Monday, March 31, 2014

Improbable Renaissance

Growing up in Hawaii during the Sixties, I took to heart columnist Bob Krauss' warning to avoid falling coconuts, which sounds amusing at first---like slipping on a banana peel---but can actually cause injury or even death; palm trees were to be given a wide berth.

As for the fruit---while the meat and juice of fresh coconut were delicious, the hard shell made them much too difficult to access. Post-war industrialization had made coconut culture passé.

Image from Telegraph-UK
Now the lowly coconut is undergoing a renaissance in the organic aisles where the cognoscenti do their shopping. Coconut oil
has "medium-chain fatty acids," a designation referring to the number of carbon atoms in the fat. Most of the fats Americans eat have long-chain fatty acids.....The medium-chain fatty acids are easier to digest, particularly for people with gastrointestinal ailments, scientists say. And the body burns them quickly, which some researchers think may make them good energy for athletes. [snip]

Early research on coconut oil and Alzheimer's disease shows a possible protective effect on neurons. In a study published earlier this year in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, Canadian researchers found mouse brain cells treated with coconut oil were somewhat protected from the toxic effects of amyloid proteins, which build up in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.
In the right climate coconut trees require zero maintenance. But if you decide to grow your own, just remember to wear a hard hat.

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