Sri Lanka has acquired a name for itself in terms of coconut exports. Being a tropical country and an Island enables the successful cultivation of coconuts through the richness of its naturally produced fertilizers.
Therefore the term coconut oil does not sound strange, yet one might consider virgin coconut oil as a relatively new term.
In the case of virgin coconut oil, the raw materials and the process of extraction will not be subjected to any involvement of heat unlike ordinary coconut oil. Throughout the whole process, the utmost care is taken to ensure that the kernels and the raw material, i.e. the coconut milk, are not subjected to heat, virgin coconut oil is also extracted directly by cold compression of fresh dried coconut meat.
The global consumption of virgin coconut oil has increased tremendously, since it has a better taste and fragrance than the ordinary oil. It is also rich in protein vitamins, anti-oxidants and it has a longer shelf life which does not rancid easily.
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Rather than extracting the oil from coconut milk, the fresh coconut meat is dried by hot air to bring the moisture down from 50% to 10% or less. The dried coconut meat is then fed into a screw press where the oil is extracted. The pressed oil is normally heated to remove the remaining moisture. Currently most operators in Sri Lanka, Philippines, Indonesia and the Pacific Islands are following this process as it is the easiest way to produce fairly good oil. By virtue of the drying process for the coconut meat, this method can never be thought as absolutely no heat. “Cold Pressed” yes because no external heat is supplied to the press but friction within the pressing cage will raise the temperature automatically. The oil will have quite strong odor due to the heat generated in the pressing cage. Sometimes, to reduce the smell, a carbon filtration is necessary.
Of all of the ‘super foods’ in the market, coconut oil may just be the reigning champion of them all with an endless list of benefits. Organic Virgin Coconut Oil has positive effects for every system in the human body, many of which have been tested and confirmed by scientific research. From skin care and weight loss to hormone balance and mental activity, here we take a look at the top ten incredible benefits of coconut oil.
Unlike most other saturated fats, coconut oil is built primarily of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). These fats metabolize much differently than their long-chain cousins which are found in abundance in meat and dairy products. Digested MCTs are not stored as fat in the human body. Instead, they are transported directly to the liver where they are quickly converted into energy.
Consuming approximately two tablespoons of coconut oil every morning has been shown to increase energy levels by an average 5% in a twenty-four hour period!
Medium-chain triglyceride lauric acid makes up about 50% of the total fatty acid content of coconut oil and is the main ingredient that makes this oil so amazing. Amongst all of its other health benefits, lauric acid is a powerful anti-microbial;killing viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and fungi by dissolving their cellular walls. Adding a daily serving or two of coconut oil to your diet can increase your body’s resistance to illness, improve digestive health, and even help to heal ulcers of the stomach lining.
When digested, MCTs travel directly to the liver where they are synthesized into keytone bodies. These chemical compounds have a positive effect on several brain disorders, most notably – epilepsy & Alzheimer’s (the most common form of dementia.) High concentrations of keytone bodies in the blood have been shown to reduce seizures in children with drug-resistant epilepsy. Keytone bodies also provide an alternate source of energy for cells in the brain which have lost the ability to process glucose, one of the main causes of Alzheimer’s.
Keytone bodies formed by MCTs have the added benefit of reducing hunger and cravings. When eaten every day, a serving or two of coconut oil is a proven effective tool to help you feel full faster, avoid overeating, and helps you to snack less between meals.
Daily consumption of coconut oil has been shown to help with weight loss, particularly around the midsection. By regulating appetite and improving digestion, coconut oil can make it much easier to reduce your daily caloric intake and lose weight at a healthy rate (around one to two pounds per week.) Because it is a natural mood enhancer, coconut oil may help you to feel more motivated and energetic which can also assist with weight loss. Coconut oil aids in balancing hormones that reduce stress and anxiety – two of the leading causes of excessive belly fat.
Just remember that coconut oil is high in calories. Limit your intake to one or two tablespoons per day so as not to unwittingly sabotage your weight-loss efforts.
Disregard the old myth that all saturated fats are bad for you and a leading cause of heart disease. Coconut oil has been shown to improve overall cholesterol by simultaneously increasing HDL (good) and lowering LDL (bad) levels. It does this by helping the body to convert cholesterol in the blood stream into a usable form, thus reducing plaque build- up in arteries. MCT’s in coconut oil may also work to reduce triglycerides, improve blood coagulation, and perform antioxidant functions in the blood stream, further diminishing the risk of heart disease.
Full of antioxidant vitamin E, coconut oil is a wonderful natural moisturizer that can help to heal damaged skin, reduce signs of aging, strengthen the epidermis against cellulite, fade stretch marks, and eliminate kerotic pilaris. Coconut oil offers natural protection from harmful UV radiation. It can even be used to prevent or heal microbial and fungal skin infections such as those that cause or exacerbate cracked heels and acne. Apply organic virgin coconut oil directly to skin for a soothing therapeutic experience that also smells fantastic.
Just as it does for skin, coconut oil can also protect hair from sun damage and dehydration. Massage organic virgin coconut oil into scalp and work through hair before visiting the beach or swimming pool to shield skin and hair from harmful UV radiation and chemicals, and to seal in moisture. When used regularly, coconut oil can also work to reduce or eliminate dandruff and other scalp irritations. Remember, with coconut oil a little bit goes a long way. Use about a tablespoon at a time until you get a feel for exactly how much you will need to moisturize your scalp and hair.
When ingested, coconut oil helps the digestive tract to better absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. If you take supplements for these nutrients, consider washing them down with a tablespoon of organic virgin coconut oil. If the idea of swallowing a spoonful of oil makes you cringe, try using coconut oil in place of olive oil or butter when cooking or dressing your vitamin-rich veggies. The unique flavor pairs well with many leafy greens and because of coconut oil’s medium-chain structure, it won’t break down when exposed to heat. Coconut oil also makes a delicious addition to baked foods, smoothies, and desserts.
MCTs in coconut oil assist in the conversion of cholesterol into pregnenolone – one of the building blocks for synthesis of human hormones such as those responsible for healthy thyroid function. A daily serving of coconut oil can also help the body to use insulin more efficiently and stabilize blood-sugar levels.