What is Coconut oil ?
Most Coconut oil is edible but also has uses in medicine and industry.
I’m going to discuss the properties of coconut oil and also the types of the oil that are on the market for human consumption.
Properties of coconut oil.
Coconut oil is clear when at temperatures above 30 degrees centigrade. In its solid form it is white in appearance.
Being rich in saturated fats, it is one of the the kitchens most stable cooking oils and has a very long shelf life. Its high smoke point temperature at 232 degrees centigrade make it ideal for most cooking.
It is made up of saturated fatty acids most of which are medium chain triglycerides (MCT).
The MCT’s in this oil are lauric acid , capric acid, caprylic acid and caproic acid all of which have great health benefits.
100 g fresh coconut oil contains 44.6 g of lauric acid, we will come to lauric acid later in this post.
It also has a high calorific value 860 calories in 100 grams of oil and all from fats there are no carbohydrates and insignificant amounts of protein and vitamins.
Right do not be expecting a 200 bullet point list here!
There are literally hundreds of uses for coconut oil but this chapter is only going to cover the health benefits offered by Organic Unrefined (virgin) coconut oil.
1. Weight loss
Coconut oil has properties that help reduce your appetite thereby reducing your calorific intake which could have a positive effect on weight loss. the fatty acids in it helps to burn fat, I will elaborate on this subject in a future post.
2. Lauric Acid
3. Oral health – Oil Pulling
Swish the oil around your mouth and pull through your teeth and around your gums for between 10-20 mins.
All the bacteria from your mouth are suspended in the oil so please do not swallow.
Just spit it out and have a quick rinse with water. Try this for a couple of weeks and you will see and feel a difference in your mouth and smile.
4. Helps to prevent heart disease.
to increase the healthy cholesterol in your body. Not only that but they also help to convert the “bad” cholesterol into good cholesterols.
By increasing the healthy cholesterols in the body, it promotes a healthy cardiovascular system, and lowers the risk of heart disease.
5. Boosts the Immune System
As previously mentioned coconut oil is actually 50 percent lauric acid.
When consumed the body converts the lauric acid to monolaurin, an antiviral agent that is known to fight off a variety of pathogens and viruses.
Just a table spoon full a day could be enough to help you fend off those nasty bugs.
6. Improves Digestion
Coconut oil can help improve your gut health by destroying any bad bacteria present.
Candida imbalance especially can decrease stomach acid which causes inflammation and poor digestion.
Lauric acid is effective at fighting off candida.
7. Hair care
Use it daily either by making your own shampoo or by just massaging a small amount into you scalp.
On a recent holiday I used it in my hair daily, and my partner said she had never seen my hair in better condition.
If you look in any pharmacy at the shampoo section you will be amazed just how many brands have coconut as one of the active ingredients.
8. Skin infections and conditions
It is rich in lauric, capric and caprylic acid which we have already learned have natural healing properties.
It has a multitude of application to treat many skin conditions such as the ones listed below
- Nappy Rash
- Dry or flaky skin
- Athlete’s foot
- Sun burn
- Bites, stings and burns
- small wounds/cuts
- fungal nail infections
9. Kidney Problems
Coconut oil has been shown to be useful in preventing kidney and gall bladder diseases. It has also been used medically to help with dissolving kidney stones.
Using Coconut oil is often part of the ketogenic diet as it is high in Medium chain triglycerides which are easily converted to keytones by the liver.
The ketogenic diet is often used in the treatment of epilepsy.
What types of Coconut oil can you buy ?
There are various types of coconut oil on the market but typically you should be looking for only two for your personal use.
Refined coconut oil.
Refined coconut oil or RBD which stands for refined, bleached and deodorized, This is made from the dried meat of the coconut (copra) which is not fit for consumption until it undergoes the RBD process.Refined oil is great if you’re on the budget, Be sure to look out for hydrogenated on the label. IF YOU SEE HYDROGENATED KEEP CLEAR.
Unrefined coconut oil. Also better known as virgin coconut oil
This oil is untreated and pressed from the undried meat of the coconut. It is either cold pressed, expeller-pressed or centrifuged.
Cold pressed and expeller-pressed oils may have been exposed to heat in the extraction process which does not affect the nutrient qualities but may make the flavour stonger.
My recommendation and keywords to watch for are Raw, organic,virgin, unrefined and centrifuged coconut oil,
Any brand as long as it fulfils most of the above keywords.
What to look for when shopping?
For a great Unrefined Virgin coconut oil you should read the label first,
The colour should be white when solid and clear when liquid.
The aroma of a good quality oil will be coconut but not overly strong or smoky.
If the smell is odourless then it is most likely to have been refined.
We have discussed what coconut oil is, a few of its health benefits, the types on the market and what to look for when you shop for it.
I hope you have enjoyed this post and please if you have any comments or questions feel free to use the comments section. ( I ANSWER EVERY COMMENT)
Enjoy your coconut oil and all the best of health to you all