Coconut Oil is a type of oil extracted from coconut pulp. Coconuts are widely available in tropical countries like Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand, where its oil is mostly used for cooking. In room temperature, Coconut Oil is a solid, and needs some heating for it to turn into a liquid.
Coconut Oil, sometimes known as Coconut Essential Oi, is one of the most versatile oils on the planet. This oil is primarily used in the tropics for cooking. The oil contains nutrients and flavor that regular cooking oil does not, but it has increasingly become popular for its massive portfolio of therapeutic, medical, and beauty benefits, which are all scientifically proven. It is no wonder why it’s known as a “miracle fruit” in Southeast Asia.
Research has shown that including Coconut Oil in your diet can lead to a temporary boost in metabolic rate. A series of studies conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition between 1999 and 2000 showed that consuming medium-chain tryglycerides (MCT, where Coconut Oil falls under) could significantly increase a person’s resting metabolic rate and calories burned after meals for up to 14 days. It also has lower cholesterol than other oils, and can reduce heart disease risk. It is also effective in reducing fat, especially abdominal fat.
Coconut Oil Benefits
Versatility is what Coconut Oil is about. It is helpful both inside and outside the human body, and its benefits include:
- Preventing heart problems
- Helping in weight loss
- Aiding digestion
- Moisturizing the skin
- Cleaning the mouth
- Healing wounds and burns
- Boosting energy
- Greatly reduce plaque and gingivitis
Coconut Oil Uses
- Coconut Oil to Fight Heart Disease. There are many ways you can use Coconut Oil to keep your heart healthy. You can use it to replace your normal cooking oil, or to butter your toast, which gives your food a slight coconut flavor. Adding it as an ingredient to your dishes can give you a good dose of HDL cholesterol, which is the good kind of cholesterol, and lower the LDL cholesterol levels, improving the cholesterol ratio in your body. Medium-chain fatty acids (MCTs), which were once thought to be harmful for the heart, has been proven beneficial instead through new studies, and these acids are found abundantly in Coconut Oil.
- Coconut Oil for Weight Loss. Because MCTs have been shown to help increase a person’s metabolic rate, adding Coconut Oil to your food can help you burn more calories and fat, in addition to diet and exercise. The MCTs affect specifically a person’s resting metabolic rate, which is the rate at which he burns calories outside of exercise. Using a combination of regular cardio and eating Coconut Oil can produce the best weight loss results!
- Coconut Oil to Improve Digestion. The saturated fats in Coconut Oil help in managing microorganisms in the digestive system, some of which lead to indigestion and irritable bowel syndrome. By killing off bacteria and fungi that cause intestinal and stomach problems, Coconut Oil helps keep the digestive system working properly. Additionally, it helps the body absorb nutrients in food like vitamins and amino acids more efficiently.
- Coconut Oil as a Skin Moisturizer. Coconut Oil can be used as a natural massage oil to help moisturize dry skin, and has no irritating side effects. It also works as a facial moisturizer because it melts on contact with skin, and can be applied on the face before bedtime.
- Coconut Oil as a Mouthwash. Coconut Oil helps remove plaque, prevent gingivitis, and whiten teeth, as well as freshen breath when used daily. Mixed with equal parts of baking soda, it can destroy bacteria that cause tooth decay and a number of other dental problems.
- Coconut Oil for Treating Wounds. Coconut Oil can speed up healing of wounds and burns when used as a salve. This has been a practice for centuries especially in temperate countries where coconut trees are abundant. Like with using it as mouthwash, it kills bacteria thanks to its antimicrobial properties, and the lauric acid catalyzes the healing process.
- Coconut Oil as an Energy Booster. Due to Coconut Oil’s ability to improve metabolism and digestion, combining Coconut Oil with high-energy foods such as seeds and nuts can lead to a huge energy boost, which is perfect for starting out mornings, keeping awake in afternoons, and before working out.
Coconut Oil Side Effects
Coconut Oil can, if used incorrectly, have a few negative side effects, but none too serious. Consuming too much Coconut Oil can lead to diarrhea-like symptoms; however, it’s not really diarrhea as it is just softening of the stool due to Coconut Oil’s properties in aiding digestion. As well, some people may have an allergic reaction to Coconut Oil. It’s always best to consult with a doctor before consuming Coconut Oil to be safe.
How to Use Coconut Oil
For moisturizing, apply a small amount Coconut Oil on the face or skin after washing, then leave on for 5 minutes. Afterwards, wash off the Coconut Oil with water.
For weight loss, heart health, digestion, or energy, include about three tablespoons of Coconut Oil into your diet each day. It can be eaten in pure form, or may be mixed with other foods, used for cooking, or spread on bread. It’s helpful that it tastes very much like coconut and will even improve the flavor of food.
For the treatment of wounds, simply apply some Coconut Oil over the wound or burn as you would any ointment, then leave it on. Cover with some bandage or gauze. Reapply once again after cleaning until the wound has dried up.
How to Make Coconut Oil
Coconut Oil can be made easily at home using regular kitchen equipment and a coconut scraper.
- Start by splitting open a mature coconut (not the green one).
- Scoop out the meat using a coconut scraper or a solid spoon
- Cut the meat up into very small pieces.
- Shred the meat in a blender until very fine.
- Pour the liquid into a jar with cheesecloth at the opening to filter the solids.
- Squeeze the cheesecloth over the jar to get every last drop.
- Leave the jar for about a day. You will notice curd forming over the top.
- After 24 hours, remove the curd from the top and throw it away.
- The remaining liquid in the jar will be pure Coconut Oil.
Coconut Oil Recipe
There are plenty of things you can make with Coconut Oil, but one of the easiest and most useful is a homemade granola with Coconut Oil that you can snack on whenever you need energy.
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped almonds
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup Coconut Oil
Mix everything except the Coconut Oil in a large bowl, then melt the Coconut Oil and drizzle on the top. Mix again, and bake for 7 minutes at 350 degrees on a cookie pan. Flip the cookie, then bake again for another 7 minutes. Let cool for about 30 minutes, then take it out of the oven and break into bars.
This granola can be used for breakfast, snacks, or to top your ice cream with. Coconut Oil works very well with nuts because it can quickly release the large amounts of energy stored naturally in nuts.
Where to Buy Coconut Oil
Coconut Oil is available in many grocery stores, but can also be bought on Amazon. When buying Coconut Oil, it’s best to look for extra-virgin, as it’ll be the most pure form, and should be in glass jars. Additionally, organically-produced Coconut Oil is better than the others because it is free of chemicals. The following brands can be found on Amazon and fulfill these requirements:
- Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
- Thrive Market Virgin Coconut Oil
- Aunt Patty’s Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil
- Spectrum Organic Coconut Oil
- Coconut Country Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
- Anjou Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
More Information on Coconut Oil
Coconut Oil is solid at room temperature, so when you buy one and it’s not liquid, do not be alarmed. It easily thaws on contact even with skin and can be used immediately. Remember to not consume too much as it can cause a laxative effect at large amounts, so just use up to three tablespoons per day.
It is safe to use Coconut Oil during pregnancy, whether externally or ingested. In fact, since it is high in nutrients, it’s even better to do so.
It is also safe to use on newborns, for cleaning and massage purposes.
Coconut Oil FAQs
Q: What is the difference between regular Coconut Oil and extra virgin Coconut Oil?
A: Extra virgin Coconut Oil is extracted from fresh coconut and only very low heat was used to extract it in order to retain the most antioxidants and nutrients. It also retains most of the flavor this way.
Q: How is Coconut Oil stored?
A: It can be refrigerated or kept in a cupboard, either way is fine as long as it is tightly sealed.
Q: What is the shelf life of Coconut Oil?
A: Approximately 2 years.