Unlike many fats, saturated fats in coconut oil are classified according to their molecular chains. They are classified into two types: medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) and long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs), which have fourteen to eighteen carbon atoms. MCFAs are more water-soluble and easily digested than their long-chain counterparts. These two types are considered healthy fats.
Both lauric acid and capric acid are found in coconut oil and have antimicrobial properties. In fact, they make up 50% of the lipid in coconut oil. Both fatty acids have antibiotic and antiviral effects, and they help to treat various skin disorders. However, coconut oil is especially effective against lipid-coated viruses, making it a great candidate for oral health. Among other benefits, coconut oil has anti-bacterial, antifungal, and antibacterial properties.
As an antimicrobial, coconut oil stimulates the immune system and aids in activating the anti-inflammatory response. It can be used as a replacement for grains and sugars that feed bad bacteria in the body. Some research suggests that coconut oil may be effective in treating head lice, which are spread on the scalp and can cause rashes and itching. Further, it may reduce the loss of protein in the hair, which improves hair’s health.
Research suggests that medium-chained fatty acids in coconut oil may help regulate insulin reactions in the body. The coconut oil MCFAs help balance insulin levels in cells, promoting digestion and providing consistent energy. Coconut oil may even help prevent the development of type II diabetes. However, these findings are not conclusive. People with Type II diabetes should treat coconut oil just like any other saturated fat. Limit its intake and consume foods with more unsaturated fats instead.
Although coconut oil does have health benefits, there is no proof to suggest that it is the only food you should consume. Compared to other fats, coconut oil contains traces of vitamins and minerals. It also contains plant sterols that mimic the cholesterol found in the blood. They may be able to block cholesterol absorption in the body. However, this effect is not yet proven and is based on epidemiological studies on people from Samoa, the Philippines, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea.
The process of extracting coconut oil makes it a versatile fat, with industrial uses as varied as soaps, glycerin, and synthetic rubber. It is also used in food preparations and is highly refined, making it a valuable source of healthy fats. Its high smoke point also makes it ideal for frying. Moreover, it is good for the skin. The benefits of coconut oil are far reaching. And its versatility makes it an excellent choice for all skin types.
To extract coconut oil from coconut meat, a process known as malaxing is used. The temperature is optimum at forty to fifty degrees Celsius, and the duration of malaxing is about 60 minutes. The oil fraction is extracted from the paste by applying a protease enzyme, and the coconut oil yield increases significantly. Coconut oil is white, with a pleasant odor. The process is relatively simple and doesn’t require any expensive equipment.