When the coconut (niu) made its way from the shores of the Indian Ocean and arrived in Hawai?i before 400 A.
D., little did the Hawaiians know that they would be using this plant as an important factor for their creations and life in general. Niu was probably one of the easiest food plants to transport because of its ability to float on its own which was believed to be one of the ways it got here. Also, after 4 months on the ocean, it can still germinate meaning it can basically still grow even after sitting in the ocean for a long time.
The Hawaiians used coconut in many different ways that benefited their daily lives on land and in the ocean. In fact, niu was used maybe even more in the ocean, which is one part of what Hawaiians value (which is voyaging). Although niu could help a lot through our lives, the trees grow best on the warmer, leeward side of the islands so it is not located everywhere. Even though niu had an impact in the ancient times of Hawai?i, it is still benefiting us “modern” Hawaiians with its lasting impact. By its nutritional values and healthy factors, niu could still keep us in our health.
But, now that Hawaiians have a large percentage of being obese and diabetic, we could really use all that we can get to keep our people in good shape. This leads to the begging question of what ancient traditional Hawaiian plant/food is more important to us. Although all of the foods were very beneficial, niu could possibly be the most important and should be portrayed in ?Akahi. In particular, niu has many good health benefits towards our people. It has a spiritual significance to the Hawaiians through legends and beliefs. Plus, it was used for many useful tools that the Hawaiians used on a daily basis.
One of the reasons why niu should be depicted in ?Akahi is because of its health benefits. Niu had this impact in traditional Hawaiian times and still seems to be doing its job by providing for us a healthy choice in our diets. According to the National Institutes of Health, coconut contains Lauric Acid (in coconut meat). This is particularly good because lauric acid has been shown to kill a variety of bacteria and fungi which could potentially lead to stopping or slowing down the progression of viruses. Lauric acid and similar fatty acids have also been found to inhibit, or prevent, cancer cell growth.
Thus meaning niu can help with the spreading of diseases/viruses in our bodies. The most important factor in the health benefits that can really be helpful for us Hawaiians to know now is that coconut can reduce body fat. Specifically, in a study, it has shown that coconut oil can help reduce abdominal fat and obesity (National Institutes of Health). Also, the medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil can increase how many calories you burn compared to the same amount of other fats.
Because the MCTs in coconut oil get shipped to the liver and turned into ketones, this may be related to the way the fatty acids in it are metabolized, which is why ketones can have an appetite reducing effect.