The Amazing Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is the edible and fatty oil extracted from the kernel of a coconut. Unrefined oil is normally considered virgin oil and it possesses a fresh coconut taste and aroma. It is typically made from fresh coconuts, but processing techniques will still vary in determining the product`s final quality.

For the most health benefits coconut oil should be purchased in the unrefined or (extra) virgin form - a recent development in coconut oil processing is the Micro-Expeller Press technology. This is an Australian invention that allows small local producers to extract high quality oil from their coconuts to use as cooking oil or to sell to overseas markets. Previously these small producers would sell their fruit as dried `copra` to large scale manufacturers earning a fraction of the potential revenue.

Once the fruit is picked it is slow roasted on hot stones to reduce the water content then hand processed to remove the coconut flesh. This is then gently pressed by the Micro-Expeller press to produce the fragrant oil we enjoy in Australia. The oil made by this method is quite different to the large scale plantation processed oils usually available, it has a distinct coconut fragrance that is beautiful to use.

Coconut oil has amazing uses in cooking, beauty, health and medicine.

Do you wonder why many beauty and cosmetic products contain coconut oil?

It’s because coconut oil has great moisturizing and hydrating properties. Plus, it is an excellent makeup remover!

The Benefits of Medium-Chain Fatty Acids

Coconut oil is about 2/3 medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), also called medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs. These types of fatty acids produce a whole host of health benefits. Coconut oil is nature`s richest source of these healthy MCFAs.

The MCFAs found in coconut oil have many health benefits, including the following qualities.
• MCFAs are smaller. They permeate cell membranes easily, and do not require special enzymes to be utilized effectively by your body.
• MCFAs are easily digested, thus putting less strain on your digestive system.
• MCFAs are sent directly to your liver, where they are immediately converted into energy rather than being stored as fat.
• MCFAs actually help stimulate your body`s metabolism, leading to weight loss.

Coconut Oil in Cooking

Coconut oil happens to be abundant in lauric acid, a type of saturated fatty acid that (although it does raise cholesterol levels) mainly increases HDL, the healthy type of cholesterol that you want to be high. The chain length of saturated fats is another indicator of healthfulness. Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides, which are used directly for energy by your body.

Oils and Heat

Heat, along with light and oxygen, can destroy the beneficial fats in some oils. Polyunsaturated fats are the most fragile and are not recommended for cooking. Coconut oil, being mainly a saturated fat, is able to withstand higher temperatures than other oils, making it one of the best oils for cooking. It also gives a delicious taste and superb texture to foods. Use organic extra-virgin coconut oil for the best quality.

Benefits of Coconut oil for acne and skin in general

Coconut oil is great for keeping acne at bay. Coconut oil provides deep and real moisture to your skin thereby hydrating and moisturizing dehydrated skin. Coconut oil has powerful antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial properties that naturally combat acne and pimples as well as stave off fungal infections.

Coconut oil also contains Vitamin E. The effects of vitamin-E and skin care are well known. It is essential for healthy skin growth, repair of wear and tear on the skin, keeping skin smooth and protecting against cracking.

Above all, it prevents premature aging and wrinkling of the skin, since it has good antioxidant properties. 100 grams of coconut oil has about 0.1 mg of vitamin E which enhances its skin-nourishing properties.

My preferred brand is Vanuatu Wild Harvest, made by the Micro-Expeller Press method.

Written by Adele McConnell

Adele McConnell (aka Vegie Head) is a successful international cookbook author and vegan chef

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