You have heard of coconut water, but you must be wondering, what is coconut oil. The oil extracted from the kernel of coconut is called coconut oil. There are different ways to do that.
The method used to extract coconut oil defines the type of coconut oil. I will come to the types of coconut oil later.
Coconut grows in the tropical regions. But, this oil is not only used in the tropical regions but also in the regions like USA and UK.
More and more people like you are becoming aware of the unbeatable health benefits of this oil, leading to its popularity in the whole world.
Where does Coconut Oil Come From?
The countries that produce coconut the most in the whole world are Philippines, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Viet Nam and some parts of Tanzania.
Some of the countries out of all these, produce oil and export, and some of them export the coconut, raw or dried.
How is Coconut Oil Made?
Coconut oil is taken out from the kernel of the coconut. The kernel is also known as Copra. It is the soft, white inner part of the coconut.
There are two broad methods to extract coconut oil. One is the dry method and the other is the wet method.
1. Dry Method
The majority of the coconut oil produced in the world is not virgin oil. The oil is refined oil, which you get in the market most often.
You should always remember that refined coconut oil has fewer nutrients than the virgin oil. Refined oil is cheaper and widely available in the markets.
Most of the countries export the dried Copra or Kernel of coconut. The farmers in the field split the Kernel into two halves.
From the fields, the kernel or the white flesh, is scooped out and taken to dry. There are different ways of drying it.
Ranging from solar drying to racking over a smokey fire or in a Kiln, there can be different ways. In the ancient times, people used to boil it to very high temperatures and take out the oil.
After drying the Kernel, it is packed in a sack and dispatched for industrial processes. Some countries export it to the other countries. In the transit, sometimes there is spoilage even.
Spoilage can be because of the molds or bad odor. It is not good for human consumption at this stage. So, the oil taken out from the kernel is purified.
Oil extract from the Kernel is brownish in color and has a foul odor. To make the oil usable, bleaching, and deodorization of the oil, is done.
2. Wet Method
Unlike the dry process of oil removal from the coconut kernel, the wet process is done using undried kernel.
Wet processed coconut oil has more nutrition than the dry process oil. Heating the kernel destroys some of the nutrients.
In the wet process, there are 3 to 4 methods of taking out the oil, from the kernel. One is screw press. In the screw press, it can be warm pressed or cold pressed.
The method that is widely carried out in many villages, and which is also low cost, is direct expelling.
The kernels are dried naturally on a stainless steel surface. After this, they are pressed to expel the oil.The centrifuge is another method of expelling coconut oil from the kernels. The kernel is grated, and soaked in warm water. They combine to form coconut milk.
The centrifuge is another method of expelling coconut oil from the kernels. The kernel is grated, and soaked in warm water. They combine to form coconut milk.
Now, coconut milk is centrifuged to separate out the water and oil. This method yields a very pure form of coconut oil.
Coconut Oil Types
There are two kinds of coconut oils. One is refined coconut oil, and the other is virgin coconut oil.
Unlike the olive oil, you will seldom find a label on any of the coconut oils saying virgin or extra virgin.
The virgin, extra virgin and the organic coconut oils, are expelled out very carefully.
1. Refined Coconut Oil
The dry process of coconut oil extraction gives rise to the refined version of coconut oil. This variant is usually cheaper and less nutritive than the virgin one.
Refined coconut oil is not good to use daily, for cooking. It has a higher risk of containing trans fats.
2. Virgin Coconut Oil
Virgin coconut oil is the purest form of coconut oil. It uses minimal mechanical processes and nutrients are well intact.
The virgin or unrefined coconut oil is made using the wet process. Fresh, mature, and raw kernels are picked and used in this process.
The taste and aroma are much like a coconut. Taste might differ from the oils from different countries or brands, as the extraction process might be different.
Extra virgin oil is the best to use. Virgin coconut oil seconds the extra virgin oil, followed by refined oil.
Hydrogenated coconut oil is the last thing you would want to use for health benefits. Do not try it for an edible use.
Pure coconut oil has a coconutty taste. It tastes like wine. You can add coconut oil to your food and enjoy the taste. I will discuss the ways you can use coconut oil in your diet, later.
What is the Nutritional Value of Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is one of the healthiest oils. It has an array of health benefits. The nutritional content in coconut oil depends on the extraction process.
But, in a tablespoon of coconut oil, you will find 117 calories, 0 gram of protein, 13.6-gram fat, and 0 gram of carbohydrate.
If I further break down the fat content, it has 11.8 gram of saturated fat, 0.8 gram of monounsaturated fat and 0.2 gram of polyunsaturated fat.
The fats in coconut oil are different than the regular animal fats, used in oils. Coconut oil has medium chain fatty acids or triglycerides.
Medium chain fatty acids are difficult for the body, to convert into stored fats as compared to the long chain fatty acids.All coconut oils are not healthy. The hydrogenated coconut oil has trans fats and is very unhealthy. The virgin coconut oil is the most beneficial to health as it contains some phenolic compounds, which possess antioxidant properties.
The medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) account for most of the health benefits of coconut oil. MCFAs include Caprylic Acid, Lauric Acid, and Capric Acid.
These three healthy fatty acids comprise almost 61% of the whole coconut oil. These fats have to undergo only a 3 step process for providing energy to the body. Other fats undergo a 26 step process.
MCFAs are easy to digest. They are not stored as fat in your body. They possess anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties as well.
What are the Health Benefits of Coconut Oil?
Healthy eating is important to keep your body away from ill health. Even if you want to lose weight, pay more attention to what you are eating.
I have listed some of the important health benefits of coconut oil, below:
Helps in Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s is a disease where the brain becomes weak in memory. The MCFAs, are digested by the liver and creates ketones. Ketones are an accessible source of energy for the brain.
Ketones can give energy to the brain without the need for insulin for converting glucose into energy.
In the normal conditions, the brain has an ability to produce insulin and produce energy. But, in Alzheimer’s, the brain loses this power. The ketones act as rapid energy resources for the brain.
This way, the coconut oil helps in repairing the brain function. However, a serious condition like Alzheimer’s can not be treated by coconut oil alone.
It is not only good for the Alzheimer’s patients but also for all of you, as it improves the brain function and memory.
Improves Skin Issues
Coconut oil is a boon for skin. It is an efficient face cleanser. For all of you, who are looking out for a remedy to dry skin, try coconut oil.
Apart from anti-ageing, the coconut oil also helps in burns, eczema, dandruff, dermatitis, and psoriasis.
The fatty acids in coconut oil, Caprylic, and Lauric reduce inflammation internally and externally from your skin. They also moisturize your skin and make it look supple.
Coconut oil is also beneficial for hair problems. It gives nourishment to your hair and prevents hair fall.
Helpful In Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a state of the body where your body faces increased levels of glucose in the blood.
This phenomenon arises due to insulin resistance. The cells of your body stop responding to insulin and do not take up glucose for energy.
An insulin imbalance occurs in the body because the pancreas pumps out more and more amount of insulin to compensate.
The MCFAs in the coconut oil helps the body to gain energy without insulin. Pancreas do not pump out an extra quantity of insulin in the blood and insulin level is well maintained.
Improves Energy, Endurance and Stomach Ulcers
Coconut helps in digestion. The fat-soluble vitamins, calcium, and magnesium are taken up by the body with the help of coconut oil.
Water-soluble nutrients are convenient to be taken up by the body. But, for the fat-soluble nutrients, things like coconut oil is necessary.
If you are an athlete, make a note of this. Coconut oil will help your body to have an energy reserve that lasts for long and is instant.
MCFAs are quick to be processed by the body for energy-yielding. The energy released from MCFAs is sustainable and increases the metabolism of your body.
Osteoporosis occurs due to oxidative stress, and inflammation due to free radicals. The body requires antioxidants to neutralize the free radicals.
Coconut oil has a high quantity of antioxidants that help to destroy the free radicals from your body. Osteoporosis also causes the calcium to leach out from the bones.
Coconut oil facilitates calcium absorption in the bones to keep them healthy, and strong. It delays the adverse effects of osteoporosis by increasing calcium absorption in the bones.
Cancer Prevention and Treatment
Cancer is a serious ailment. If you have cancer, it is always advisable to consult your physician before trying any of the home remedies.
Coconut oil can not treat cancer fully but might help to improve the situation in two ways.
Cancer cells grow incessantly, and for this, they require energy. The catch is, cancer cells can not take up energy from the ketones. So, when you are on a keto diet, cancer cells do not get sufficient energy to grow.
The MCFAs eat up the lipid wall of the bacteria. One of the bacterias, which is known to increase the risk of stomach cancer, is killed by MCFAs.
If you don’t have cancer, then consuming coconut oil on a daily basis, will decrease the threat of cancer in your body. The tumor cells are glucose dependent and can not survive on a ketogenic diet.
Boosts The Immune System
The lauric acid in coconut oil is responsible for demonstrating antifungal and antibacterial qualities.
Most of the diseases, in your body, are caused by bacteria, and fungi. The coconut oil also creates a hostile environment for the viruses so that they don’t multiply.
Improves Hormone Imbalance
Researchers have found out that coconut oil has a positive effect on the estrogen hormone levels in your body. It is particularly beneficial during menopause.
Helps in Keeping the Heart Healthy
There are two types of lipids in your body. One is good, and the other is bad, for the heart.
LDL, which is the low-density lipoprotein, is harmful to the heart, while HDL, which is High-Density Lipoprotein, is good. Coconut oil has saturated fats.
The saturated fats increase the quantity of HDA in the blood and reduce LDL. LDL, when gets oxidized, it forms bad cholesterol. The bad cholesterol is responsible for blocking the arteries and causing a heart attack.
Prevents and Cures UTIs
The MCFAs have a natural antibiotic property to digest the lipid wall of bacteria and kill them.
Coconut oil, which contains MCFAs, has demonstrated the ability to clean the Urinary Tract of any bacteria.
Also, coconut water is beneficial in UTIs. It is also useful in clearing the kidney stones by flushing them out of the system.
Weight loss is one of the most interesting topics in this era. If you are not able to do much about the physical and mental stress, at least start maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Good health comes a lot from what you eat. Also, it is necessary to maintain your weight. It not only makes you look good but also helps your body to stay away from illnesses.
Overweight or obese people suffer from more than one health problems, mostly. So, if you are obese or overweight, start working towards your weight loss today.
I have worked towards losing my weight. It is not a rocket science, but, it does need patience and perseverance. Home remedies will only catalyze the weight loss process.
Along with the weight loss home remedies, you also need to eat right and exercise regularly. Coconut oil is a fantastic home remedy to lose weight.
It helps in fat loss, especially the belly fat. So, all of you who are sick and tired of your belly fat, please smile! You might have just found out the cure you were looking out for since long.
Coming back to how coconut will help you lose weight. You will be surprised to know that coconut oil is probably the healthiest fat, used for weight loss.
I will divide the mechanism of its action into three parts, for your ease of understanding.
1. Increasing the metabolism of your body
The increase in the metabolism of your body will directly result in increased amount of energy in the body. Medium Chain Fatty Acids are metabolized differently by the body than the Long Chain Fatty Acids.
MCFAs are sent directly to the liver from the gut and converted into energy or the keto-bodies.
Also, the studies show that the fats contained in coconut oil, force the body to burn more energy. They require more calories to get digested.
Your body needs the energy to exercise. MCFAs are the fast energy resources.
2. Decreasing Appetite
Weight loss happens, when your body is burning more calories as compared to the consumption. This is also true, vice-versa.
It is important for you to monitor what all you are eating in a day. You need to balance your food well. The real problem arises when you get untimely food cravings.
There can be many reasons for the food cravings, which necessarily not be out of the empty stomach. Sometimes you feel hungry because of depression as well.
To control this type of hunger is highly essential, as this becomes the sole reason of weight gain, most of the times.
MCFAs can reduce your appetite significantly. Your liver gauges the emptiness or fullness of your stomach basis the fats it receives.
First, the fats are converted into glucose and then glycogen. Extra glycogen is sent to the liver, to store it in the adipose tissue. At this stage, liver gauges your stomach to be full.
Your liver senses the fullness of your stomach when MCFAs are sent directly to your liver from the gut.
3. Fat Loss, Especially the Belly Fat
Coconut oil for weight loss is a highly spoken about topics. It helps significantly with weight loss and specifically, your belly fat.
Belly fat is also known as abdominal fat or visceral fat. Abdominal fat is difficult fat to burn.
Once you lose your abdominal fat, then there will be a very positive effect on your metabolic health.
Having said that, please remember that coconut oil will also have some calories. If you are planning to follow a diet where you will be required to monitor your calorie intake, count the calories in coconut oil too.
Weight loss is not an easy process. Coconut oil is not a magic wand. You need to realize this. For coconut oil to work well, eat healthily.
Coconut Oil Best Usage Tips
To make the most of the coconut oil, try to use it daily in your diet. Here are a few suggestions from me to include coconut oil in your diet.
You can easily replace your cooking oil with coconut oil. It will be more beneficial and also tasty. The oil has a nutty aroma. So, if you get the nutty aroma, you know you have the right and pure coconut oil.
Coconut oil solidifies at the room temperature. It is much like the butter that we use. You can make your popcorns with this and enjoy the different taste.
You can also have coconut oil mixed with your smoothies in the morning.
To include the coconut oil in your morning breakfast, prepare a coconut oil and honey bread spread. You will need to mix 1/4 cup of coconut oil with 1/4 cup honey.
All your stir-fries can be made with coconut oil. Also, you can use coconut oil for baking your dishes instead of butter or any other oil.
Coconut Oil Usage Recipes
Click on the image below to open big info-graphic with different useful coconut oil usage recipes:
Coconut Oil Recommended Dosage
Best uses of coconut oil involve weight loss, as the winner in the list. Apart from that, a significant use of this oil is for skin and hair.
It is recommended for the people with dry hair, if they want moisturized hair, they should massage their scalp with coconut oil for 3 to 5 minutes and take a shower after 30 minutes of keeping it.
Coconut oil is also used as a carrier oil most of the times. Because of its smoothness and skin friendly nature, coconut oil is used as a carrier to different natural oils.
In the aroma therapies, the essential oils are often combined with coconut oil so that they get absorbed and penetrate the skin.
If you want coconut oil for weight loss, best is to use it in cooking. People in the South East Asia, specifically in the tropical regions, use coconut oil only to cook.
The famous Thai and Indian curries have coconut oil and coconut milk in them.
Doses of the coconut oil differ based on your needs and capacity.
I used to have one spoonful of virgin coconut oil 2 to 3 times daily for weight loss. The recommended dose for weight loss is somewhere between 1 to 3 spoonful daily for adults.
However, before trying it, please start with lower doses and consult your physician in case of any discomfort.
Can You Extract Coconut Oil At Home?
Yes, it is possible to expel the coconut oil at home. But, I am not sure if you will be able to get the desired quantity.
If you have a mechanical press at home, it is great. You can buy the Copra or kernel from the market and carry out the extraction process at home.
In case you don’t have and still want to try, do it with a cheese cloth. Buy the Copra and shred it. Now take it into a cheese cloth and do the extraction.
How to Store Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil has a high melting point (24 to 25-degree Celsius). Unlike the other oils, it is solid at room temperature.
Do not refrigerate the coconut oil. It is always in its solid form until the temperature rises significantly. If you want to use it topically, melt it by keeping the bottle out in the sun or soak it in warm water.
In the colder countries, it is essential to keep coconut oil in a broad-mouthed container. It will allow you to scoop out the oil when you want to use it.
Also, keep the container tightly mouthed as you wouldn’t want to share your coconut oil with any of the rodents out there.
You can keep coconut oil in a tightly packed container, for up to 2 years. Just don’t keep it exposed to direct sunlight for a longer duration. Do it only when it is needed.