Health-minded eaters once worried about the saturated fat in coconut, but studies suggest that coconut oil actually may reduce total and harmful (LDL) cholesterol levels. In addition to being highly emollient, lauric acid, coconut's chief fatty acid, is also believed to have antimicrobial and antiviral activity. The verdict: Add more coconut to your life. Drink it, bake with it, and even use it on your body.

Coconut flour. Made from fresh, ground coconut meat, coconut flour has a low glycemic index, so it's less likely to disrupt blood sugar levels. Slightly sweet and gluten free, it's well-suited for cookies, muffins, and quick breads.

Coconut oil. Because of its high smoke point and long shelf life, coconut oil is an excellent all-purpose cooking oil. Unrefined coconut oil is nutty and adds a distinctive flavor to baked goods, stir-fries, and salad dressings. The refined version is more subtle.

Coconut water. Unlike the thick milk used in soups and poolside drinks, coconut water—the clear liquid taken straight from green coconuts—has no calories, fat, or added sugar. With more potassium (670 mg) than a banana, O.N.E. Coconut Water helps hydrate skin and lower blood pressure.

Coconut skin care. Go ahead, rub it on. Some yummy selections: Pure Fiji Coconut Sugar Rub, Tropical Traditions Organic Virgin Coconut Oil and Lavender Liquid Soap, and Dr. Bronner's & Sun Dog's Magic Patchouli-Lime Organic Lotion.

—Lisa Turner