Coconut oil is extracted from the meat, or fruit of the coconut. It is high in saturated fats and offers many health benefits. It is so versatile it can be used in cooking, smoothies, skincare products and even shampoos. Moreover, it helps with weight loss. It is often called the friendliest fat.
Although coconut oil comes in solid form, it quickly liquefies and has a light flavor making it a popular addition to coffee and tea, as it’s a great way to get a serving of healthy fats.
Coconut Oil Health Benefits
Coconut oil contains a unique combination of fatty acids that when introduced to the body helps metabolize belly fat and improve the health and appearance of skin and hair.
- Healthy Fats: The unique fats found in coconut oil are referred to as MCFAs, medium-chain fatty acids. While many saturated fats require longer processing time by the body, the MFCAs are much more easily digested. To put that into perspective, most saturated fats are long-chain fatty acids that require the body to undergo a twenty-six-step process for digesting and using the fats. In contrast, the MFCAs require a simple three-step process, which results in the body turning it into fuel for energy.
- The body easily absorbs the MFCAs and since they are a fat, when the liver breaks it down, ketones are created which supply a source of energy to the brain. This process has shown to help improve the health of patients suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
- The lauric acid that is found in coconut oil is a natural anti-viral chemical and offers support to the immune system to help prevent infections.
- The naturally occurring antibiotic properties can treat urinary and kidney infections.
- Anti-inflammatory properties alleviate swelling and pain due to arthritis.
Uses for Coconut Oil
Coconut oil can replace multiple products including unhealthy cooking oils and skincare products. As mentioned earlier, with the anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, it can replace medications and weight-loss supplements. Below are some other clever uses for coconut oil.
- It contains SPF 7, so it can be used in conjunction with other sunscreens to protect from age or sun spots, dry skin and wrinkles
- Unlike olive oil which can burn at high temperatures, or corn and canola oils which turn toxic when heated, coconut oil is safe for high-heat, including frying.
- The anti-bacterial features of coconut oil have proven to fight against tooth decay and gum disease. Swishing with it for ten minutes each day has resulted in healthier teeth and gums.
- Use it as a moisturizer to pamper dry skin and repair cracked heels.
How is it made?
Coconut oil comes from the meat of the coconut is available in different forms, which include virgin refined, refined, centrifuge extracted, and expelled.
The coconut meat is expeller-pressed to extract the oil. This is commonly done within four hours of the coconut being broken open. The process demands that only the white portion of the coconut meat be used, which creates the oil flavor and coloration.
Some processing forms use a heating method to extract the oil, but the less refined generally provides the highest nutritional levels.