Cold Pressed virgin coconut oil, which is the unrefined natural oil contains higher amounts of certain nutrients as compared to refined coconut oil. These nutrients are vitamin E and some dietary bioactive compounds called phenols.
Virgin coconut oil usually means that it has not been bleached, deodorized, or refined. Cold pressed coconut oil means that it has been pressed without the use of a heat source.
Refined coconut oil has been shown to have a lesser impact on the total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) compared with virgin or unrefined coconut oil.
Coconut oil is commonly used to improve growth in premature infants, used for obesity, heart disease, breast cancer, and many other conditions.
One advantage of coconut oil is that it is resistant to oxidation and polymerization, which makes it a stable oil for cooking.
Nutritional Facts About Coconut Oil:
One tablespoon (1 tbsp- 14 g) of coconut oil provides:
Calories 117 kcal
Total Fat 14 g
Saturated Fat 12 g
Mono-unsaturated fats 0.9 g
Poly-unsaturated fats 0.23 g
Carbohydrates 0.1 g
Protein 0 g
Vitamin E 0.02 mg
Nutritional benefits of Coconut Oil Consumption:
• May be helpful in weight loss: Some researches have proven that MCT consumption may lead to weight loss. This is due to the fact that MCTs increase in fat burning capacity of the body. Coconut oil contains about 52% to 85% of medium chain triglycerides, so they may help to burn more calories.
• Improve metabolism: MCTs get absorbed faster and increase the number of calories burnt by the body. Some studies have shown that this leads to an improvement in the body’s metabolic rate.
• Heart healthy: Epidemiological studies from populations which consume substantial amounts of coconut oil show that, it does not have a negative effect on the cardiovascular health. This is especially true for diets which are characterised by low intake of processed foods.
• Increase HDL (good) cholesterol: Studies have shown that a regular consumption of virgin coconut oil helps to increase total and HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) levels in the body. It was also shown that serum HDL levels increased with an increase in the coconut oil intake.
• Improve Satiety: MCTs found in coconut oil have been shown to improve satiety, reduce hunger and overall food intake. This may help in reducing overall calorie intake and impacting weight.
• Safe even at high temperatures: Saturated fats retain their structural integrity even at higher temperatures unlike unsaturated fatty acids. Coconut contains up to 85% saturated fats. Therefore, compared to polyunsaturated fats it does not get converted to toxic compounds, which may exert harmful effects on health.
• Helps to decrease belly fat: Studies have shown that the consumption of about 2 tablespoon that is 30 ml of coconut oil on a daily basis helps to reduce waist size both in men and women.
• Improve brain function: The MCTs found in coconut oil are broken down to ketone bodies in the liver. These act as an alternative source of energy for the brain, especially in brain disorders such as epilepsy and Alzheimer’s.
• May reduce stress and depression: Virgin coconut oil contains antioxidants, which help in reducing stress and are useful in treating depression.
• Make bones healthier: The antioxidants found in virgin coconut oil have been shown to improve bone health by neutralizing the toxins that damage bones.
• Anti-inflammatory effects: Virgin coconut oil contains beneficial antioxidants in much greater amounts as compared to refined coconut oil. These antioxidants help to reduce the oxidative stress and inflammation in the body, thereby reducing the effect of many inflammatory diseases such as heart disease, metabolic syndrome, etc.
• Anti-arthritic effects: The antioxidant polyphenols found in virgin coconut oil help to relieve the symptoms of arthritis by reducing swelling pain and inflammation of the joints. Regular consumption of coconut oil helps to decrease the inflammatory markers.
• Improve liver health: Saturated fats found in coconut oil can help to protect the liver from damage from the toxins produced by the consumption of drugs and alcohol. Coconut oil has also been shown to increase beneficial liver enzymes. Consuming coconut oil early in the morning, an empty stomach leaves one energized. It helps to improve metabolism, check hunger and reduce appetite, thus helping to reduce weight.
How to use coconut oil mindfully
Coconut oil must be consumed in moderation as it contains saturated fats and may cause an increase in cholesterol levels. It is highly recommended that saturated fats must be limited to 7%- 10% of the total daily calorie intake as it can increase the risk of heart disease.
Regular consumption of coconut oil may cause problems for people who already have high levels of LDL or bad cholesterol. Due to its high content of saturated fatty acids, coconut oil is always classified with butter, palm oil and animal fats, as a source of saturated fats to be consumed in moderation.
It is important to note that coconut oil must be a part of the traditional diets, which are rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates, contain more fish, vegetables, and fruits, and are low in processed and refined foods. Choose to use virgin cold pressed coconut oil for maximum Benefit as it is the least processed and is more likely to offer health benefits.
Ms Sunita Roy Chowdhury, Senior Nutritionist, Dietician and Nutrition Educator
Healthynudgez and Guiding Stars Open Learning Academy,
Under the banner of SS Guiding Stars Pvt. Ltd.
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