Coconut is given a lot of importance because it is a primary food (food that can be eaten as a meal by itself in its natural form) and a nourishing food that builds the body.
Many raw vegetables and all edible fruits are also primary foods and they are mainly cleansers.
In order of importance, coconut would come after vegetables.
As it is sweet to taste, it makes any dish taste good is one aspect.
Due to the presence of fibre, it adds thickness to any dish. As we do not use unsprouted dals and grams in NC, sometimes coconut becomes essential medium to make the dishes thick.
Nutritionally speaking, It has all 3 major nutrients and comes with many vitamins, minerals and fibre. So,it is a complete food.
It is made up of medium chain fatty acids which can act on pathogens.
Lauric acid (one of its fatty acid) has huge benefits. Lauric acid is not present in any other food except in coconut and is seen in breast milk imparting nourishment to the new born.