Coconuts to me are amazing. Their distinct flavour can make a dish come alive and they are packed full of health benefits that have been heralded for thousands of years. Many believe the coconut is one of the world’s most treasured food ingredients, for good reason:
Coconuts are high in healthy fats, which have myriad health benefits including increasing good (HDL) cholesterol.
The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil have been shown to increase calories burned over 24 hours by as much as 5 per cent.
The fatty acids in coconut oil can kill harmful pathogens, including bacteria, viruses and fungi.
Coconut oil can also be applied topically, with studies showing it to be effective as a skin moisturiser and in protecting against hair damage.
A good friend shared his recipe for delicious coconut clusters. They are a satisfying snack that addresses cravings for sweets easily and healthfully. They are also gluten-free and vegan.
1 1/2 cups organic coconut flakes or freshly grated
3/4 cup organic pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup organic chia seeds
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons real, organic maple syrup
1/2 cup of high-quality dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl and combine well.
Using two teaspoons as a measure, drop by clusters onto a baking sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the coconut just begins to turn golden.
Remove from oven. If liquid from the syrup spreads out onto baking sheet, gently push it back toward the cluster using a spatula — this is what holds the cluster together once cooled.
Allow to cool for at least 40 minutes and carefully remove them from the baking sheet. Enjoy!
Maureen Cubbon is the wellness director for Bestlife Wellness Solutions and chef at Bon Vivant in Camana Bay.