(The Guardian) — It wasn’t that long ago that the closest most Britons got to a coconut was at the fairground or on the inside of a Bounty bar. Yet in the past three years, this hard, hairy drupe (that’s the official term) of the coconut palm tree has emerged as the latest “superfood” extolled by celebrities and health food shops for its nutritional, healing and mind-enhancing powers.
Aisles of health food shops are packed with bags of flour, snacks, milk, sugar and drinks made from its meat and milk. And leading the way is coconut oil, a sweet smelling, greasy fat used for frying, baking, spreading on toast, adding to coffee or simply rubbing into your skin.
It’s hard to exaggerate how much hype surrounds coconut oil on health food websites, blogs and YouTube channels. Wellness Mama lists 101 uses including as a mental stimulant, hair conditioner and treatment for insomnia, heartburn, cuts, acne, haemorrhoids, mosquito bites and sunburn. Everdine recommends using coconut oil “to cook with at every meal due”, while Holland & Barrett claims “coconut oil is very healthy,” adding: “Coconut oil is the little black dress of wellbeing – everyone should have some!”