I've long been a fan of coconut water and the picture is of my boy trying his first coconut water on the island of Antigua last year - it was a thumbs up (as any parent knows, not always easy...) A tender young coconut is made up of two key ingredients – the water (the clear liquid found inside the shells), and the soft white flesh. Here's my food for thought on why it's worth your time to try coconut water and coconut oil if you have thus far resisted. 

Tender young coconuts have lots of nutritional benefits, but one of the best-known comes from the coconut water itself. This contains high levels of naturally occurring electrolyte salts (such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and sodium) which aid rehydration – providing them in just the right balance for your body to absorb.

Another unique benefit of coconut water is that its composition is incredibly similar to our body’s own blood plasma – which basically makes it completely compatible with the human body!

The flesh of a tender young coconut has lots of benefits too, containing fibre, sodium, potassium, B vitamins – which help your body make energy from food and produce red blood cells – and medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) - the stuff that makes up the coconut oil you've probably seen in health food shops. 

MCFAs sound complicated, but they’re basically just a type of saturated fat. This sounds bad, but these aren’t broken down and absorbed by our bodies like other saturated fats, such as animal fats.

So, in coconut oil although there's a very high proportion of saturated fats, they are the unusual “medium chain triglyceride” (MCT) variety, which help to increase good HDL cholesterol but not bad LDL cholesterol. I like to use coconut oil in stir-fries and baking, as it's chemically stable and doesn't oxidise into harmful components either. 

If only they grew in the UK.