Day VIII of Navratri – Maa Maha Gowri
The VIII is basically highlighted to nourish young girls and pray for their good health and overall wellbeing. Goddess Maha Gowri is worshiped on eighth day. On this day Coconut is offered to the Goddess as prasadam. She bestows us with success in all our good deeds, and helps preserve fertility of woman. No wonder Coconut is offered as its one of the most pious of all fruit/Nut also called as Shreephal (the fruit of prosperity) and tree is called as Kalpavruksha since every part of this tree has so many uses and it’s the most selfless and giving tree known to man kind and its specialty is it co exists with other crops and plants without disturbing the growth of other plants. Coconut is a very versatile and indispensable food item for most people under the tropical belt. It is a complete food rich in calories, vitamins, and minerals. A medium-size nut carrying 400 g edible meat and some 30-150 ml of water may provide almost all the daily-required essential minerals, vitamins, and energy of an average-sized individual.
While there are several aesthetic, religious beliefs associated with this great Nut as it helps us to know our inner self. On any festive occasion a coconut is broken in front of the deity to remove negativity and bring out goodness. The whiteness inside the coconut denotes purity. Breaking of coconut is similar to breaking of ego, the water inside represents the inner tendencies or vasanas and the white kernel offered is the mind of the Lord! A mind thus purified by touch of the lord is used as Prasad. Tender coconut water is used in abhishek rituals since it is believed to bestow spiritual growth of the seeker.
• 100 g kernel consists of 354 calories. Much of this comes from the fats and protein. Although, its meat is disproportionately high in saturated fats on comparison to other common edible nuts, coconut has many bioactive compounds that are essential for better health.
• The important saturated fatty acid in the coconut is lauric acid (1:12 carbon fatty acid). Lauric acid increases good-HDL cholesterol levels in the blood. HDL is a high-density lipoprotein, which has beneficial effects on the coronary arteries by preventing vessel blockade (atherosclerosis). Physicians recommend high HDL to total cholesterol levels in the blood for the same reason.
• Coconut water is a very refreshing drink to beat tropical summer thirst. The juice is packed with simple sugar, electrolytes, minerals, and bioactive compounds such as cytokinins, and enzymes such as acid phosphatase, catalase, dehydrogenase, peroxidase, polymerases, etc. Altogether, these enzymes aid in digestion and metabolism.
• Coconut oil extracted from dry kernel (copra) is an excellent emollient agent. It is used in cooking, applied over scalp to nourish good hair growth, employed in pharmacy and in medicines.
• The cytokinins (e.g., kinetin and trans-zeatin) in coconut water showed significant anti-ageing, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-thrombotic effects.
• The kernel is an excellent source of minerals such as copper, calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, and zinc.
• It is also a very good source of B-complex vitamins such as folates, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine. These vitamins are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish.
Coconut meat and water contain a very good amount of potassium. 100 g of fresh meat contains 356 mg% or 7.5% of daily required levels of potassium.
So make the most with coconut in as is form or some yummy coco laddu or burfi /kheer to mark this day and also share this healthy goodies with some little girls and cherish the auspicious day of Ashtami (day-8) Sri Maha Gowri .