Coconut oil has earned the nickname “superfood” thanks to all the benefits it provides to our body. In addition, it is becoming the ally of people who want to improve their diet.
For its part, being a derivative of coconut , this type of vegetable oil is one of the most chosen by vegans, as well as people who want to reduce abdominal fat , improve their cardiovascular health, combat skin diseases, among other benefits.
For these reasons, below, you will learn what coconut oil is about, its properties, benefits, and how to use it to obtain all its nutrients.
What is coconut oil?
Coconut oil is an oil obtained from the seed of the coconut tree, although it is popularly known as a fruit. This vegetable oil is slow to oxidize , so its duration can be prolonged and still maintain its properties.
You should know : Currently, the cosmetic and food industries subject coconut oil to a refining, bleaching and deodorization process to obtain a totally clean oil, however this derivative is recommended in its most virgin or pure form in order to take advantage of all its benefits.
Coconut oil can be obtained in several ways , but the most used is by cold pressing the coconut meat, thus guaranteeing the concentrated properties, then it is filtered to remove any residue from the pulp and packaged.
Coconut oil properties
Coconut oil is one of the richest sources of fat in the world : 90% of its fats are saturated. The saturated fats present in coconut oil are not like those in other foods .
While most foods contain long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs), coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MTGs) .
Note: TGCMs have a totally different metabolization than AGCL: they pass from the digestive tract directly to the liver, where they can be used as a source of energy or are transformed into ketone bodies. And this can have very beneficial effects on metabolism.
For its part, according to data provided by Self magazine (1) , 100 grams of coconut oil contain:
- Calories: 43% RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance)
- Saturated fat: 86.5 g.
- Monosaturated fatty acids: 5.8 g.
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids: 1.8 g.
- Omega 6: 1800 mg.
- Fitoesteroles: 86 mg.
The vitamins that stand out in coconut oil are vitamin E and K. The first of these acts as a powerful antioxidant that is used within the cosmetic industry to develop products that benefit the health of hair, nails, and skin.
While vitamin K is an essential compound for the development of the different systems of the body , it also favors coagulation and bone health.
Although coconut oil, and especially refined oil, does not contain a high amount of minerals , in its purest state it can contain iron, calcium and magnesium .
These compounds are necessary for the function of the bones and the circulatory system, however, as with other oils, this product does not have large amounts of minerals.
3. Other compounds
Virgin coconut oil is recognized for its high content of lauric acid, a compound that directly benefits the skin and improves heart conditions.
Also, it contains caprylic acid , a compound used in the manufacture of perfumes, lubricants, and soaps.
To highlight: The Spanish Food Book (2) , ensures that the lauric and myristic acid that coconut oil has, are two compounds that the body uses to obtain energy instead of being formed as adhered fat.
What are the benefits of coconut oil?
The multiple properties of coconut oil make its benefits even more effective. Its high content of saturated compounds and lauric acid make it a good vegetable oil to prevent certain diseases, infections, as a hair treatment due to its moisturizing effect, for cooking and keeping you healthy, among other benefits that we will detail below:
1. Strengthens the immune system
The saturated fat content of this derivative helps strengthen the immune system. This is because oils like this can increase the body’s ability to react to viruses, bacteria and microorganisms that can harm it.
Note: In addition, the consumption of coconut oil will naturally provide you with the necessary amount of caprylic and lauric acid, two base compounds within medicines that are naturally manufactured to fight infections .
2. Regulates cholesterol levels
According to evidence published by the journal Nutrición Hospitalaria (3) , high-purity coconut oil has an effect that increases HDL (good) cholesterol and decreases LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
Likewise, it is recommended to be used in the diet of people who suffer from heart disease, since it reduces the risk of coronary heart disease due to its powerful action on cholesterol levels.
3. Promotes the digestive process
This vegetable oil helps to metabolize food more easily and in turn transforms it into energy, that is, it has a thermogenic effect that decreases fat production, by transporting the components of coconut oil directly to the liver to be metabolized.
Note: This causes the digestive process to speed up, since food is not kept in the stomach for so long, but the digestion process begins and is effectively converted into the necessary energy for the body.
4. Contributes to weight loss
As previously mentioned, coconut oil is a natural food metabolizer, which according to data provided by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (4) , taking one or two tablespoons of TGCM per day , causes the compounds present in coconut oil to coconut, increase fat burning by 5%: a total of 120 calories per day.
This, in turn, can benefit the loss of fat in the abdominal cavity and body weight, which also has other positive effects on health, such as :
- Improves metabolic health.
- Reduces the risk of chronic diseases.
- May increase longevity .
5. Improves skin health
It is usual for many people to use coconut oil for the skin, this is due to its vitamin E content that helps keep pores healthy due to its antioxidant effect , it also improves dry skin, which is why this product is being included as an ingredient in many cosmetic brands.
Note: If you are one of those who prefers to make natural masks instead of cosmetics, we recommend that you also use coconut oil to benefit the condition of your scalp if it is dry and apply it to the skin before bed.
How to use coconut oil?
In various cultures, it is said that coconut is a super food due to the multiple properties that the water of this fruit possesses, in addition to its derivative known worldwide as coconut milk, but currently the use of coconut oil is being used even more to cooking , especially in multiple gastronomic dishes and in the kitchen of international foods.
In this sense, below we will detail the different uses that you can give to coconut oil:
- In the Kitchen: It can be used for frying, as a non-stick coating, as a replacement for butter and as part of some recipes.
- For the skin: You can make masks of coconut oil, honey and oats. If you buy it in its pure state, you can apply it to the skin and scalp, this will effectively hydrate the affected areas.
- To lose weight: Take 1 to 2 tablespoons daily, it will speed up your metabolism and make you lose weight more effectively.
Note: When ingesting coconut oil, it is important that you consult with a nutritionist , so they will indicate the recommended dose according to your requirements.
- Coconut oil is a derivative that is extracted from the pulp of the coconut fruit .
- This vegetable oil is rich in saturated fats, antioxidant compounds and myristic, lauric and caprylic acids.
- Among the benefits of coconut oil, its function as a fat burner stands out , it lowers cholesterol levels and keeps the skin hydrated.
- It can be consumed, cooked and used in the body , taking into account that in its most virgin state it has a greater amount of nutrients.
University Professional in the area of Human Resources, Postgraduate in Occupational Health and Hygiene of the Work Environment, 14 years of experience in the area of health. Interested in topics of Psychology, Occupational Health, and General Medicine.