Coconut Oil Benefits - Detailed Explanation On Use & Effects

What is Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil is an oil made from coconut palms, which is extracted and purified from the endosperm inside the seeds. This oil contains a lot of saturated fatty acids, which is rare among vegetable oils. The main producing areas include the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, and India. Apart from being used as cooking oil, coconut oil can also be found in shampoos, body soaps, face cleansers, cosmetics, and hand creams.

Coconut oil is resistant to oxidation and contains a high concentration of saturated fatty acids. Coconut oil is a good option if you value your health and appearance and would want to utilise an oil with antioxidant qualities. On the other hand, watch out for consuming too much saturated fat as this might raise levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol. It has a sweet coconut scent and can be used deliciously on bread in place of butter, but a refined version with the scent removed for cooking is also available.

Why is coconut good and special for the body?

  • Free Trans Fat: High trans fatty acid intake has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer, according to reports. Coconut oil does not contain as many trans fatty acids as margarine, shortening, and animal fats.
  • High in fatty acids with a medium chain: Medium-chain fatty acids found in nature abound in coconut oil. Medium-chain fatty acids are less likely to be stored as fat in the body since they are rapidly absorbed and converted into energy. Furthermore, the antimicrobial properties of medium-chain fatty acid lauric acid are gaining attention.
  • Less chance of quality degradation: Oxidation causes even lipids that are supposed to be beneficial to the body like flaxseed and olive oils to lose their quality. Coconut oil is resistant to oxidation, so its quality does not deteriorate easily. It is also resistant to heat, making it suitable for high-temperature cooking.

Types Of Coconut Oil

There are two types of coconut oil and they are differentiated by the method of production. It is a good idea to choose based on your objective because different types are known to have different tastes, flavours, and nutritional content.

  1. Virgin Coconut oil: Virgin coconut oil is rich in nutritional components, oil is pressed at low temperatures without refining. The highest-quality and most fragrant oils are referred to as "extra virgin oils."
  2. Refined coconut oil (RBD): This oil is easy to work with, has a faint aroma, is chemically treated, deodorised, and bleached after being pressed at high temperatures.

For optimal nutritional value, we suggest employing low-temperature pressing and fermentation to separate the coconut oil (expeller). You can choose based on your preferences, though, as it is reported that the centrifugation method has less of a distinct flavour and is refreshing and easier to eat, and the dry coconut pressing method which is not an expeller method does not differ much in nutrients other than enzymes.

It is stated that unrefined oil has a better nutritional value than refined oil, yet some find it difficult to utilise in cooking because of its strong aroma or because it is not to their liking.

Some refined coconut oils are deodorised using natural methods such as activated charcoal rather than chemical methods, so if you are concerned about the scent, we recommend choosing such products.

Main Ingredient Of Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is classified as one type of medium-chain fatty acid. Medium-chain fatty acids are more rapidly absorbed, digested, and metabolised in the body than long-chain fatty acids such as EPA (fish oil). Although coconut oil is high in calories, it may be readily used as fuel, which reduces the likelihood of it contributing to body fat. It is also claimed that medium-chain fatty acids improve calcium, vitamin, and mineral absorption.

One other feature of coconut oil is its high content of lauric acid, a type of medium-chain fatty acid. Another ingredient in breast milk is lauric acid. Breast milk provides protection against viral and bacterial infections for infants with weakened immune systems. Lauric acid changes into monolaurin, which has antiviral and antibacterial properties in the body when it combines with salivary enzymes. Lauric acid is also supposed to have the capacity to control the environment inside the intestines.

How Coconut Oil Is Made?

There are three main production steps before coconut oil is made.

  • Squeezing: Fresh or dried coconut is pressed into a liquid. There are two different kinds of compression. Pressing at high temperatures while applying pressure all at once is known as high-temperature pressing. Low-temperature pressing, also known as cold press or cold extraction, is the process of drying and pressing at a temperature that prevents enzyme loss.
  • Separation: Separate the liquid that emerges from the oil. There are two categories of approaches for separation. First, a fermentation separation method gives the strained liquid some time to settle and ferment. Enzymes are activated, coconut nutrients are preserved, and good bacteria are produced through fermentation. Second is the centrifugal separation method, in which they use a machine to separate into oil.
  • Filtration: At last, it can then be bleached, deodorised, and purified.

Coconut Oil Benefits

There are a lot of benefits linked to the Coconut oil. Let’s know about them-

Antibacterial Effect: Lauric acid, the majority of the fatty acids in coconut oil are medium-chain fatty acids with antibacterial properties against bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microorganisms. It is anticipated to be successful in inhibiting the growth of Candida bacteria because studies have shown that when given to mice, the quantity of Candida bacteria in the stool is decreased.

Antioxidant & Improve Immunity: Antioxidants like polyphenols and vitamin E abound in coconut oil. It is anticipated that these compounds will boost immunity and stop cell ageing. The antioxidant particles reduce the free radicals and unwanted particles from the body and strengthen the immune system.

Reduction Of Visceral & Subcutaneous Fat: The medium-chain fatty acids included in coconut oil are said to be easily transformed into energy and to be hard for the body to store. It is also claimed to have the benefit of boosting fat burning and metabolism.

Reduction of Alzheimer's type dementia: As the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil hydrolyze, some of them form "ketone bodies." Ketone bodies are a chemical that is garnering attention as a source of energy for the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease. In addition, eating coconut oil has been demonstrated to improve cognitive performance.

Increase HDL cholesterol or good cholesterol: Coconut oil can be expected to increase good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) and reduce bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) and triglycerides. It can be a healthy option for the heart patient.

Diet Effect: It is believed that coconut oil is a suggested oil for dieting. One type of saturated fatty acid found in coconut oil is called medium-chain fatty acid; it is easily transformed into energy and has the advantage of being hard for the body to store. As such, it is ideal for use as a glucose substitute energy source in a "low-carbohydrate diet." Furthermore, medium-chain fatty acids have the consequence of creating a lot of "ketone bodies," and as metabolism rises and fat burns more readily with a higher level of ketone bodies, diet effects are to be expected.

Beautiful Skin & Hair Effect: Because of its antioxidant qualities, coconut oil is thought to have cosmetic benefits like reducing pores, wrinkles, and age spots. It is beneficial in moisturising and treating skin conditions like dermatitis, acne, and atopic dermatitis because of its high absorption rate. Furthermore, it's stated that the minerals, potassium, and vitamins in coconut oil nourish your hair. Suggested for those who are worried about damaged or dry hair.

Improve constipation and intestinal environment: Coconut oil is also expected to relieve constipation and improve the intestinal environment. It is believed that consuming coconut oil may strengthen the peristaltic movement, which is responsible for moving stool from the large intestine to the rectum and is one of the reasons for constipation. Furthermore, the lauric acid in coconut oil has the power to increase the activity of beneficial bacteria in the intestines while decreasing the activity of harmful bacteria. The gut ecology seems to get better as a result.

Methods To Consume Coconut Oil?

The most effective way to consume coconut oil is to take it with meals. Since there are numerous ways to use it, allow us to present it to you!

  • As Cooking Oil: Try substituting coconut oil for your regular cooking oil while you're stir-frying veggies, making fried rice, or deep-frying anything. It is reasonable to assume that coconut oil will remain effective even after cooking because it does not easily denature. When used alone, coconut oil has a distinct scent, but when combined with strongly scented Western foods like curry, you can eat them without fear.
  • Milk from coconuts: Coconut milk has a unique sweet smell, which many people dislike. In these situations, we suggest combining it with ice cream or baking items to reduce the overpowering smell. For maximum benefits to your health and appearance, use coconut oil instead of butter or margarine!
  • Add to soups or drinks: Another good method to eat it is to mix some coconut oil into your coffee or soup, such as miso soup, tomato soup, etc. When heated, coconut oil turns liquid, making it simple to consume by mixing it into beverages.
  • Add to salad as dressing: Try using coconut oil in salad as your homemade dressing or combining it with mayonnaise to enjoy it instead of buying store-bought dressing. It is highly advised for those who appreciate the distinct aroma of coconut oil since this is a way to experience its flavour and aroma more directly.
  • Spread on bread or toast: It can also be consumed by spreading it over toast in place of butter or margarine. Spreading it with marmalade or jam enhances the flavour even more. 

Notably, foreign celebrities have been known to consume unrefined coconut oil, however this is not advised due to the oil's strong irritant properties and potential health risks.

Timing to consume coconut oil: You should take coconut oil during its most potent period if you wish to feel its effects. The right time is on an empty stomach. As a result, it lowers your food intake and aids in weight loss.

Its capacity to generate significant levels of ketone bodies, which the body can use to break down fat and consume for energy, is another reason it is advised to be taken on an empty stomach. But consuming coconut oil on its own won't make you lose weight. If you exercise regularly, it will be even more beneficial.

Coconut Oil Dosage

The high-calorie content of coconut oil is one factor to consider. One tablespoon contains 111 calories, whereas 100g contains 920 calories. Be careful not to consume too many foods just because they are good for your body, as this can lead to excess calories and make you gain weight. About 1 to 2 tablespoons per day is a good guideline. Also, some people may have an allergic reaction to coconut oil. If coconut oil is suitable for you, continue using it little by little so that the effects continue without stress.

Coconut Oil's Precaution

There are a few things you should be cautious about when using coconut oil, even though it has many benefits. The following should be considered before ingesting coconut oil.

When consumed normally: Two tablespoons of coconut oil once a day is the suggested dosage. Although two teaspoons might seem like a lot, you need to consume a specific quantity of medium-chain fatty acids all at once to produce ketone bodies. Ketone bodies are difficult to manufacture, even in modest doses throughout the day. Take two teaspoons at a time, please. Coconut oil reduces the likelihood of producing ketones when consumed with carbs. Therefore, there is no point in eating it over sweet bread. We suggest consuming it straight or combined with tea or coffee.

Another thing to be careful of is consuming too much coconut oil. About 100 kcal are found in one tablespoon of coconut oil, and two tablespoons are equivalent to the caloric content of a bowl of rice. Although it is beneficial to the body, eating too much of it might result in an excess of calories, which raises cholesterol and weight.

When consuming coconut oil, reduce the amount of sweets and carbohydrates and adjust the calories. 

When taken in addition to cooking, coconut oil differs from other edible oils in that its shape changes depending on the temperature.

Unlike other edible oils, the consistency of coconut oil varies with temperature.

It will turn liquid at temperatures over 25°C and solidify into white at temperatures below 25°C. In that scenario, consider warming it in a double boiler as opposed to heating it in a microwave. You may also saute and stir-fry with coconut oil, but watch out not to heat it too much because it could catch fire.

Can be substituted with coconut milk: You can substitute coconut milk for coconut oil if you run out of it or can't find any at your neighbourhood store. Coconut milk and coconut oil are similar in that they both include lauric acid and medium-chain fatty acids. Additionally, it has nutrients like potassium and magnesium, which supply calcium to the teeth and bones.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) on Coconut Oil

What is the benefit of coconut oil?

Coconut oil offers various benefits, including promoting heart health, aiding digestion, and supporting skin and hair health due to its medium-chain fatty acids and antioxidant properties.

Which type of oil is better, coconut or palm?

Coconut oil is generally considered healthier than palm oil due to its higher content of beneficial fatty acids and antioxidants.

Can I put coconut oil in my ear?

While some people use coconut oil for ear wax removal, it's essential to consult a healthcare professional for safe ear care practices.

How does coconut oil benefit the skin?

Coconut oil benefits the skin by moisturising, reducing inflammation, and providing antioxidants. It may soothe dry skin, promote a healthy complexion, and offer mild sun protection.

Is consuming coconut oil every day okay?

Consuming coconut oil daily in moderation is generally considered safe and may offer various health benefits, including improved heart health and metabolism.

Is coconut oil unhealthy or healthy?

Coconut oil, when consumed in moderation, is a healthy option due to its medium-chain fatty acids. However, excessive intake should be avoided to maintain a balanced diet.

Can we apply coconut oil to our faces?

Yes, applying coconut oil to the face can moisturise and nourish the skin. Its antimicrobial properties may benefit those with acne-prone skin.

Is coconut oil good for face?

Coconut oil is beneficial for the face as a natural moisturiser, makeup remover, and potential acne treatment. It may soothe dry skin and promote a healthy glow.

Is coconut oil good for hair?

Coconut oil is excellent for hair health. It moisturises, reduces protein loss, and may promote hair growth. Applying warm coconut oil to the scalp and hair can provide nourishment.

Can we apply coconut oil on face?

Yes, applying coconut oil on the face can provide hydration, reduce inflammation, and offer mild antibacterial benefits. It's suitable for various skin types but may not be ideal for everyone.

Does coconut oil darken skin?

There is no evidence that coconut oil darkens the skin. It's a popular moisturiser with potential benefits, but its impact on skin colour is minimal.

Can i apply coconut oil on face?

Yes, you can apply coconut oil to your face. It's a natural moisturiser with potential benefits for skin health. Patch test on a small area first to check for any adverse reactions.

What is virgin coconut oil?

Virgin coconut oil is extracted from fresh coconut meat without undergoing chemical processes. It retains more nutrients and has a distinct flavour and aroma.

Is parachute coconut oil edible?

Parachute coconut oil is typically marketed for external use, and its suitability for consumption depends on the specific product. Check the label for information on whether it is edible.

How to use coconut oil for hair growth and thickness?

Massage warm coconut oil into the scalp and hair, leave it for at least 30 minutes, and then wash. The oil's nutrients may nourish the hair, promoting growth and thickness.

How to use coconut oil for skin?

Apply coconut oil to clean, dry skin for hydration. It can be used as a body moisturiser, lip balm, or in DIY skincare recipes.

How to use coconut oil on face?

Apply a small amount of coconut oil to the face for hydration and potential skin benefits. Adjust usage based on individual skin sensitivity and preferences.

What are the benefits of applying coconut oil on face?

Applying coconut oil on the face may provide hydration, reduce dryness, and offer mild antibacterial properties. It's a natural option for promoting a healthy and moisturised complexion.

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