From above, Sri Lanka is the very picture of a tropical island. Covered by lush greenery, this island nation is surrounded by a strip of sandy beach which borders the vast Indian Ocean while tall coconut trees lie scattered across the coast and the gardens of Jetwing Ayurveda Pavilions. Known locally as ‘pol’, coconut has been an essential part of Sri Lankan culture and cuisine for centuries.

One of the country’s most resourceful trees, every element of the coconut tree from its trunk to its leaves and fruit is used for items ranging from furniture to thatching roofs and thickening curry dishes. Once feared to have saturated fat that lead to heart disease, coconut has redeemed itself as a ‘super food’ with the recent discovery of its remarkable health benefits by Western medics. As versatile as the tree itself, each aspect of the coconut fruit, from its creamy flesh to its water confers numerous health benefits. Coconut is known to reduce the risk of diabetes and cholesterol, boost the immune system and was even used for emergency plasma transfusions during World War Two. An important component in Ayurvedic Medicine, Sri Lanka Ayurveda Hotel spa treatments use coconut oil-based ointments to pamper their guests.

Coconut oil ranks on par with Olive oil as one of the healthiest cooking oils available with coconut oil even contributing to weight loss due to it effectively boosting the body’s metabolism. The creamy, white coconut flesh not only helps thicken delicious curries and make the famous spicy coconut sambol, but is also an effective skin moisturizer that rejuvenates skin cells and helps reduce the formation of wrinkles. Although the use of coconut in daily life is still in its infancy in the West, in Sri Lanka, coconut oil is not only used for food preparation but also as a natural hair moisturizer for healthy, luscious tresses. Coconut consumption is not only healthy for the body, but also for the mind! It has been proven that coconut improves brain activity and can help boost memory thus helping to ward of age-related diseases like Alzheimer.

Shehera Fioni is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Catalina Forbes. Her content is based on many thrilling escapades offered to travellers across the world.