From smoothies to skin care

Coconuts are all the rage, from celebrity endorsed coconut water to skin care products to virgin coconut oil as a healthier alternative to other cooking oils. There is no real evidence that coconut water is better than H2O for athletic hydration, and coconuts are high in saturated fats—though there is some evidence they help raise “good” cholesterol. They are vitamin-rich and taste delicious, but are they a superfood? It’s open for debate.


  • high in ascorbic acid, B vitamins, and proteins
  • fresh coconut juice is full of electrolytes, which many athletes swear by as an aid to post-workout recovery
  • coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, which has been used in antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal medications


When a food’s popularity soars, profits don’t necessarily trickle down. Coconut farmers are among the poorest of the poor in the Philippines, their crops are susceptible to hurricanes and blight and they receive only a small portion of revenues. Some Fair Trade initiatives are trying to ensure that farmers receive a fair wage, and a 2017 pilot project, Farmer Link, used mobile phones and field workers to help farmers increase productivity and resilience to natural disasters and pests.