Coconut oil - what is it?
Coconut oil is a vegetable fat derived from coconut fruits. The main difference between coconut oil and other vegetable oils is that it is 70-75% composed of saturated fatty acids. Recall that usually such acids are found in animal fats (butter, lard), while in sunflower, olive and other vegetable oils contain unsaturated acids.
The health benefits of coconut oil are due to its unique composition - that is why it is included in the list of products for proper nutrition . Unlike animal fats, it does not contain cholesterol. In addition, coconut oil consists of short-chain fatty acids, which ensures the fastest absorption by the body - both when taken with food, and when applied to the skin or hair.
The potential harm to coconut oil may be that it, like any other oil, is a high-calorie product. Despite the fact that the body processes its calories in a slightly different way, coconut oil cannot be considered dietary - its excessive consumption can lead to weight gain. Also, harm to health can be caused by the use of a low-quality product.
Coconut oil for frying
Coconut oil is traditionally used for cooking (primarily for frying) in many countries in South Asia. Despite the fact that the oil has a characteristic sweetish taste and smell, it is considered as an advantage, and not as a disadvantage. Stewed vegetables cooked on it, chicken curry or meat in sweet and sour sauce will have a unique aroma that repeats the taste of real Thai food.
Frying in coconut oil is widely used in vegetarian cuisine - both due to taste characteristics and because of the content of saturated fatty acids. Recall that saturated acids are critical for human metabolism, the absorption of a number of vitamins, as well as for the synthesis of hormones. In the absence of animal fats in the diet, vegetarians may experience an acute deficiency of saturated fats.
Coconut Oil Benefits
- Quickly quench hunger. One teaspoon of coconut oil, taken on an empty stomach in a few minutes will create a feeling of fullness. Taking this oil 10-15 minutes before a meal, you will significantly reduce the size of the portion you eat (and, accordingly, the number of calories).
- Optimization of metabolism. Saturated fatty acids are critical to the absorption of a number of minerals and vitamins. If you eat exclusively low-fat animal foods, you worsen your metabolism. Coconut oil will make a difference.
- Safety when frying. Unlike many vegetable fats, coconut oil can withstand fairly high temperatures (around 180 ° C), making it an ideal choice for use when frying vegetables and meat.
- Improving the quality of skin and hair. Both internal and external use of coconut oil can have a positive effect on the condition of the skin and hair. That is why many creams contain coconut oil.
Coconut oil: reviews
Below are reviews of Fitseven readers on the use of coconut oil for frying, as well as for applying to the face and hair. You can leave your review in the comment block at the bottom of the page.
Coconut oil is a great thing! I took it with me on vacation, used it as a make-up remover, as a means after sunbathing, wiped it on my face, applied it like night cream, and applied it to my feet as protection from the sun. It is simply universal, copes with all tasks, for the second time in my life I managed to tan evenly, without scalding and peeling of the skin after.
For two years now I have been frying exclusively on coconut oil, they write on the net that the oil is magic, only good, etc.
Coconut Oil for Food: Benefits
Due to the chemical structure of coconut oil, the human body prefers to use its calories for direct conversion to energy and for current metabolic needs¹, extremely reluctant to keep them “in reserve” in fat deposits. Satisfying hunger and causing satiety, consumed in reasonable amounts of coconut fat can hardly go into subcutaneous fat - this is its main benefit on a diet.
However, this does not mean at all that when frying food in coconut oil it is impossible to gain excess weight - in the end, it all depends solely on whether you exceed the daily calorie intake or not. If you overeat chronically, then in any case you will get fat - even if you use exclusively healthy coconut oil and refuse other sources of fat.
Coconut oil for skin and hair
Natural coconut oil can be used on face or hair. Like any other vegetable oil, it creates a kind of film on the surface of the skin (or on the surface of the hair) that can retain moisture and give a characteristic shine. The advantage is that the oil does not contain chemical components, which means it does not provoke allergies.
At the same time, it is not necessary to buy special expensive coconut oil for the skin - the quality of ordinary edible cold-pressed oil will be quite enough. Apply a small amount of coconut oil to the body after tanning, rubbing it gently - this will help fight redness and excessively dry skin. However, recall that the oil is not able to protect from sunlight - it is important to use a cream with SPF for this.
How to choose the best coconut oil?
As in the situation with olive oil, coconut oil can be made from natural coconuts both by cold pressing and through complex chemical processes and heating. Unfortunately, with mechanical extraction no more than 10% of fat is extracted from coconut flakes - significantly less than from ordinary olives. That is why coconut oil is more expensive than other vegetable fats.
Acids, enzymes, and bleaching elements can also be used to increase oil yield. Coconut oil resulting from chemical extraction loses its sweetish taste and characteristic odor. Note that although this oil can be safely used for frying and cooking, applying to the skin can cause unwanted allergic effects.
What is the difference between coconut and palm oils?
Palm oil differs from coconut properties, taste and color. If coconut oil is white (or transparent at temperatures above + 23 ° C), then natural palm oil has a bright red color and a very unpleasant odor. Despite the fact that both products are obtained from the fruits of palm trees - coconut and olive trees - these plants are only distant relatives.
By its structure (in particular, the presence of saturated fats) palm oil is close to coconut. The disadvantage of palm oil is that in its natural form it is almost impossible to use in food - usually it goes through a number of chemical cleaning processes from color and smell. Also, it is often subjected to aggressive heat treatment, as a result of which trans fats can form in it.
Coconut oil is one of the few types of vegetable oils made up of saturated fatty acids. Its use is useful both for vegetarians (when refusing animal products sources of fatty acids are excluded), and in case of observing the rules of a healthy diet. The simple structure of coconut oil fatty acids ensures its absorption directly from the intestine - which has a positive effect on metabolism.
- Postprandial thermogenesis in lean and obese subjects after meals supplemented with medium-chain and long-chain triglycerides, source
- National Nutrient Database: Coconut Oil, source