The Amazing Coconut{11}


I first started to get an idea of how truly special the coconut when I began using coconut oil for cooking. Previously I hadn’t cooked much but when circumstances changed and I had to fend on my own, I found I needed an oil that would stand up to high temperatures. Can’t even remember why now, but it’s not important. I did the research and coconut oil was at the top of oils. It was basically considered the cream of the crop of oils. The organic kind is sold in health food stores for a premium price. Not surprisingly, the Philippines produces over 50% of the world’s supply.

I had no idea that the coconut was so versatile, though. Sure I knew it was used in deserts, pastries, etc. and coconut milk was popular in some areas of the world, but I truly didn’t know it’s potential.

“The amazing thing about the coconut palm is that it provides almost all the necessities of life: food, drink, oil, medicine, fiber, timber, thatch, mats, fuel, and domestic utensils, as well as serving important environmental services such as soil erosion control in coastal regions, wind protection and shade for other crops,” wrote Craig Elevitch, author of various books on tropical agriculture.

The health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, maintaining cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer, dental care, and bone strength. These benefits of the coconut oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and its properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, soothing, etc.*

What really caught my eye was an article I ran across regarding the use of the coconut as a biodiesel. Coconut methyl ester (CME), is the biodiesel extracted from coconut. The Philippines is the first country to use coconut as source for biodiesel. Studies have shown that for every liter of CME consumed, it generates a reduction of three kilograms of carbon dioxide. Furthermore, being a saturated biodiesel, emission of oxides of nitrogen (another greenhouse gas) is substantially reduced.

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At least four Asian countries plan to mandate the blending of CME with diesel to help reduce the dependance upon crude mineral oil. Japan in particular has a total diesel requirement near 40 billion liters a year, and its plans for a CME blend of 5 percent will create a huge demand for this additive.

Dave Starr via the web magazine, Live in the Philippines, wrote a nice article with more detail about alternative energy in the Philippines. It’s well worth the read if you care to learn more about that.

Coconut: Another green source of fuel | Sun.Star Network Online

* Organic Facts