1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) is a tree, referred to as “The Tree of Life”. Early Spanish explorers called coconut, Coco (“monkey face”) because of the three indentations (eyes) on the dehusked coconut fruit which resembles the head and face of a monkey. Nucifera means "nut-bearing" (CRC, 2004). The people of Nzema in the Jomoro district refer to coconut as “Kukue”, the farmers slogan is “Kukue, Esuka Bakah” (Coconut, the money tree), this is as a result of its high economic value.
Nearly one third of the world's population depend much on coconut as their source of food and for their economy (CRC, 2004). On many islands in the world, coconut is a staple in their diet which supply a nutritious meat, oil, juice and milk that has fed and nourished population around the globe for generations (CRC, 2004).
Historically, coconut oil is one of the earliest oils to be consumed as a food and for medicinal purposes (Fife, 2004). People who consume coconut oil or used it as medicine, enjoy remarkably good health and longevity and studies have shown that people whose diet are high in coconut oil, are healthier and have fewer incidences of cardiovascular disease, digestive complaints, cancer and prostate problems (Fife, 2004).
Research and clinical observation have shown that coconut oil contains Medium-chain Fatty Acids which can prevent and treat a wide range of diseases (Fife, 2004). Coconut oil can prevent heart diseases, high blood pressure, stroke, support the development of strong bones and teeth, promote loss of excess weight, protect against kidney diseases and bladder infections. Furthermore, it prevents liver diseases, protect the body from breast, colon and other cancers, control dandruff, wrinkles sagging skin and age spots (Fife, 2004; CRC, 2004 and Organic facts, 2014).
As stated by Coconut Research Centre - CRC (2004), coconut possesses many health benefits