Coconut Oil Health Benefits
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10th Jun 2012, 08:04 PM #1
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Coconut Oil Health Benefits
Coconut oil benefits have increasingly been acknowledged for the last several decades, after years of being discredited. The so-called virgin coconut oil has been found to possess antiviral, antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiprotozoal properties that make it an excellent partner in a healthy diet.
Coconut oil is the substance extracted from the kernel or meat of matured coconut that has been harvested from the coconut palm.
Coconut oil has various applications in food, medicine and even industry. In food, the virgin coconut oil) is most commonly used in cooking, especially in frying. Coconut oil is also typically used as a flavoring agent for curries. As such, coconut oil has largely been the primary source of fat in the diets of millions of people in tropical countries for generations.
Coconut oil may either be unrefined or refined. The unrefined version is typically known as virgin coconut oil. It is extracted when the dried milled and shredded white meat of the coconut undergoes a customized, cold process oil press that facilitates the separation of the oil from the meat. The oil is then collected in a pan and passes through several layers of filter cloths. The water clear oil that emerges from this process is the virgin coconut oil.
On the other hand, refined coconut oil is simply the virgin coconut oil that further undergoes the refining, bleaching and deodorizing process through the addition of such items as citric acid and activated carbon.
Between these two, the virgin coconut oil - the unrefined version - is said to contain the more potent levels of health benefits as retains most of the antioxidant levels found in the coconut.
Coconut oil is generally known to be comprised of the following:
- 92% Saturated fatty acids (i.e. lauric acid, capric acid, caprylic acid, myristic acid, palmitic acid)
- 6.2% Monounsaturated fatty acids (oleic acid)
- 1.6% Polyunsaturated fatty acids (linoleic acid)
- antioxidant polyphenols (gallic acid)
- fatty acid derivatives (betaine, fatty esters, monoglycerides)
- fatty alcohol derivatives (fatty chlorides, fatty alcohol sulphate)
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
The bad press that coconut oil has received in the past stems from the fact that as shown above, about 92% of it is composed of saturated fatty acids. Recent research has shown that not all such fatty acids are harmful. Lauric acid in particular, the same substance found in mother's milk, has been found to be very potent in fighting a range of bacteria and viruses that lead to a lot of diseases. High concentrations of lauric acid in coconut oil make it an effective fighter against many diseases.
In addition, the saturated fats found in virgin coconut oil have been shown not to increase the level of bad cholesterol (or LDL) levels in the body that contribute to many cardiovascular diseases. This is why virgin coconut oil is said to be an effective partner in heart and brain health.
The following are the coconut oil benefits (mainly the unrefined virgin coconut oil) that may be derived from eating this superfood:
- Coconut oil may help lower the risk of heart attacks.
- Coconut oil may help lower the risk for strokes.
- Coconut oil may help fight back the effects of aging due to its antioxidant content.
- Coconut oil may help strengthen the immune system.
- Coconut oil may help improve the digestion process.
- Coconut oil may help kill bacteria and treat ailments caused by them such as measles, influenza, urinary tract infection, throat infection, pneumonia and others.
- Coconut oil may help in preventing liver and kidney diseases.
- Coconut oil may help in controlling blood sugar and hence, may be helpful in the treatment of diabetes.
- Coconut oil may help strengthen bones, and contribute to maintenance of healthy hair, skin and nails.
- Coconut oil may help ease and relieve stress.
Last edited by Nishahameetha; 10th Jun 2012 at 08:06 PM.