Welcome to my weekly feature, Nutri-Dictionary! Every week I will devote a little column to de-busting the hype around certain nutrition crazes – God knows there are enough of them. First up – coconuts!
Coconut oil – The holy grail of health products in 2014. The least chemically altered of all cooking oils, this thick, lard like substance is a really high quality fat that you can cook with, consume raw, rub into skin and hair, it even removes mascara! Prices start at £6.50, but a little goes a long way.
Usage: Take 1tsp mixed into espresso for a killer pre-workout kick. Also fab for raw treats – see my raw chocolate brownies
Coconut water – This is the liquid from young, green coconuts. It’s full of electrolytes so provides the body with natural energy and unparalleled hydration (many athletes use it instead of sports drinks). The market is saturated with brands such as Zico (by Coca Cola) and Vita Coco, of which there are many with added flavours. My favourite is GoCoco, which is less chemically altered and has a sweeter, more natural coconut taste.
Usage: Great in smoothies or protein shakes instead of milk or water. Also a fab hangover cure!
Coconut milk – A fragrant, dairy alternative often used in thai cooking to add a smoothness to sauces
Usage: Thin your curries with a good splash of this. It adds a slightly sweet, creamy dimension.
Coconut cream – The thick cream left from the process of soaking the coconut fruit to produce the milk. Excellent for many of the same purposes; curries and sauces are the most common.
Usage: Try a coconut rice pudding for a healthy but comforting supper.
Coconut sugar – This sugar is derived from the coconut palm tree and is touted as being more nutritious and lower on the glycaemic index than sugar.
Usage: Try replacing usual sugar or sweetener in baking and puddings. Also ideal for dusting the rims of cocktail glasses.