healthy. The dose makes always the poison.

But we must keep it always in mind that studies have shown virgin coconut oil has reduced the bad cholesterol and increased the good cholesterol. If we see the coconut belt throughout the world where coconuts are produced and eaten everyday without any adverse effects for the heart or other organs, then I ask myself whether some lobby groups are at work to sell their products which has no equal quality of coconut or coconut oil.

Here also I want to stress the importance of individual counselling.

What is virgin coconut oil?

Virgin coconut oil is made from fresh coconuts and from copra, the dried ones.

What will happen then to the excess coconut oil available in the market?

Coconut oil has several applications. It is used as bio-diesel for aeroplanes and to manufacture soap, cosmetics and creams. It is used in the medicine and as raw materials for paints and for industrial purpose. But I think it could be better to use it as food for persons who are poor than to any other industrial purpose.

What do you say about tender coconut water?

It is very good not only in summer but also in all seasons. Packed in the natural fatty container it is always pure and also has minerals and vitamins.

Has coconut cholesterol?

No. Coconut has no cholesterol. All plant foods have no cholesterol.

What is the connection between mother’s milk and coconut?

The fatty acids present in both mother’s milk and coconut are same in composition. The nature knows what we need. The reason is short and medium chain fatty acids are converted in the liver to give direct, immediate energy to the infant which important to live. Only the long chain fatty acids need the enzymes for the long digestion. Do we want to say mother’s milk is bad? Never.

What are the oils good for our Indian way of cooking?

Sesame oil, coconut oil and groundnut oil are the best oils to our way of cooking because they are heat stable.