Virgin coconut oil: Lifeline of health
Coconut is not a nut but a drupe. And coconut oil whose popularity has skyrocketed in recent years is extracted from the kernel of a mature coconut.
It is blended with some indispensable nutrients that are linked to many amazing health benefits. Many studies have proved the innumerable health benefits of this superfood.
It is highly versatile and is used in a plethora of alluring recipes.
Coconut oil is broadly classified into two branches based on the method of extraction employed:
- Unrefined oil or virgin oil
- Refined oil
What is virgin coconut oil?
Virgin coconut oil is extracted by cold pressing. It is simply a type of oil extracted from coconut milk without bleaching, deodorizing, or refining. It is cent per cent natural and unbleached.
VCO is widely popular because of its pleasant aroma, alluring taste, and indispensable antioxidants, healthy fatty acids, and other potent vitamins that are linked to a plethora of health benefits.
What is extra virgin coconut oil?
There is no difference between extra virgin coconut oil and virgin coconut oil as stated by the USDA. The extra virgin coconut oil is also an unrefined oil that is extracted through cold pressing.
What is special about virgin coconut oil?
The virgin coconut oil or extra virgin coconut oil is extracted from the fresh coconut milk which then undergoes several processes such as fermentation, churning, and refrigeration.
The glaring fact about the extraction is that no heat should be employed in this process. Hence it is potent to take care that the kernel of the coconut is not being exposed to sunlight during the complete process.
The combination of fatty acids and antioxidants that are linked to amazing health benefits like fat loss, healthy heart, and optimized nerve function make virgin coconut oil special.
Virgin Coconut Oil Nutrition facts
The following table illustrates the nutritional fact per teaspoon of virgin coconut oil:
Virgin coconut oil vs Refined coconut oil vs Olive oil
Both virgin and refined coconut oil have the same nutritional value.
The primary difference between VCO and refined oil is of the aroma.
Virgin coconut is blended with coconut flavour and scent while refined coconut oil has neutral scent and flavour. The smoking point of VCO is a tad low than refined oil. Virgin coconut oil is derived from fresh coconuts while refined coconut oil is derived from dried coconuts.
Olive oil tops the chart when compared to coconut oil. It boasts more share of unsaturated fatty acids than virgin coconut oil which is linked to good cholesterol. Moreover, coconut oil also holds saturated fats which can trigger ill effects in the body and leads to a surge in bad cholesterol levels.
Also, since olive oil is a popular Mediterranean diet ingredient, it is considered good for the heart and reduces the risk of cancers, diabetes and promotes weight loss.
- Rice Bran Oil Nutrition & 7 Amazing Health Benefits
- Paneer Nutrition & 7 Best Health Benefits
- Curry leaves Nutrition & 7 Surprising Health Benefits
Do you know?
One of the obscure facts about this superfood is that it boasts a good amount of lauric acid. This lauric acid turns to monolaurin inside the body which destroys the lipid layers of viruses like HIV, influenza, or hepatitis.
Moreover, VCO also hosts 6% of capric acid which transforms into monocaprin in the body that can fight against sexual diseases.
One tablespoon of virgin coconut oil boasts around 120 calories of energy. The fat imbued in virgin coconut oil quickly gets converted into energy hence it acts as a catalyst for an energetic lifestyle.
VCO boasts three types of fats:
- Saturated fat
- Unsaturated fat
- Other derivatives
Saturated fat: This type of fat is notorious as it raises bad cholesterol levels and adversely hampers heart health. Also, many health experts believe that our daily diet should not host more than 10% of saturated fats. But the saturated fats in virgin oil is a completely different ball game. As the structure of saturated fat is different, it stimulates the elevation of HDL. Also, it digests well into the system.
Unsaturated fat: Virgin coconut oil boasts a good share of monounsaturated fatty acid and polyunsaturated fatty acid. The unsaturated fats help to scale down the bad cholesterol level and stimulate good cholesterol in the body. Hence it is advised to incorporate unsaturated fat in our regular diet.
Other derivatives: Virgin coconut oil holds several other derivatives of fat such as betaines, ethanolamine, ethoxylates, fatty esters, fatty polysorbates, monoglycerides, and polyol esters.
Vitamins and minerals
Virgin coconut oil is not a rich source of vitamins and minerals. It contains a good iron content which acts as an oxygen carrier to cells. It also holds an infinitesimal amount of vitamin K which is linked to blood clotting and vitamin E which acts as an antioxidant.
The fame of Virgin coconut oil
This versatile oil is incorporated in a wide array of recipes because of its sweet taste and amazing health benefits.
Some of the alluring recipes fried in VCO are:
- Carrot cake granola
- Crispy coconut waffles
- Peach yoghurt muffins
- Sesame Shrimp stir-fry
- Lemon coconut crumb bars
How to use virgin coconut oil?
Apart from an extensive range of cooking applications virgin coconut oil is also used for skin and hair care.
It is blended with anti-ageing, anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties which are linked to healthy and blemish-free skin. Its efficacy is well proven against dry skin and also aids in rejuvenating dead cells leading to a brighter skin tone. It also stimulates the speedy recovery of wounds and heals burns.
Virgin coconut oil promotes bouncy and thick hair. It has the property to penetrate deep into the scalps and avert hair ailments such as dandruff. It also acts as a hair conditioner and promotes hair growth.
7 Superb Health Benefits of Virgin Coconut Oil
1. Stress relief
Virgin coconut oil is loaded with the antioxidant property which is linked to mental placidness. It is blended with aromatherapy which averts fatigue and eases stress. Thus, the gentle massage of virgin coconut oil can help in stress relief.
2. Promotes strong bones
VCO stimulates the absorption of indispensable minerals like calcium and magnesium, vital for bone development. Thus, it is vital to fight against osteoporosis.
3. Fosters good cholesterol
This heart-friendly oil boasts a fair share of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids which promotes HDL cholesterol. According to the study of Harvard Medical School, it promotes heart health.
4. Helps to lose weight
The combined study conducted by Oklahoma state university and Louisiana state university alluded that VCO enhances the metabolic rate by cutting down the stress on the pancreas and thus aids in weight loss. Also, it is easy to digest oil as compared to other cooking oils.
5. Good for the fight against diabetes
Virgin coconut oil is low in GI as compared to other edible oils. It fosters the secretion of insulin and aids in flattening the blood sugar spikes. Thus, it is a good alternative for diabetic patients.
6. Boosts digestive health
Virgin oil boasts antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal properties which are linked to good gut health. The potent properties imbued in virgin coconut oil avert various bacteria, fungi, and parasites from damaging guts.
7. Promotes healthy teeth
As we know, oil pulling can be beneficial against plaque and halitosis (bad breath). The oil pulling with virgin coconut oil can obliterate plaque formation linked to gingivitis (inflammation of gums).
Virgin coconut oil: FAQs
- Q: How to know if virgin coconut oil is spoiled?
- A: You can easily recognize the spoiled virgin coconut oil with its aroma and taste. Naturally, it has a coconut-like aroma and sweet taste. If you notice a sour or strong smell and the taste is also off then chances are that it has turned rancid.
- Q: Is virgin coconut oil good for cooking?
- A: VCO is preferable for medium-heat cooking, It can be used for baking as well as saute but it should only be used at low temperatures. VCO is mostly desired for its neutral flavour while cooking.
- Q: Should I refrigerate virgin coconut oil?
- A: Virgin coconut oil has a longer shelf life and does not require any special storage equipment. So it can be kept unrefrigerated or refrigerated, depends on your need.
- Q: Could you have allergies with virgin coconut oil?
- A: Coconut is a drupe like almonds, walnuts, or pecans but still can trigger allergies in some individuals.
Does virgin coconut oil have any side-effects?
Virgin coconut oil hosts saturated fatty acids which are linked to bad cholesterol. These fatty acids elevate the cholesterol levels which can increase the risk of heart-related ailments. Thus, large incorporation of this oil in our diet can adversely hamper heart health.
It may also trigger skin allergies in some individuals. So, it is advised to consult your dermatologist before adding it to your skincare accessories.
Virgin coconut oil: All in all
Alright, I am elated that you make it to the end.
Here we have discussed a wide array of piquant qualities of virgin coconut oil ranging from its indispensable nutrition to its amazing health benefits. We have also seen the alluring applications it fosters and the ill effects it might produce.
So, to wrap up I would say, use this superfood optimally to gain maximum health benefits. And don’t forget to keep a jar of coconut oil in your bathroom for its oil pulling benefits too.
Also, if you find this article useful or have any suggestion for us, you can drop a comment below.
Stay healthy, Stay lively.