Coconut Oil – A fruit oil that keeps us well
Coconut oil is extracted from the flesh and milk of the coconut fruit. It is a fat substance, which is white and melts at room temperature. It has numerous benefits that keep the human body healthy in many ways.
Nutritional value of coconut oil
1 tablespoon of coconut oil consists of:
- 121 calories
- 13.5 g of fat
Coconut oil consists of Vitamin E and has 0% cholesterol. It is about 100% of fat, most of which is saturated fat. It also has negligible amounts of vitamins and minerals with no protein or fibre.
Types of coconut oil
Coconut oil exists in many types, each of which affects the body in different ways. Lesser processed coconut oil provides the most health benefits compared to the ones that are processed.
Virgin coconut oil
Virgin coconut oil is processed by cold pressing the liquid from the fleshy fruit part of the coconut, and later the oil is extracted from the milk of the coconut. It is 100% natural and cold-pressed. It is well known for its rich aroma, taste, antioxidants, healthy fatty acids, etc.
Refined coconut oil
Refined coconut oil is processed through intense heat exposure. It lacks the aroma of the coconut or flavour as it is made of dried coconut. It is refined and processed. Although it is inexpensive, it is not recommended as it loses most of its nutrients through the process of its production.
Partially hydrogenated oil
Hydrogenated oils are produced by food manufacturers to make their foods last longer and stay fresher for a longer period. Hydrogen is added to the liquid coconut oil to solidify it at room temperature. Such oils are used in making baked goods and other snack foods. They contain trans fat, which is generally not considered safe.
Top 12 Benefits of coconut oil
Coconut oil is a very popular cooking oil used across the world. It contains many properties that aid oral, skin and hair health and may even help in burning fat. They have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.
1. May aid relief in Atopic Dermatitis
Atopic Dermatitis is the itchy inflammation of the skin. It is also known as Eczema. It causes rashes over the skin, leading to a lot of itching and irritation.
Coconut oil has moisturizing properties that soothe the rashes and relieves the person. It even has anti-inflammatory properties, which reduce the spread of infection and controls inflammation.
2. Promotes healthy hair
- Coconut oil protects the hair from damage. It penetrates deep through the hair strands on application, increasing their flexibility and strengthening them, thereby preventing breakage and reducing hair fall.
- Coconut Oil act as a barrier, as it blocks the bacteria and irritants, thereby preventing damage to the hair.
- The lauric acid in coconut oil nourishes and keeps the hair hydrated, thereby preventing it from getting dry. It absorbs into the hair easily and quickly, providing moisture which helps in taming frizz and controlling hair breakage.
3. May aid in weight loss
Coconut oil contains a kind of saturated fat called Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs). These MCTs help in burning calories upon consumption, thereby promoting weight loss and fat burn.
4. Balances hormones
The MCTs in coconut oil regulate hormone levels and thyroid functions. It also contains lauric acid, which naturally balances and increases estrogen levels in females, especially during menopause.
5. Kills candida
Candida is a type of fungi that lives on the human body. Coconut oil helps in killing these infection-causing yeast fungi with the help of its MCT called caprylic acid. It infiltrates the yeast cell and destroys it completely, and prevents further growth of such cells, thereby reducing the risks of infections caused by candida.
6. Improves digestion
The MCTs in coconut oil are easily absorbed, and they enhance metabolism, thereby easing digestion. It also kills the candida present in the gut, preventing infections and improving digestion.
7. Skin moisturiser
Coconut oil is also used to moisturise and improve the appearance of the skin. It moisturise dry skin and prevents excessive water loss from the skin, thereby locking hydration levels. It is also a healthy alternative to harsh chemical moisturizers.
8. Reduces cellulite
Cellulite is the lumpy, dimpled flesh around the thigh and butt area and is majorly common in women. Coconut oil moisturizes and tightens the cellulite skin upon application and smoothens the area. When massaged onto the skin with cellulite, it firms up the skin and reduces the appearance of cellulite.
9. Decreases wrinkles and age spots
- The moisturizing properties of coconut oil smoothen the wrinkles and hydrate the dry age spots too. It is rich in antioxidants, such as Vitamin E, that penetrate deep into the skin and improve and strengthen the damaged cells that cause age spots.
- The anti-bacterial and anti-inflammation properties of coconut oil prevent inflammation of the pimples and prevent further growth of bacteria, thereby helping in fighting against acne.
10. Balances blood sugar and improves energy
Continuous consumption of coconut oil for 8 weeks improves insulin sensitivity and improves the body’s ability to transport the sugars to blood cells with the help of insulin, thereby regulating the blood sugar levels.
The MCTs in coconut oil goes straight to the liver upon consumption and serve as an immediate source of energy, just like carbs.
11. Improves Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease is the cause of dementia, a disorder that causes memory loss and weakens the brain’s retention capacity.
The condition reduces the brain’s capacity to utilize glucose for energy. For this reason, alternative energy sources such as coconut oil can help in managing Alzheimer’s.
12. Increases HDL and lower LDL cholesterol
The inclusion of coconut oil in the diet helps in increasing HDL (good) cholesterol while decreasing LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
HDL cholesterol helps in preventing the LDL cholesterol from lining up and clogging the arteries. Increased LDL cholesterol leads to heart attacks and other harmful heart disorders.
How to eat Coconut oil and how much per day?
Coconut oil can be consumed in various ways. It can be used to stir fry or sauté vegetables, meat, etc., and can also be included in many recipes as a substitute for butter in baking eatables like cookies and cakes.
Sometimes, it is even included in coffee or tea, as its ketogenic properties improve metabolism and burn fat easily. One should not consume more than 2 teaspoons of coconut oil at once.
How to store coconut oil?
As coconut oil is rich in saturated fats, it is semi-solid. Therefore, to retain its consistency, it is best to store it in a cupboard rather than in a refrigerator.
When stored in a refrigerator, it gets solidified and is required to be beaten in a blender for it to be usable again. Therefore, storing it in an air-tight jar in a cupboard is the best option.
Side effects of coconut oil
Excessive consumption of coconut oil may increase the levels of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), which may block the arteries and lead to heart attacks and other heart ailments. It can even lead to obesity of a person if not consumed in moderation.
Therefore, the person’s discretion and guidance from a licensed professional are advised before including coconut oil in one’s diet.
Coconut oil is a good source as it contains many beneficiary properties. It is better to consume it in a moderation.
1.Is coconut oil better than olive oil?
Olive oil is relatively better compared to coconut oil, as it steadily reduces LDL cholesterol levels, reduces type-2 Diabetes and certain types of cancers, and can even be used to deep fry foods longer.
2.Is coconut oil a healthy fat?
Despite the numerous health benefits it provides, coconut oil is not the healthiest alternative of fat to be used on daily basis, as it contains about 92% of fatty acids that may increase cholesterol levels.
3.What are the dangers of coconut oil?
Coconut oil contains an unhealthy amount of saturated fats, which is excessive for a person to consume at once. It may increase the risk of strokes and heart attacks as it may increase cholesterol levels.