Coconut oil: characteristics, properties and use

Coconut oil is obtained by pressure squeezing the dried pulp of the coconut. Used in cooking to replace fats of animal origin, it has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. Let’s find out better.

Characteristics of coconut oil

Coconut plants are present in tropical areas in Asia, Africa and Latin America and the presence of the fruit and its products has been part of popular tradition since ancient times both as a food and as a product that generates beauty and health.

At room temperature, coconut oil has a solid consistency similar to butter and instead appears as an oily liquid form when the temperature rises above 20 ° C.

This feature is important for storage in fact to keep it and use it it is important to remember that in summer it can be contained in a bottle and the oil will come out without problem, but if it were in winter it would not come out of the bottle as it would return to the solid state. therefore the advice is to keep it in a larger container with a nice lid and with the possibility of extracting it with a spoon or knife.

This solidity makes it stable and useful for the preparation of appetizing dishes in the kitchen as well as being able to use it simply spread on slices of toast.

The composition of coconut oil is mainly of saturated fatty acids up to 90% which have names such as lauric, caprinic, caprylic and capric.

Lauric acid is a fundamental fatty acid for humans and is in fact also contained in breast milk since only the mammary gland is able to produce it at the time of breastfeeding then to have it, man must look for it in food and first of all. everyone is own coconut oil.

Lauric acid is considered the most digestible fatty acid for humans, in fact it does not even need bile acids and brings with it antimicrobial and antifungal properties that protect and strengthen the whole organism. Some studies report findings that lauric acid is useful against retroviruses such as herpes, the flu and even HIV.

Another good news is that coconut oil is thermogenic, that is, it is capable of increasing our metabolism and therefore promotes weight loss by normalizing cholesterol levels and helping the immune system.

Properties and use of coconut oil

In the food industry, especially in the countries of the equatorial area, it is widely used.

In the kitchen you can use it to prepare cakes and treats by replacing the 100 g of fat usually used with 75 g of coconut oil. Also excellent for frying and for doughs of shortcrust pastry and various desserts

The advantage is its stability which also reduces the risk of rancidity. However, if it oxidizes and becomes rancid then it transforms into hydrogenated oil and thus becomes an extremely dangerous product that even exposes you to the risk of cardiovascular disease so attention must be paid to domestic use and to the label of packaged food products where it should not be present. hydrogenation.

The use in the field of the well-being of the body, for the prevention of health is known as a good ally because it normalizes fats and sugars in the blood; therefore in the prevention of diabetes it is recommended as it improves the balance between sugars and insulin in circulation.

It has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties given by the lauric acid of which it is composed and it is also an oil with antioxidant properties thanks to the presence of other compounds such as vitamin E. We remember that diseases such as Candida are fungal infections and therefore the oil of coconut can be useful in specific treatments for this problem. It also contains vitamins K and J, with some trace mineral iron.

In general, it strengthens the immune system, helps the heart and the thyroid gland thanks to the fact that it promotes the absorption of mineral salts, in particular magnesium and calcium, which are important for muscle contractility, for the skeletal structure, for nails and teeth. and dry or curly hair.

It protects the liver from toxins and alcohol and consequently the kidneys and bladder are also kept in balance thanks to its detoxifying action and also regulates the acid-base balance of the body.

In cosmetics, the skin benefits in beauty, elasticity and softness if applied for external use as a cream or ingested as a food supplement. Excellent simply as a make-up remover for the face or as a moisturizing cream effect after a shower.

It is used as a hair moisturizer applied in contact to damp hair and left on for 15 minutes to a few hours. Also perfect for the most delicate skin, for particular areas such as the lips and eye contour and even for children’s skin.

Curiosities about coconut oil

Also for the coconut oil on the label it uses the word “virgin” for that product that has been extracted only by pressing and squeezing, without adding chemical solvents to speed up the extraction, without refining, deodorization, discoloration and hydrogenation of the coconut oil.

To choose a high quality coconut oil it is therefore recommended to read the label carefully and look for reference to the words “extra-virgin or virgin coconut oil” and even better if it comes from organic farming that guarantees us not to use chemical products. syntheses such as pesticides and fertilizers in the development of coconut plants.

A beauty recipe

To make a bath scrub cream, just take a plastic cup with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, a tablespoon of fine salt and another tablespoon of brown sugar. After washing the body with soap and rinsing thoroughly, the mixture is applied to the still damp skin, massaging the skin and leaving it to act for a few minutes. Finally rinse well with running water. The skin will be soft, hydrated and softly velvety.

It is possible to add a drop of essential oil with the desired fragrance to the previous compound to give a special fragrance to the skin, for example with lavender or orange blossom or jasmine oil.


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