Last updated 26.10.2021
Coconut oil is considered to be one of the healthiest oils in the world not without a reason. This is due to its unique composition, in which a wide range of valuable fatty acids, vitamins and bioelements can be found. Also, the consistency and physical properties (including the smoke point) of coconut oil put it among the best known sources of fat.
Due to its specific health and skin care properties, as well as active support for weight loss, coconut oil has found numerous applications both in the kitchen and in cosmetics. And although some doubts may be raised by the large content of saturated fatty acids, but because of their structure, they are not as harmful as animal fats. Moreover, no sensible person would consume coconut oil in excess. A small amount of MCT acids will in no way adversely affect the body.
Table of contents
- 1 Coconut oil – consume, but not to excess!
- 2 Characteristic structure of coconut oil
- 3 How much coconut oil should I consume daily?
- 4 Coconut oil and palm oil – two very different oils mistakenly considered the same
- 5 Refined coconut oil vs. unrefined coconut oil
- 6 Coconut oil – composition
- 7 Coconut oil – health promoting properties
- 8 Use of coconut oil in cosmetics
- 9 Coconut oil for weight loss
- 10 Coconut oil – uses in the kitchen
- 11 Coconut oil – weight loss recipes
Coconut oil – consume, but not to excess!
Much is said about the health benefits of coconut oil, but there are also voices that it contains saturated fatty acids, so you have to be careful. Yes, you have to be careful, because nothing, not even the healthiest product in the world, eaten in excess, is healthy, but at the same time it is not worth denying yourself completely, because you will miss out on many benefits.
When it comes to the issue of fatty acids contained in coconut oil, it should be noted that due to their characteristic structure, they are safe, both for our figure and for health. What is their specificity?
Characteristic structure of coconut oil
Coconut oil contains saturated fatty acids in 80-90% and unsaturated fatty acids in about 8% (monounsaturated fatty acids about 6% and polyunsaturated fatty acids about 2%). The rest are other compounds.
For the most part (over 60%), the saturated fatty acids in coconut oil are medium chain fatty acids (MCT) containing 6-12 carbon atoms.
Medium-chain fat ty acids are distinguished by their shorter chains than the long-chain fatty acids found in animal products. Due to this property, they are assimilated, digested and metabolized much faster by the body.
Medium-chain fatty acids, instead of being stored in the body and ending up in energy reserves in the form of adipose tissue, are used by the body as fuel for the tissues on an ongoing basis. The unique structure of fats in coconut oil makes it very beneficial when consumed in small amounts, bothThe unique structure of fats makes coconut oil, when consumed in small quantities, very beneficial to us, both in terms of the general condition of the body, cardiovascular health, cholesterol levels, as well as the appearance of the figure.
How much coconut oil should I consume daily?
How much coconut oil is optimal? How much coconut oil a day can we afford? The standard is to consume about 2 tablespoons of coconut oil per day.
However, if you often use other sources of fat in your daily menu (for example, you like other oils, olive oil, butter, cream) and if we are in the process of losing weight and meticulously count every calorie, we can limit ourselves to 1 tablespoon of coconut oil per day.
Coconut oil and palm oil – two very different oils mistakenly considered the same
Coconut oil is sometimes mistaken for palm oil, but in fact they are different. Well, except perhaps for the fact that they are both of vegetable origin and substances with a fatty structure. While coconut oil is made from the nuts of the coconut palm (it is pressed from the copra, or flesh of the coconut palm fruit), palm oil is extracted from the fruit of the oil palm (or Guinea palm).
The origin is one thing, and the properties are another. As you know, coconut oil has many valuable properties and is one of the healthiest types of oil, while palm oil is quite the opposite. It has a whole list of infamous flaws and is unfortunately a characteristic of the worst kind of food products.
Palm oil is low quality, has no nutritional value, is cheap, chemically hydrogenated, and filled with trans fats that are harmful to health. It is used on a mass scale in processed foods. We can find it in the vast majority of sweets, ready-made instant dishes, stock cubes, margarines, toast bread and many other products. Therefore, it is worth taking into account the adverse effects of palm oil (such as raising the level of bad cholesterol, is carcinogenic) before we reach for another product containing it.
Refined coconut oil vs. unrefined coconut oil
Coconutoil, otherwise known as coconut fat or coconut butter, is an increasingly popular product. We can find it not only in health food stores, but also in supermarkets (on the shelves with super foods or organic food), as well as in smaller grocery stores.
Coconut oil has an unusual for vegetable oils solid form (it resembles butter). It only becomes liquid when it comes into contact with elevated temperatures. There are two types of coconut oil available on the market – refined coconut oil and unrefined coconut oil. What are the characteristics of one and the other?
Refined coconut oil
Refined coconut oil is almost transparent or slightly whitish. It has no taste and no smell. It is excellent for frying and baking, because its smoke point is only 204 degrees Celsius.
Refined coconut oil, as a result of the refining process, when it is subjected to high temperatures, unfortunately loses many attributes important for health. While it may be longer-lasting, it doesn’t have the pleasant coconut scent or so many health-promoting qualities. Of course, refining does not completely deprive the oil of nutritional values, it only reduces their level.
Unrefined coconut oil
Unrefined coconut oil, cold-pressed, has a white color and a specific taste and smell of coconut with a delicate nutty note. It is richer in nutritional values than refined oil, contains significant amounts of antioxidants, vitamins, bioelements, and shows a wide range of health-promoting properties. According to many nutritionists, not only does it not cause an increase in fat tissue, but also supports the process of burning calories. For these reasons it is more expensive than refined coconut oil.
Unrefined coconut oil is suitable for a variety of dishes, for baking and frying, for spreading on bread and as an addition to cold dishes. The smoke point of unrefined coconut oil is 177 degrees Celsius. Moreover, unrefined coconut oil is widely used in cosmetics. It moisturizes, protects and nourishes the skin and hair. It is also a great remedy for various skin inflammations.
Coconut oil – composition
About the valuable properties of coconut oil decides its unique composition, primarily the presence of caprylic acid and lauric acid, whose positive internal and external effects have been confirmed by scientific research. In addition, in coconut oil you will find a wide range of vitamins and minerals.
A unique combination of medium-chain saturated fatty acids (which have different properties from animal fats) and mono- and polyunsaturated acids.The unique combination of medium-chain saturated fatty acids (which have different properties to animal fats) and mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids makes the absorption of nutrients better and puts less strain on the digestive system, liver, pancreas and gall bladder.
Valuable ingredients present in coconut oil
- lauric acid,
- myristic acid
- Capric acid,
- caprylic acid,
- Palmitic acid,
- stearic acid,
- Oleic acid,
- linoleic acid,
- linolenic acid,
- B vitamins,
- vitamin E,
- vitamin C,
- vitamin K,
Coconut oil – health promoting properties
The impact of coconut oil on health is greater than we might think, especially if we reach for it systematically, at least 4-5 times a week. This fat, especially in the unrefined version, is a way to improve the condition of the whole body and reduce many ailments. It is also a method of reducing the risk of many diseases of civilization, fighting infections and improving immunity.
Here are the most important properties of coconut oil:
- Regular use of coconut oil leads to improved fat metabolism, lowering LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and raising HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). By normalizing blood cholesterol levels and protecting the heart and arteries, coconut oil prevents the development of atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases.
- Coconut oil has a positive effect on carbohydrate metabolism in the body. It quickly provides a large portion of energy, without raising blood glucose levels. It also helps normalize insulin secretion by the pancreas. Participating in the process of supplying cells with glucose, it has an impact on reducing sugar levels in the blood.
- Coconut oil perfectly affects the work of the mind, improves concentration and thought processes. It provides our brain with the power of energy, making it work more efficiently. Coconut oil is also said to have a beneficial effect on preventing Alzheimera disease, Parkinson’s disease and dementia. This is because it contains medium chain fatty acids and antioxidants that help improve brain function.
- Coconut oil has high levels of antioxidants, making it a powerful ally in the fight against all negative effects of free radicals. Thanks to antioxidants, it reduces inflammation and improves the process of tissue regeneration. It protects cells from damage, makes the body age more slowly and reduces the risk of cancer.
- Coconut oil is perfect for external use – on the skin, hair and even teeth. It has a cleansing, strengthening and antibacterial effect.
- Coconut oil boosts the body’s immune function. It eliminates pathogens that threaten the health of our body. It fights viruses, fungi, yeasts, bacteria and parasites responsible for various diseases and infections. It reduces susceptibility to colds, flu, respiratory infections, skin diseases, urinary tract inflammations. It also shows a slight analgesic effect.
- Coconut oil strengthens the body, adds vigor, increases physical performance. It alleviates symptoms of fatigue, quickly provides energy and puts us back on our feet even when we are tired and sleepy.
- Coconut oil has a beneficial effect on bones and joints.
- Coconut oil helps to restore hormonal balance in the body.
Use of coconut oil in cosmetics
There are many ready-made products, creams, ointments, lotions, conditioners, which include coconut oil, as its nourishing and soothing properties have been known for a long time. In addition, we can naturally apply it in its pure form directly on the skin of the face or hands, use it as a hair mask or clean your teeth with it to whiten them. That’s not all, you can use it as a makeup remover and even replace traditional shaving foam.
Coconut oil has strong moisturizing, nourishing and regenerating properties. It makes the skin more elastic, smoother and firmer. Suitable for all skin types, coconut oil strengthens the natural protective barrier of the epidermis. It evens out the colour and reduces discolouration. It also has an excellent effect on hair. It strengthens them, makes them stronger, healthier looking and shinier.
Coconut oil is an irreplaceable helper in the fight against acne, irritation and inflammation of the skin. It penetrates deep into the skin, eliminating harmful bacteria and microorganisms, soothes inflammation, promotes the reduction of scars and discoloration caused by acne lesions. It is useful in combating all adverse skin symptoms, it is also suitable for people with delicate, sensitive or allergy-prone skin.
How to use coconut oil on the skin?
With coconut oil we can easily make homemade cosmetics to improve the condition of the skin. Masks and scrubs are the most common treatments using coconut oil. On its basis we can also prepare a body lotion.
Here are some cosmetic compositions with coconut oil:
- Nourishing and moisturizing mask with coc onut oil (1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil, half a mashed banana, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice). Mix ingredients thoroughly, apply to face for 20 minutes and rinse off.
- Cleansing and balancing coconut oil mask (1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil, 1 teaspoon of green clay, a splash of rose water or plain water). We combine the ingredients, apply to the face for 15 minutes, wash off.
- Firming and rejuvenating scrub with coc onut oil (4 tablespoons of melted coconut oil, 4 tablespoons of coffee grounds, 2 tablespoons of cinnamon). With the ingredients make a uniform mass. Apply to the body, massage for 2 minutes and wash off.
- Regenerating body lotion with coconut oil (3 tablespoons of melted coconut oil, 3 tablespoons of melted beeswax, 2 tablespoons of almond oil). All the ingredients mix until a uniform consistency is obtained. Put in the fridge to harden. Apply the balm to cleansed skin.
How to use coconut oil on hair?
Coconut oil will accelerate regeneration of hair, make it stronger and smoother. It will also support the health of the scalp. You can apply coconut oil directly to your hair, make an oiling treatment with its help or prepare a mask with coconut oil and other valuable hair ingredients.
- Regenerative and protective hair mask with coc onut oil (2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil, crushed avocado pulp, 1 tablespoon of argan oil). Apply the mixed ingredients to the hair for half an hour, wash off, wash the hair with a mild shampoo.
- Restoring health, vitality and shine hair mask from coconut oil (3 tablespoons of melted coconut oil, 2 egg yolks, 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 tablespoon of turmeric). The concoction of these ingredients is applied to the hair, lightly massage the scalp, after which it is washed off in 20 minutes and wash the head with a mild shampoo.
Coconut oil for weight loss
It would seem that due to the presence of fatty acids, coconut oil promotes the formation of excess weight. Meanwhile, there is nothing more misleading. As already mentioned, coconut fat has a specific chemical structure, different from other fats. It decides that it is a product easily absorbed and quickly used by the body to produce energy. Thus, it is not transformed into fat tissue and is not deposited.
Coconut oil for weight loss can be very helpful, because it speeds up the metabolism and increases the burning of calories, while helping to cleanse the body of toxins. What is more, it facilitates the absorption of nutrients, including calcium and magnesium, so important for the proper functioning of the body.
In addition, the use of coconut oil reduces appetite and promotes a long-lasting feeling of satiety. These properties in conjunction with a faster metabolism and increased detoxification can (with regular and prolonged use of coconut oil) lead to a reduction of accumulated reserves in the form of body fat, especially in the abdominal area.
An important advantage of coconut fat is its regulatory function with regard to cholesterol and glucose levels. Of course, we must not exaggerate in the amount of oil we take in, as it is, however, quite calorific. On the other hand, it is difficult to expect that someone will want to consume it in excess.
Check: Ranking of tablets for weight loss
Coconut oil – uses in the kitchen
Coconut oil can be a great alternative to other types of oil and olive oil, not to mention animal fats, when it comes to frying food.
Its high smoke point, both in refined and unrefined form, makes it not only a healthier alternative, but also more convenient to use. In the unrefined version, oil will also give dishes an exotic taste and aroma.
You can use it for baking and roasting, for example, spreading it on toast instead of butter. In general, because of its creamy texture, it is perfect for baked goods in place of all kinds of spreads.
Coconut oil can also be added to: soups, sauces, dressings, rice, pasta, vegetable and meat dishes, as well as cakes, cookies, desserts, oatmeal.
Coconut oil – weight loss recipes
Light summer vegetable soup
Melt a spoonful of coconut butter in a saucepan, fry chopped vegetables in it (you can add cauliflower florets (you can add cauliflower or broccoli florets, zucchini, eggplant), pour 1 liter of boiling water, stew for about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, sweet paprika, curry powder and a pinch of ginger. After cooking, mix everything into a smooth paste. You can add a tablespoon of light yoghurt to the soup-cream. Serve with croutons or puffed peas.
Instant vegetable cutlets
Rinsed florets of cauliflower and broccoli slightly cook (they should be half hard). Crush the vegetables with a fork or press. Add egg, salt, pepper, nutmeg, chopped dill or parsley. Sprinkle in wholemeal flour until the right consistency for the chops is obtained, add fried onion if necessary. Form into patties, coat gently in wholemeal flour and fry in coconut oil until golden brown.
Melt 100 ml of coconut oil in a saucepan. Pour in 200 grams of oatmeal, 150 grams of flour (preferably wholemeal), add 1 egg and 3 spoons of honey, mix and leave to cool. Then form balls with a diameter of about 4 cm and put them on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Each ball slightly flatten. Bake at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes. After cooling store tightly closed.
Fit pudding with chia seeds and coconut oil
Boil 200 ml of milk, pour in 3 teaspoons of chia seeds, cook on a low heat for about a minute, stirring all the time. Add a teaspoon of honey, stir and set aside to cool. Melt a tablespoon of coconut oil in a frying pan, add the sliced apples, pears or prunes, as desired. Stew for a few minutes until soft, in the meantime add a big pinch of cinnamon. Wait until the fruit has cooled down. Put the chia pudding into serving dishes and top with fruit.