It can be used for both external and internal uses. Coconut oil is known for its moisturizing properties. It also helps in enhancing strength and vitality.
Available in two varieties- virgin and refined oil, coconut oil has become a popular fat choice for its flavour and fat composition. With an increase in consumer demand for plant-based food, the demand for coconut oil is ever increasing.
Let’s understand the difference between the two varieties of oil.
Unrefined vs. Refined Coconut Oil
The key difference between refined and unrefined, is the way it's processed. The unrefined virgin oil or cold pressed oil is obtained just by pressing the fresh coconuts and does not undergo any processing.
Refined oil, on the other contrary, is made from dried coconuts and then undergoes additional processing. The difference in the process makes the aroma and taste of these oils a differentiating factor.
Virgin/cold pressed oil retains the natural scent and flavour of coconut, while in refined oil it is neutral. Thus, a lot of people prefer to use refined coconut oil to have a mild flavour with a high smoke point. But if you want to extract the true benefits it is always recommended to go for virgin coconut oil.
Coconut Oil Nutrition
Coconut oil fat content is 100% out of which 80-90% is saturated fat and it is the best natural source of saturated fat. There’s something unique about this saturated fat present in coconut oil: it’s rich in medium-chain triglycerides including lauric acid, which may act differently than other saturated fats.
Why? Because of these fatty acids, it reduces fat as MCTs are quickly broken down by the body and converted into energy, improve good HDL cholesterol, enhance the feeling of fullness, and improves digestion.
Coconut Oil Nutrition Facts
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, these are the nutritional value for a 1 tablespoon serving of coconut oil.
No cholesterol, no fibre, and only traces of vitamins, minerals, and plant sterols. Plant sterols block the absorption of cholesterol in the body. However, the amount found in one tablespoon of coconut oil is so minimal to produce a beneficial effect.
Is coconut oil healthy or not?
It is definitely healthy if it is consumed in the right amount. Various studies show its benefit for weight loss, reducing hunger, promoting good cholesterol, and there are more emerging with its growing popularity.
To maximize the benefits, ensure that you choose natural, virgin coconut oil. Besides eating, coconut oil helps you have healthy, moisturized hair and skin and is used in cosmetics as well.
How much coconut oil should be consumed daily?
Coconut oil has many health-promoting benefits, but there is a limit to how much you should consume. Each tablespoon contains 121 calories, it doesn’t matter whether MCTs have a high absorption rate, eating more calories than needed could still lead to weight gain.
Because of its high saturated fat content, confine yourself to no more than two tablespoons (28 grammes) each day. One must replace less healthy fat with coconut oil rather than adding it on top of other fat you are consuming currently.
Benefits of Coconut Oil
Good for Heart- it helps in maintaining cholesterol levels and normalizes high blood pressure. Also reduces inflammation of arteries. Natural saturated fats promote heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Stronger Hair- Coconut oil helps to protect your hair from damage. If you experience dandruff or have dry hair, coconut oil contains fatty acids that can help.
Moisturises Skin- For your legs, arms, and elbows, coconut oil is a fantastic moisturiser. You may also apply it to your face. It can also aid in the healing of cracked heels.
Dental Health- Coconut oil is one of the many excellent oils to pull because of the presence of MCTs. Swishing with coconut oil regularly can decrease inflammation and plaque gingivitis.
Weight Loss- It boosts the metabolism rate of the body, is simple to digest, and aids in the proper functioning of the thyroid and endocrine glands. This way it naturally aids in reducing weight.
Boosts Immunity- The Lauric acid in coconut oil is transformed into monolaurin, which aids in the fight against germs and viruses, preventing illness and disease.
Improves Digestion- It prevents IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). It contains saturated fats, which have antibacterial characteristics and helps in the treatment of bacteria, fungus, and parasites that cause dyspepsia.
How to eat coconut oil?
Using coconut oil for cooking instead of our regular oils can be the most effective way to incorporate it into your diet. Not only will you reduce intake of refined oil, but consume alternate healthy oil.
As a cooking oil, it is particularly popular in southern India, where the best quality coconut grows in abundance. It can also be used to bake cookies or in shakes to enhance both the flavour and your health.
Although as noted earlier, coconut oil should be consumed moderately. People also tend to consume it in the form of supplements, which is not the best approach. It is always preferable to take food in its natural form.
Things you should know when buying coconut oil!
An unsaid shopping rule we must follow is to research and know about what you are buying. If you are planning to switch to coconut oil, then you are at the right spot. We have covered all the essential points you need to know before buying coconut oil.
Extraction Method: Check if the oil is cold-pressed or expeller-pressed. The former is a healthier option as no heat is generated during the extraction process. While in the latter, heat is generated due to which the coconut oil loses its nutrients.
Refining Process: This will help you know the quality of your oil. Refined coconut oil is tasteless, odourless, made from dried coconuts, and is usually heated. The RBD label on the product indicates that your oil is ‘refined, bleached, and deodorised.’ The highest quality is those that mention ‘virgin’ or ‘unrefined.’
Container: Glass is better as it does not transfer its taste to the oil, also locks the nutrients much more effectively. Plastic is the wrong choice. It is unhealthy, alters the taste, and the lauric acid of coconut oil will react with the plastic over time.
Always remember if you are confused, check out the website. But never buy the wrong product. Your health is of utmost importance and deserves the best.
Is coconut oil good for the keto diet?
There are no carbs in coconut oil and it’s pure fat with a high absorption rate, making it a great option for the keto diet. As in the keto diet, you burn fat for fuel instead of carbs.
Is coconut oil good for cooking?
Over 90% of the fatty acids in coconut oil are saturated, which makes it highly heat resistant. For this reason, it is best for frying. It has powerful health benefits. Particularly rich in lauric acid, which improves cholesterol and anti-microbial properties to kill bacteria and other pathogens. This helps the oil to last for months and years. It not only boosts metabolism but also enhances the feeling of fullness which encourages weight loss.
Which coconut oil is best for cooking?
In stores, you’ll find both virgin and refined coconut oil. Virgin coconut oil is produced by cold-pressing the liquid from the coconut meat. It is famous for its aroma, taste, and powerful antioxidants compared to refined coconut oil processed through heat exposure.
It is recommended to use virgin coconut oil for cooking as refined oil loses all its nutrition during the processing like deodorising and bleaching.
How to store coconut oil?
Well, we all know numerous ways of using coconut oil and have definitely tried various ‘Ghar Ke Nuskhe’ with it. But do we know the right way to store it? Coconut oil can have the longest shelf life when stored properly. However, if the oil is not maintained properly, it can soon rot.
Coconut oil does have a shelf life of up to two years, but it is necessary that you prevent it from spoilage. How do we do that? Don’t worry! Just read and remember this-
- Prefer oil that is sold in a glass or plastic-free container to avoid chemical leaching.
- To keep your oil fresh and extend its usability, store it in an air-tight container. Also, because oxygen can also speed up spoilage.
- A securely sealed container will help keep your oil from going rancid too soon. It will also keep dirt, germs, and other pollutants out of the oil.
- Do not store your coconut oil in a metal container, it can be dangerous. Under some conditions, the oil might react with the metal, giving it a foul odour and potentially making it unsuitable to use.
- You can choose to keep your coconut oil in the fridge instead of in the kitchen. Cold temperatures enable the oil to harden into a curdled state, allowing it to last longer. If you refrigerate it, set it out at room temperature for a few minutes before using it to make scooping easier.
- To avoid spoiling, keep the oil bottle away from heat and light.
- Signs of spoilage include discoloration, mold, or an unpleasant or unusual odour or flavour.