Superfood Healthy Coconut - Tropical Nourishing Tradition in Asia

August 15, 2012

Coconut tropical healthy super food

Many people consider coconut to be a super food. When Dr. Weston A. Price studied traditional diets around the world, he found those who ate a diet based on fish and coconut were the healthiest. Dr. Bruce Fife  is probably the word's best expert on coconut and it's health benefits.

Recently, I've written about how to make kefir and lots about health and travel,  our mostly  organic diet and our travel health secrets and will continue in this area over time as we are learning so much.

This is how we get our coconut milk and grated coconut here in tropcial Penang, Malaysia. I use the milk, shredded meat and dry some of the coconut to make coconut flour and also make coconut butter, coconut whipped cream and cream. The coconut milk and meat is made fresh for us as we watch and saves us the trouble of doing it all by ourselves by hand.

market in Penang

This is the nearby market in Tanjung Bunga, Malaysia. I've grown so fond of the word sounds here like Tanjung Bunga, which literaly means "flower cape" and is a seaside suburb of Georgetown.

  making coconut milk in Asia

 Coconut is popular here in Malaysia and a big part of the diet. There are even many bike-based coconut stands on many street corners selling fresh coconut milk made to order. Even our M.D. Pediatrician at the Children's Hospital here, suggested we use it for health. This is the market machine that chops the coconut meat into shredded coconut at the indoor/outdoor "wet" market in Penang.

Super fresh coconuts

Basket of coconut meat ready to be shredded.

coconut shredding machine

Close up of coconut shredding machine in process.

making coconut milk in Malaysia

Machine that takes the shredded coconut and turns it into coconut milk through compression.

Making fresh coconut milk in Asia closeup

Fresh coconut milk pouring out.

buying coconut milk in local market in Asia

Busy Penang wet market and popular coconut milk and shredded coconut stand.

pouring fresh coconut milk in Asia

Pouring fresh coconut into bags ( a typical way to store drinks here in Malaysia. It is very common to see folks drinking out of a bag with a straw). The bags are closed with a rubber band in a paticular way.

wet market in Penang selling freshly made coconut products

Man ( owner) working fresh coconut milk machine in Malaysia.


Fresh shredded coconut coming out of machine into large  bowl.


Happy customers at the morning market in Penang buying coconut products.

coconut milk - only 65 cents in Asia!

This is what the coconut milk looks like when I get it home and then I make it into kefir or use in smoothies or cooking. I usually use it fresh, but one can also freeze it for a week.

homemade dehydrator drying fresh shredded coconut for flour

This is how we dry the raw shredded coconut on our dehydrator on our terrace that DaVinci made for free out of a discarded cardboard box and instructions on the internet via Google. ( I use it for many things making good use out of the tropical sun).  I then grind it into flour.

Coconut flour and products are gluten free, very low carb, lowers the calorie count of food, promotes lipid oxidation ( burns fat), aids in digestive health, contains 40% dietary fiber and helps balance blood sugar levels. No wonder nutritional scientists and trans fat experts like Dr. Mary Enig rave about the benefits of coconut.

These are local foods, so extremely cheap, costing about 60 cents ( U.S. price) for 250 ml ( a little over 8 oz)  for the coconut milk ( size shown above) and $1.60 for 1/2 kilo for the fresh  shredded/grated coconut.

Ironically, the organic virgin coconut oil, that we use for all our cooking and more, is imported from the USA ( so not particularly cheap) but made in the Philipines. We haven't found a local organic source for that yet, but are really happy with this wonderful resource since coconut is such a healthy food, we love it. Plus it really suits the palate in a tropical climate since there are endless delicious  things to make with it.

Do you like coconut or local markets?

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Spanish Translator @latinAbroad

I thought coconut milk, etc. had high levels of saturated fat, so isn't great for eating *all* the time? Please enlighten me =)

- Maria Alexandra

Jeanne @soultravelers3

I left some great links about why many different doctors and health experts say ( and show scientifically) why coconut is so good for you.

(Also see my post on making coconut kefir where I have links about health benefits)

Here are a few more:

Hope that helps!


"Coconut Lovers Cookbook" by Bruce Fife is so so so yummy! Well, kindred spirit, we have yet another think in common. Coconuts! Health benefits aside, they're just straight up delicious! We enjoy fruit smoothies made with coconut milk all the time.

Commenting on a previous popcorn post of yours: Yesterday we air popped organic corn and added grass-fed melted butter and a sprinkle of sea salt. Holy popcorn goodness, Batman--that stuff is stupendous! Thanks so much for sharing your idea.

After our journey in France's gastronomic alpine region this summer, I'm crazy for all grass-fed dairy products. Mmmmm. What a difference it makes in the taste (and quality).

Caterina B

Do I like coconut? I LOVE coconut! I have recently been putting coconut oil in our oatmeal. I don't use it in anything else yet,so I need to experiment. How do you make coconut whipped cream? YUMMY!
I imagine I could just Google that. I have heard differing reports, too, about whether is is a good idea to eat it.
When my kids were little they would always beg me to buy a coconut when they saw one at the supermarket. It was a kind of standing joke in our house. Fond memories. I also bought one for one of my reading students because he said with a sad face that he had "NEVER had one in his whole life!" He was very happy. Now he's in high school. I bet he still remembers that coconut!


i LOVE finding the local farmers markets/produce stands and getting those fresh from the garden fruits and veggies! I also like that we are supporting the local farmers!

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