Coconuts are large fruits with hard shells and can weigh up to 1.5 kg. They grow in large palm trees in tropical ecosystems along the Ecuator. They are only species belonging to the genus Cocos. They are very important in the lives of rural communities in Central and South America, Africa and Asia, having a high economical and even cultural value.
The fruit has 3 different layers that have a diverse range of uses: the exocarp, the mesocarp and the endocarp. The first two compose the outermost layer, the hard part of the coconut or husk. It is composed by fiber called coir which is used to make all sorts of ropes and cordages, mattresses, brushes, doormats and use it also for industrial purposes. Due to its richness in Sodium and Potassium, biodegrading coir is also used for substrates for horticultural purposes.
The endocarp contains the water and the “flesh” of the coconut which hold minerals such as magnesium, fiber, calcium and phosphorus. The flesh is used to make highly nutritional milk and the oil commonly used for cooking, in the cosmetic industry and personal care. After these have been extracted the remaining fibrous flesh can be dehydrated and used as a gluten free substitute to conventional flour.
The consumption of coconut is related to brain cell development and prevention of memory loss. Furthermore, coconut is known being one of the most efficient sources of healthy fat, sine it burns easily to produce energy.