Coconut Oil Benefits and Side Effects - 2019
Frequently Asked Questions
Copra and coconut oil are edible cooking ingredients used in many south east countries due to its abundance of healthy fats and fatty acids, health benefits, and practicality. Because it's so high in saturated fat and high in medium chain triglycerides, it's really slow to oxidize making it resistant to rancidification.
Virgin coconut oil is its most pure form. One coconut can yield between 200 to 300 ml of coconut oil. And it can last up to 6 months without going rancid.
The traditional way to extract coconut oil from coconuts is very simple. The process has recently been improved by manufacturers to automate the process even more.
They're gathered and then cracked open having the coconut water separated, and then grinding the meat out from the shell. The coconut meat is then put into a cheese cloth and squeezed to release all of the milk.
It's then filtered, poured into a bin and heated to around 350°F for up to an hour depending on the amount of milk being boiled. It's then cooked till the residues sink to the bottom and the coconut oil stay affloat.
Coconut oil is used in traditional south east Asian and Indian cuisines and cleaning products. The cleaning services in these countries cut the shells in half and begin wiping the furniture, floors, and walls with the coconut meat.
The food applications coconut milks and butters are mostly used in are curries, rice, chicken and beef sauces. These are also great vegan friendly options for thickening soups, sauces, and salad dressings.
Coconut oil is amazing for you, it's full of healthy saturated fats, medium chain triglycerides and fatty acids, with a small amount of good hdl cholesterol, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fats. These healthy fatty acids benefits the function of your brain, heart, kidneys, and other internal organs.
Coconut oil is fantastic for your hair in almost every case.
Although, it's dependant on your hair type. Since it can help retain the hair's natural protein, it can also cause brittle hair and damage in people with a thick or coarse head of hair.
If your hair is fine to average in thickness and shine, you're a perfect match. If you suffer from thick, dry, and brittle hair, use marula oil or argan oil since those are much better for moisturizing people with thicker hair types.
Break Down and Background
Coconut oil is made from fresh coconut meat called Copra, it's later dried then pressed to extract the milk and oil from the coconut, separating the two to get a final product.
Having a wonderful aroma and flavor profile, coconut oil a good and healthy choice for cooking or baking.
Its huge list of proven health benefits of coconut oil helps make it into the superfood category. The heart-healthy mcts help improve heart health, weight loss, as well as help with cognitive health and function.
The medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) found in coconut oil include Caprylic Acid, Lauric Acid, and Capric Acid have a ton of health benefits.
Over 60% of the fatty acids found in coconut oil are made up of MCFAs. It also has no trans fats.
It’s the 4rth most consumed oil in the states hovering around 403,500 Metric Tons of oil, trailing behind Soybean oil, Canola oil, and Palm oil who’s combined total consumption in 2017 sits at about 14,747,000 Metric Tons.
The USDAs national nutrient database shows that these MCFAs are some of the healthiest fats. This is because MCFAs are easy to digest and not directly stored as body fat.
Over 87% of the fat composition is saturated fat, which is a smaller molecule and is why it’s solid at room temperature, although it melts at 24° Celcius (74° Fahrenheit) which is just below core body temperature.
The top producers and exporters of coconut butter and oil around the world is Indonesia, the Philippines, and India making up just over 75% of all global exports totaling a combined total of around 455 million metric tons.
Followed suit by Brazil and Sri Lanka both combining into around 5 million tons.
That's a huge difference in the consumption of healthy vs unhealthy fats. That's because the low quality oils are full of trans fats and are heavily used by most fast food companies and manufacturers.
It’s mostly used by the health care products and cosmetic industries, along with the health conscious dieters. It's even used in many hand creams, moisturizers, body and hair care products, and sprays appealing to a wider range of people.
Full of Medium Chain Triglycerides and Fatty Acids
Medical advice from the American Heart Association (AHA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) both talk against the consumption of coconut oil because of its high in saturated fat and medium chain triglyceride levels.
Since it's a dense source of energy, coming from saturated fat and medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) you'd only need about a tablespoon of coconut oil to get all of its nutrition, which is about 130 calories and 14 grams of fat.
Using mct oil gives you positive health properties including the ability to help with weight loss, reduce bad cholesterol levels, and alleviating symptoms of yeast infections.
Soybean oil, Canola oil, Avocado oil, Seed oil, and Palm oils are the worst fats you can consume, especially since they're hydrogenated versions are found in almost all superstores.
Even buying them for home cooking is no better since they're smoking points are very low, which makes them easy to burn.
The American Heart Association and the public health advocates claim that these are better alternatives for improving your heart health. This is false and has been disproven in countless studies showing how hydrogenated vegetable oils are harmful to your health.
Refined vs Virgin vs Organic Coconut Oil?
It’s made in many different ways, regular refined coconut oil and its virgin counterpart both carrying different results, it's better to opt into the virgin coconut oil option. The actual difference between virgin and extra virgin coconut oil is nothing as the only difference is a play on their branding.
The real difference you should be thinking about is between refined versus the virgin alternative.
Made from Copra, which is the dried coconut kernel being pressed, extracting and refining the extracted oil. It's then bleached and deodorized to make it suitable for consumption; This would be the lower quality option since it’s lacking any levels of medium chain triglycerides.
These will be the ones that you'll usually find in major supermarkets and stores being relatively cheap, close enough to canola oil. Because of the Kernel having a tougher composition, the smoking point for refined coconut oil is at 400°F.
Virgin coconut oil's made by extracting oil from the coconut milk, then left unrefined. Since it's left closely to its natural state, it's color isn't as bright nor white as its refined counterpart.
Since the structure of coconut milk is more sensitive compared to the coconut kernel, the smoking point for organic virgin coconut oil sits at 350°F.
Coconut oil is regarded as being a top tier food product. The list of coconut oil applications can go on, from physical uses, cooking applications, to helping you lose weight. The negative health effects are relevant but controllable. Issues only come forth when you consume too much.
The biggest factor for the lack of availability is the price. When you're able to get canola oil for just over 1.50$ per liter compared to coconut butter and oil price average of 20$ per liter, it's easy to see why the difference in consumption is so massive.
It's always recommended to get the highest quality coconut oil that you can, a few great selling points on a good quality oil you should look for is having it be cold pressed, organic, virgin, and have no artificial preservatives or additives.
So how much coconut oil should you have a day? It depends on what else you’re eating throughout your day. If it's your only choice of cooking oil at home, then you have to substitute it for some other cooking oil and reduce your intake to about 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to no more than 3 tbsp's per day.
Coconut Oil Benefits
Coconut oil has a lot of amazing health benefits stemming from all of it’s healthy fats such as, saturated fat, lauric acid, unsaturated fats, and medium-chain fatty acids. These applications can range from physical body care applications, raising good hdl cholesterol, to internal organ health.
Eating coconut oil plain is alright if you're looking for the raw benefits, but you should keep your total consumption low since it's full of heart-healthy saturated fats.
It's gone through minimal processing before made into a final product. It's the most beneficial since it's cold pressed to extract all of its natural oils without the use of chemicals.
A refined coconut oil is a lower quality product that's been processed by bleaching and deodorizing the oil. It has usually been processed with high heats and chemical reactions to get a refined product, this kills a lot of its antioxidants.
The refining process takes away the taste and smell of coconut and makes the hardened oil have a thick white color, instead of a clear white.
1. Virgin Coconut Oil Improves Hair and Skin Health
It improves your physical attributes and body care maintenance. Applying it to your hair is great for proper hair health, it locks in moisture, keeps your hair soft, protects it against humidity, and boost your hair care arsenal due to it’s beneficial fatty acids.
This also increases shine because it penetrates the hair better than mineral oils.
Regularly using it on your hair and scalp on a weekly basis ensures that you stay dandruff free, regardless of chronic dryness. It also helps with keeping your head free of lice, a valuable skin care alternative.
Its antibacterial properties help fight against dry skin, eczema, and other fungal related issues like candida albicans (yeast infections). Also increases and enhances our outer skin cell health and helps reduce inflammation.
2. Helps You Lose Weight and Increased Metabolism
It'll also help by burning fat by increasing your basal metabolic rate (BMR) by removing excess stress on your pancreas since it's much easier to digest than conventional cooking oils. This helps you burn off more calories and belly fat, all of which helps you lose weight.
The healthy fatty acid levels help minimize the severity of many common skin conditions such as dryness, eczema, dandruff, and dermatitis. It can reduce all forms of bloating and clogging while moisturizing the affected area.
The balance of medium chain fatty acids can also aid to control blood sugar levels by improving your insulin sensitivity which will reduce your insulin resistance.
The antioxidants also help with reducing stress, reducing cortisol (stress hormone) levels can aid by further balancing your blood sugar and maximizes the belly fat burning hormonal effects.
3. Helps Maintain Oral Health and Can Whiten Teeth
Research shows that oil pulling using coconut oil is your best option for maximizing the health benefits. The antimicrobial effects of its MCFAs help stick and neutralize the bacteria in your mouth. This helps heal your gums, repair tooth decay and damage.
Removing excess bacteria around your mouth can start to whiten your teeth and decreases your risk of gingivitis, gum disease, cavities, and even oral cancer. It's recommended oil pulling using coconut oil around 2-3 times a week, swishing the oil around your mouth for between 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Reduces LDL and Increases HDL Cholesterol Levels
A study and research paper at Harvard Medical School states that the healthy fats found in coconut oil help raise the levels of good HDL cholesterol in your blood and decreases LDL cholesterol, this is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular risk factors.
Which is also proven by the vast amounts of regions who thrive on having a diet rich in coconut oil. Studies show that they have great health with a very low risk of heart disease, complications, fats and cardiovascular disease risk factors.
There are high levels of medium-chain triglycerides found in extra virgin coconut oil. These are much easier to burn for energy compared to long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) and more difficult for your body to store it as fat.
5. Strengthens Your Immune System
There are many different fatty acids that have many health benefits and help boost your immune system, such as Antimicrobial Lipids, Capric Acid, Caprylic Acid, and Lauric Acid.
They're all used for antifungal, antibiotic, and anti-aging. Similar to healthy remedies and detoxes, coconut oil also helps with clearing up your digestive tract and can prevent any digestive issues.
It's saturated fats help coat your digestive tract and clear up any bacteria or fungi that can hurt your digestive system. This benefits and improves your digestion by increasing absorption rates of vitamins, essential minerals, and amino acids.
The fats help you absorb fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, K, as well as Calcium and Magnesium.
6. Helps Prevent The Risk Of Alzheimer’s Disease
There are countless studies pointing to the positive effects of consuming coconut oil and it helping patients with Alzheimer's disease. The healthy ketones released to your brain cells help with improving memory and reduce the rate of calcification of the brain.
The brains in patients with Alzheimer's can't produce insulin to properly use glucose for energy, functions, or repairs. Ketones don't require insulin to be metabolized which serves as a powerful energy source for the brain to help reduce damages.
7. Detoxifies and Cleans Your Liver and Kidneys
Coconuts' antibacterial properties help detoxify and clean your liver, which reduces your risk of contracting types of fatty liver disease, also called Hepatosteatosis. The healthy fatty acids in coconut oil also help coat the liver and protect it from being damaged.
The MCFAs act as a natural antibiotic which fights bacteria, and destroys their protective lipid barrier. The lauric acid is the leading factor for it’s antiviral, antioxidant, and antifungal properties.
Most diseases are caused by the overgrowth of harmful bacteria and viruses, lauric acid makes your digestive system a hostile environment for bad bacteria growth. Lauric acid has also been shown to have anti-cancer results by triggering apoptotic and an anti proliferation effect in cancer cells.
Even the coconut water helps hydrate and clean your kidneys. It helps flush away bacteria and can even help unlodge kidney stones. The antioxidants found in coconut oil can reduce inflammation and minimize Arthritis symptoms.
The MCFAs ingest and kill the membrane walls of bacteria, including Helicobacter Pylori, a bacteria that's been proven to increase your risk of stomach cancer.
8. The Unsaturated Fatty Acids May Reduce Seizures
The Keto diet has a wide range of benefits, most of it which comes from the use of ketones instead of glucose as your main energy source. There is ongoing research being done on ketones to very the health benefits and it’s effect on mitigating many disorders.
Coconut Oil Side Effects and Detriments
The coconut oil side effects vary based on your diet, it has high levels of harmful LDL and good HDL cholesterol, this can still be troubling to people who already have a high amounts of good cholesterol, as well.
However, if you suffer from too much bad cholesterol in your blood, consuming a product that's too high in good HDL cholesterol can still be a cause for concern.
Your total cholesterol will be so high that it can start to cause harm. At this point, it's best to confirm with your physician or nutritionist if you should include any into your daily diet.
Another common downfall to pay attention to if you're regularly using coconut oil into your diet for the first time, you might get diarrhea. Because coconut oil acts as a detox for your digestive tract, killing all the bad bacteria can be sent out in waves of diarrhea.
This is only temporary and fades away after the first few days, foods containing hemp oil have similar results.
Coconut oil's high level of saturated fats shouldn't be something to overlook. You should look to take in about 1-3 tsp per day. Any more and you'd be very close to passing over your daily limit.
3 tsp would be around 60% of your daily limit, which is more than enough considering you'll be filling that gap with other foods throughout the day.
Make sure you check to make sure you have no allergies with it comes to Coconut Oil, it's best to test both. The safest and most efficient way to go about testing allergic reactions is to apply it to your skin. This is only recommended if you're not at all able to clinically verify your allergies.
Do not ingest the oil. First, apply a fingernail-sized drop of oil on your skin, let it sit for 30 seconds and then wipe it off. Check the applied area consistently, if 30 minutes have passed and no reaction occurred, you should now test it orally under the supervision of a pediatrician.
Only test your allergy orally under medical supervision.
Rating and Recommendation
Going through the core proven health benefits of coconut oil, we can see that it's physical healing properties outweigh the negative effects in the majority of cases.
If buying oil is out of your budget but you still want to have coconut be a part of your diet? You can go for coconut flour instead, offering most of the positives listed above. Coconut flour is relatively cheap, it’s low in carbs, loaded with fiber, fat, and protein sitting at around 1 to 1.3$ per 100 grams.
It's safe to say that we give coconut oil a very high rating, it's highly recommended to have some regular consumption and usage of coconut oil.
These antibacterial and antifungal properties are great for cleaning up your digestive system as well as helping regulate your hunger and helping you lose weight.
Think of it as a detox, it cleans your body, paired with virgin olive oil consumption which is rich in nutrients, is the best combination to keep your body functioning at it's highest potential.
If you're not sure where's the best place to buy coconut oil, amazon has some good variety of products. We recommend the virgin variance of coconut oil.
Virgin coconut oil's smoke point is 204°C (350°F) and Refined coconut oil's smoke point is 205°C (400°F).
14. Eur J Clin Nutr. (1996 March 03) Twenty-four-hour energy expenditure and urinary catecholamines of humans consuming low-to-moderate amounts of medium-chain triglycerides: a dose-response study in a human respiratory chamber.
|Amount Per Serving|
|Calories 884||Calories from Fat 884|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 100 g||154 %|
|Saturated Fat 87 g||435 %|
|Polyunsaturated fat 1.8 g|
|Monounsaturated fat 6 g|
|Trans Fat 0 g|
|Cholesterol 0 mg||0 %|
|Sodium 0 mg||0 %|
|Potassium 0 mg||0 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 0 g||0 %|
|Dietary Fiber 0 g||0 %|
|Sugars 0 g|
|Protein 0 g|
|Vitamin A 0 %||Vitamin C 0 %|
|Vitamin E 0 %||Vitamin K 0 %|
|Calcium 0 %||Iron 0 %|
Calories per gram:
Fat: 9 | Carbohydrate: 4 | Protein: 4