Coconut oil: Use, nutrition and health benefits

By Dr. Sachin Singh | 26th Nov 2021

Coconut oil:  Use, nutrition and health benefits

Coconut oil is derived from coconuts grown on coconut palm plants (Cocos nucifera). It comes from the flesh of coconuts and is a tropical oil. Coconut oil is divided into two types: copra oil and virgin coconut oil. Although they contain similar levels of fatty acids, pure coconut oil includes more minerals like Vitamin E and bioactive substances like polyphenols (plant materials that have antioxidant properties). 

This is one of the few plant sources of saturated fat and is solid at room temperature. The oil is extracted from the coconut fruit’s “flesh” and is high in lauric acid (which proponents say has antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and antioxidant properties)

Virgin and refined coconut oil are two types of this oil. Virgin coconut oil is less processed than refined coconut oil, so its delicious, coconut-y tropical flavour is preserved. Refined coconut oil is subjected to greater processing, resulting in a more neutral odour and flavour. You can use the refined version as the main cooking oil for a range of recipes because it doesn’t have that distinct tropical flavour.

Nutrition facts

These are the oil nutrition values for a 1-tablespoon serving of coconut oil, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Calories- 121 grams

Protein- 0 grams

Fat- 13.5 grams

Saturated fat- 11.2 grams

Carbohydrate- 0 grams

Fibre- 0 grams

Sugar- 0 grams

These oil calories are in maximum amounts but there is no cholesterol, no fibre, and just traces of vitamins, minerals, and plant sterols in this product. Plant sterols prevent cholesterol from being absorbed into the body. However, the amount of coconut oil in one tablespoon is insufficient to have a favourable effect.

Is This Oil Good for Health?

If ingested in the proper quantities, it is unquestionably healthy. Various studies suggest its benefits for weight loss, appetite reduction, and good cholesterol promotion, and more are being published as it grows in popularity.

Make sure you use pure, virgin coconut oil to get the most out of it. This oil benefits when used in cosmetics and aids in the maintenance of healthy, moisturised hair and skin.

Here are the some Benefits

1. Benefits of Weight loss

This oil has the highest concentration of lauric acid found in any natural source. According to studies, lauric acid flows to the liver and is turned into energy rather than being stored as fat, which could help with weight loss. More research is needed, however, to show that coconut oil benefits weight loss and enhanced metabolism.

2. Benefits in Improved health of Skin and Hair

Apple cider vinegar benefits have been shown in studies to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and raise HDL (good cholesterol) due to its inherent antioxidants. For conditions like xerosis, or rough, dry skin, the chemical has been proven to be a safe and efficient moisturiser. Furthermore, coconut oil benefits in reducing protein loss in your hair, resulting in better hair health.

3. Benefits of Boosting Good Cholesterol Levels

Cholesterol isn’t all harmful. In some women, coconut oil benefits have been proven to raise HDL cholesterol levels, popularly known as “good cholesterol,” while lowering LDL cholesterol levels.

4. Benefits of Brain Function Enhancement

More study is needed to establish a definitive link between coconut oil consumption and improved cognitive function. However, the molecules found in the oil, particularly ketones, have been linked to a reduction in Alzheimer’s disease symptoms by providing injured brain cells with alternative energy sources.

5. Benefits of Quick Source of Energy

MCTs are found in coconut oil and provide a quick source of energy. LCTs (long-chain triglycerides) are fat molecules that travel through the bloodstream to tissues that need them, such as muscle and fat tissue. MCTs, on the other hand, go straight to your liver and act as a quick source of energy in the same manner as carbs do.

6. Act as antimicrobial effects

Because of its MCT content — notably, lauric acid — coconut oil benefits by providing antibacterial and antifungal characteristics. Lauric acid is a fatty acid found in coconut oil that accounts for nearly half of the MCTs. It may have antibacterial properties against disease-causing germs, according to research.

Also read- Ashwagandha Benefits and side effects

Consumption

This oil for cooking instead of normal oils is one of the most efficient ways to include it in your diet. You will not only lower your intake of refined oil, but you will also switch to a healthier oil.

It’s a favourite cooking oil in south India, where the best coconut is plentiful. It can also be used to boost both the flavour and the health of cookies or drinks.

Before you start using this oil for cooking it’s important to know which type you’re working with. Virgin coconut oil has a smoke point of 350°F, making it ideal for baking and sautéing. Refined coconut oil has a smoke point of 400°F, making it a superior choice for frying or cooking at higher heat.

This oil holds up well to high heat because of its high-fat content, making it an excellent choice for sautéing and stir-frying. Even so, we recommend that while using this oil for cooking, keep the heat on a medium flame for the best results.

When tasted on its own or when used this oil for cooking has a very neutral flavour. There are no traces of coconut flavour in it.

This oil for cooking, as previously said, should be consumed in moderation. People also tend to take it in supplement form, which is not the greatest method. It is always better to consume food in its original state.

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