Coconut Oil: Benefits And Harms

Healthy coconut oil is obtained from the coconut flesh of the coconut palm tree. The hardened coconut pulp is first separated from the shell during oil production, then the peeled copra is dried, crushed, and then pressed into oil.

The most commonly used method for coconut oil is hot pressing. Although cold pressing is also used to produce it.

This product has a characteristic sweet, delicate aroma and a pleasant nutty flavor. Today, refined and unrefined oils are produced. There are also edible and cosmetic oils.

Today, the world’s main producers of coconut oil are India, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

How to choose the right coconut oil

It is best to choose unrefined cold-pressed oil, which is considered the healthiest and highest quality.

How to store coconut oil properly

It is recommended to store edible coconut oil at a temperature not exceeding +20 degrees or in the refrigerator.

A cosmetic product can be safely stored in the bathroom, where it will thicken less. And if you want to use the thickened oil, you can also store it in the refrigerator or a cool place. You can use this oil as a cream.

Coconut oil in cooking

Due to the content of fatty saturated acids, coconut oil is practically not subject to oxidation and therefore has a fairly long shelf life. It practically does not react with air, so even if it is not refrigerated, it remains usable throughout the entire period of consumption.

Coconut oil also does not lose its beneficial properties and taste when heated to high temperatures, so, unlike other oils, it can be used for frying and deep-frying, and it does not become carcinogenic.

Coconut oil can be used to replace butter in cooking. For more economical consumption, you can cook a dish with ghee or vegetable oil, and add coconut oil a little at the end of cooking. This oil can turn ordinary and simple food into a gourmet dish.

This product is used to prepare a wide variety of hot dishes: soups, pasta, cereal side dishes, vegetable dishes, sauces, and hot snacks. It can also be added to confectionery and baked goods. Coconut oil adds a pleasant flavor to cookies, cakes, muffins, cheesecakes, pancakes, cottage cheese casseroles, and pancakes. Baked goods with this oil retain their flavor and freshness for much longer.

Nutritional value per 100 grams of coconut oil:

  • Proteins – 0 g.
  • Fats – 99.9 g.
  • Carbohydrates – 0 g.
  • Caloric content 892 kcal.

Composition and presence of nutrients in coconut oil

Coconut oil contains saturated fatty acids (almost 83%), including lauric, caproic, caprylic, oleic, capric, palmitic, myristic, and stearic.

Coconut oil also contains phytosterols, vitamins (K, choline, E), and minerals: calcium, zinc, and iron.

Useful and medicinal properties of coconut oil

Lauric acid is a powerful component in a mother’s milk, which is necessary to strengthen the baby’s immunity. It is very useful to consume 1-2 teaspoons of coconut oil in the morning on an empty stomach and before bed. This will help strengthen the immune system, have a beneficial effect on digestion, and improve the overall well-being of adults and babies.

Lauric acid has pronounced antiseptic, antimicrobial, and bactericidal properties. Oleic acid will help to activate lipid metabolism and maintain skin water balance. Caprylic acid is needed to restore and maintain the balance of bacteria in the intestines.

Coconut oil has a positive effect on the cardiovascular system, prevents the development of thrombosis, coronary artery disease, and arterial hypertension, atherosclerosis. Vitamin E, which is a part of coconut oil, will help to reduce high blood viscosity and strengthen the walls of arteries.

This oil can also reduce the risk of developing digestive diseases such as ulcers and gastritis. Coconut oil, among other things, activates the healing of the mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal tract and is therefore especially useful for patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

Coconut oil has a pronounced anti-inflammatory, bactericidal, and antifungal effect, thus strengthening the immune system. The oil can be used in the complex treatment of mycoses, candidiasis, herpes, viral infections, infectious and inflammatory diseases of the respiratory system, influenza, and diseases of the reproductive and urinary systems.

The oil is able to activate and accelerate metabolic processes, preventing the development of obesity, and helps to restore normal blood glucose levels in diabetes. In addition, this product prevents the development of cholelithiasis and urolithiasis, fatty liver, and has a beneficial effect on the thyroid gland.

Coconut oil also has an antioxidant effect, preventing premature aging, and can reduce the risk of developing cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. It also has a calming, anti-stress, and relaxing effect.

It prevents the development of caries and osteoporosis and reduces the risk of joint diseases.

This product is able to increase the efficiency of magnesium and calcium absorption, which are necessary for the formation of tooth enamel and bone tissue.

It is useful to use coconut oil for women during breastfeeding. This oil is characterized by a fairly high content of lauric acid, which is a component of breast milk.

When used externally, coconut oil accelerates the healing of various skin lesions and treats many dermatological diseases: dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema.

Coconut oil is perfect for daily body and faces skin care. It can be used for constant care of sensitive facial skin around the eyes, as well as for the skin of the décolleté and bust area. It is not recommended for oily or problematic skin, as it can provoke the appearance of black spots on the skin.

The melting point of coconut oil is about +25 degrees. If the product thickens, it only confirms its naturalness. To melt coconut oil, you need to place a container with this product in a glass of hot water or heat it in a water bath.

The oil is also a versatile product and is suitable for the scalp, décolleté, neck, face, feet, and hands.

Coconut oil is recommended to be used in cosmetology as a base oil for enriching masks, creams, shampoos, lotions, balms, and tonics intended to soften, nourish or moisturize the skin.

You can also use coconut oil as a nourishing and restorative agent for damaged, thin, split, brittle, or colored hair.

In addition, this plant product can be used for massage, makeup removal, and skin cleansing. Coconut oil also protects the skin from the harmful effects of frost and wind, so it can be applied to the face before going out in winter.

You can also use coconut oil to care for the nail cuticle and skin of the hands, as a soothing and skin-softening agent after a pedicure, manicure, shaving, and epilation.

Coconut oil is also used as a sunscreen “before” and “after” tanning, as well as for gentle care of the sensitive skin of children, as this product is hypoallergenic and has an emollient and anti-inflammatory effect.

Dangerous properties of coconut oil

Do not use coconut oil in case of individual intolerance. It is also worth remembering that the high-fat content can cause irritation of the gastrointestinal tract and exacerbation of chronic cholecystitis and pancreatitis.

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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