Coconut Oil Properties

coconut oil properties

In this article, you will learn all about the properties found in virgin coconut oil, their respective concentrations, what they are good for, and why.

Coconut oil is an oil extracted from the meat of mature coconuts harvested from the coconut palm fruit. It has various applications. Because of its high saturated fat content, it can last up to six months without spoiling.


The list of properties found within coconut oil 

their respective concentrations:

Coconut oil is a significant source of dietary fats. Coconut oil may be branded unfairly when compared to unhealthy, highly saturated fats by those who are unfamiliar with the product.

Recent information, however, supports our theory of some beneficial effects of this oil particularly its role in nutrition and health. 

Fatty acids are required to perform critical functions in the body and serve as a carrier of fat-soluble vitamins and minerals. Let’s look at a breakdown of the fatty acids found in coconut oil as well as the nutritional values we may benefit from when using coconut oil.


Fatty acid content:

  • Caprylic saturated 8%
  • Decanoic saturated 9%
  • Lauric saturated 47%
  • Myristic saturated 15%
  • Palmitic saturated 8%
  • Oleic monounsaturated 6%

Nutritional values:

  • Energy    3,730 kJ (880 kcal)
  • Fat 97 g
  • Saturated 80.5 g
  • Monounsaturated 6.1 g
  • Polyunsaturated    1.5 g


Vitamin and mineral content of coconut oil (per 100gr)

  • Vitamin E    (1%) 0.11 mg
  • Vitamin K    (1%) 0.6 mg
  • Minerals
  • Iron    (0%) 0.05 mg
  • Phytosterols    86 mg

When you are looking at the above values, why are they so important when considering the use of coconut oil for cooking, baking or skincare use?



Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Fats and oils are well-known forms of energy. Triglycerides are the most abundant fats found in foods. They are molecules made of fatty acids linked in groups to a binder of glycerol. When we ingest foods containing these fats, the fatty acids are separated from the glycerol during digestion. Fats and oils in the diet are available to the body as fatty acids.

Uses of fatty acids in human diets:

Approximately half of the fats found in coconut oil are of the medium chain fatty acids. Coconut oil is the highest natural source of lauric acid. However, unlike long chain fatty acids, these medium chain free fatty acids are absorbed as-is from the small intestine. They are directly used in the body to produce energy and widely used in many applications such as baby formula, nutritional drinks, cosmetics, hair care applications, cooking and baking products as well as health food supplements.

Vitamins found in coconut oil and their health benefits:

  • Vitamin E. Protective against chronic conditions like cancer which is currently emerging in developing countries. 
  • Vitamin C is found in high concentrations in our skin. Its cancer-fighting properties and its role in collagen production help keep our skin looking youthful and healthy; this is why vitamin C is one of the key ingredients found in many antiaging skin care products. It helps to heal damaged skin and may also reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Proper vitamin C intake can also help repair and prevent dry skin.  Consuming or applying coconut oil with its natural anti-oxidizing properties will help to preserve your skin’s acid mantle, aiding in the repair of damaged tissue and cause rejuvenation from the inside out as if you were applying a lotion high in vitamin C. DIY recipes for natural, anti-aging skin care, including the use of coconut oil. 
  • Consuming or applying coconut oil (anti-oxidizing properties) will help to preserve your skin’s acid mantle, aiding in the restoration of damaged and dehydrated skin cells from the inside out, and the outside in depending on your method of ingestion or application.
  • Vitamin K is needed for the body’s ability of blood clotting, which helps the body heal wounds and bruises, and areas on the body which may have been affected and damaged by surgery. 
  • Can help treat a variety of skin conditions. A study done on the antimicrobial properties of coconut oil on candida species
  • Iron is crucial in replacing red blood cells especially during times of blood loss, after surgeries and menstruation. Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) affects many women across the globe. While IDA moderately does not show any symptoms, you may very well feel tired, dizzy, short of breath and have frequent headaches. 
  • Fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals are an essential requirement for a healthy body and mind in adults and children. Most of us who eat a healthy diet rich in fatty acids, vitamins and minerals do not require additional support, but by cutting down on consuming unhealthy food sources, we are left with healthier alternatives with added benefits, which can be passed down from generation to generation. 
  • You do not necessarily have to eat coconut oil, raw or otherwise, to enjoy these health benefits. Simply add in moderation to your skin care regimes. Coconut oil penetrates deeper into the skin than any other oil. Therefore the body will greatly benefit from it. If your diet is lacking in these essential vitamins, minerals or healthy fatty acids – using coconut oil can help you maintain a healthier lifestyle when used as an alternative food source (in moderation).
  • The medium chain fatty acids allow coconut oil to be used as a detox medium, as an appetite suppressant and to support weight loss.

More in depth health benefits discussed.



RESOURCES:

Caballero B, Allen LH, Prentice A, editors. Encyclopedia of human nutrition. Oxford: Academic Press; 2012.

Murdock D, editor. Encyclopedia of foods: a guide to healthy nutrition. California: Academic Press; 2002.

 DebMandal M, Mandal S. Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.: Arecaceae): In health promotion and disease prevention. 

Asian Pac J of Trop Med. 2011;4(3):241–247. [PubMed]

Enig MG, editor. Coconut: in support of good health in the 21st century; 36th meeting of APCC; Singapore. 1999.

Chong Y, Ng T. Effects of palm oil on cardiovascular risk. Med J Malaysia. 1991;46(1):41–50. [PubMed]

World health organization, iron deficiency anemia.



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