This month’s Siri’s Healing Foods events is hosted by Saffron Streaks and she has chosen Coconut as the theme. Two lucky winners randomly selected by the guest host will win our award-winning vegetarian cookbooks as give-aways. Looking forward to the myriad ways in which bloggers will highlight this fruit to participate in the contest.
The COCONUT is as popular in Indian kitchens as it is in the Pooja rooms. Considered as an auspicious fruit, it forms a part of most Indian ceremonies and festivals. During festivals like the Navaratri, ‘Kalash Sthapana’ is done where the coconut takes the place of pride on the altar. It is also used as an offering to deities either in its whole form or as an important ingredient in sweet offerings – as Prasadam or Neiveidyam.
During the research for our Ayurvedic cookbook “Sukham Ayu”, we learnt many interesting facts about coconut which we would like to share here.
Ayurvedic books state that food substances are endowed with a POTENCY – the capacity to have an effect on us when consumed. This is known as ‘Virya’ and is of two kinds – hot and cold. Substances that have hot or high potency ignite digestive capacity and those with a cold or low potency subdue digestive capacity. Hence care must be taken when we try to combine two food types, for instance, coconut & milk.
Coconut is cooling and unctuous. It is heavy, strengthening and nutritious. It reduces vata and pitta, but increase kapha. It is used extensively in Indian food in its tender, ripe and dried forms. The tender coconut is said to be compatible with milk according to the ancient texts. The popular traditional sweet ‘Coconut Burfi’ is referred to in Ayurvedic texts as Narikela Khanda which is said to be prepared by Dhanavantri, the God of Ayurveda himself. As per Bheshajya Ratnawali, this recipe is said to be amongst the best aphrodisiacs, good for the heart – ‘hrid roga naashak’.
Recent research studies state that coconut helps maintain health of the cardiovascular system and heart. Dr. Bruce Fife of Coconut Research Center says, “Scientists have recently discovered a powerful new weapon against heart disease. As surprising as it may seem, this new weapon is coconut oil. Yes, ordinary coconut oil. Eating coconut oil on a regular basis can reduce your chances of suffering a heart attack!”
Apart from the health benefits of this fruit, coconut is known for its great versatility as seen in the many domestic, commercial, and industrial uses while its oil is used in soaps and cosmetics. The water from tender coconut is a refreshing drink and recommended for patients. The husks and leaves can be used as material to make a variety of products for furnishing and decorating. In India, the Coconut Development Board has been doing yeoman service to promote coconut and its products.
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