What is coconut oil?
Coconut oil is an edible oil extracted from coconut and has several applications. It can be used both in the diet, as well as in aesthetic treatments for hair or skin. It is essentially composed of saturated fats, or medium chain triglycerides (TCM).
The advantage of these triglycerides is that they are more easily absorbed by the body, especially in the liver, being quickly converted into energy and not accumulating in the form of fat.
Basically, there are two types of coconut oil: extra virgin and refined. The refined is made with dry coconut, while the extra virgin is produced using fresh coconut.
Normally, this oil is found in a liquid state at high temperatures, only becoming solid and white when subjected to temperatures below 25ºC.
It is a very controversial food. While a considerable number of experts do not recommend using the product, a large number of people are still talking about its health benefits.
It is precisely because it is so controversial that coconut oil attracts attention. So, to clarify doubts and clarify the facts, Hickey solution made a selection with the myths, truths and uses of coconut oil on a daily basis. Enjoy!
The difference between the three lies in both their characteristics and their recommended use.
However, there is no official body that defines the difference between virgin and extra virgin coconut oil. But that does not prevent brands from having products with these designations. In these cases, companies use their own criteria to categorize their products.
However, in general, the main Brazilian brands use depeliculation as a criterion to differentiate their extra-virgin coconut oil from that labeled as virgin.
Basically, the oil obtained from the pulp (the “white meat”) still covered by an external film called the endocarp is called virgin oil, while the extra-virgin oil is that obtained by the completely dehulled pulp.
Refined coconut oil, on the other hand, is obtained through the pulp left to dry under ambient conditions, which, due to the presence of contaminants, had to undergo a process of refinement, bleaching and deodorization.
It differs from other oils on the market in that it does not contain the words “pure”, “natural”, “virgin” or “extra virgin” on its packaging.
But the main difference from the refined version to the others is in its use. It has a higher smoke point, which is important when using oil for frying or for sautéing food, since the higher the smoke point, the less harm to health the product does.
The virgin and extra virgin versions, on the other hand, are intended for other uses, such as in the industrial production of biscuits, pasta, breads and cakes and in the manufacture of bases for shampoos and conditioners.
Check the differences in the table below:
|Extravirgem||Translucent color, flavor and aroma of the fruit||Health, cuisine and aesthetics|
|Virgin||Yellowish color, flavor and aroma of the fruit||Industrial production of food and cosmetics|
|Refined||Normally colorless, with no flavor or aroma||High temperature cooking, frying and sautéing|
Although controversial and controversial, coconut oil does have some scientifically proven benefits, both for health and for aesthetics. Check out:
Helps in hair loss
Coconut oil has been used since ancient times in India to treat hair. Many organic remedies were prepared with a mixture of medicinal herbs and coconut oil to prevent hair loss.
Applying a mixture of lemon juice and coconut oil to the hair can provide relief for hair loss, as well as a mixture of coconut oil and blackcurrant.
Penetrates the hair shaft
For those who need moisture in their hair, coconut oil is quite an ally. This is because most oils do not penetrate the hair shaft and act only on the surface. The opposite is true with coconut oil: it penetrates the hair deeply, promoting high levels of hydration.
Softens dry hair
Dry hair is “harder” and does not have a natural movement. They find it difficult to realign themselves and always look “creepy”.
Hair like that needs softness. And it is at this moment that coconut oil comes into action: its moisturizing power acts on the threads providing that silky aspect that we see a lot in commercials and shampoo advertisements.
Seals the scales of the threads
Coconut oil wraps the hair with a protective layer, protecting it from external agents and moisture, improving frizz and protecting hair. In addition, it improves the appearance of split ends.
Provides shine to the wires
Exactly for penetrating and sealing the threads, coconut oil provides shine and vitality to the hair by making the scales close and aligned.
Improves blood circulation
By massaging coconut oil over the scalp, the supply of oxygen to that region is improved and, consequently, the supply of nutrients to the hair.
This aspect makes coconut oil a great option for those who want to invest in hair growth.
The natural antioxidants and nutrients found in coconut oil deliver resources to improve hair activity and shine. It has high levels of vitamin E , K, iron and can help treat dandruff by boosting hair growth.
It is worth remembering that the excessive use of the product on the hair can cause the opposite effect, further increasing the symptoms of dandruff. Think carefully before doing any kind of treatment.
Using coconut oil in combination with the dye applied to the hair can be a way to make the tone “stick” better on the strands.
As it penetrates deeper into the hair more easily than industrial products , when mixed with a dye, it will adhere better to the strands and take longer to fade.
For the skin
Coconut oil can replace your moisturizer, or be used in conjunction with it. This is because, as in hair, the product has strong penetration into the skin, reaching even the deepest layers of the skin, which facilitates its absorption.
In addition, it is still rich in vitamins , minerals and has anti-inflammatory action!
Prevents and improves skin marks
Thanks to its lightening and antioxidant properties, the product can be used to soften scars, skin blemishes and stretch marks .
When coconut oil is massaged in the affected regions, it fights free radicals and nourishes damaged skin, evens skin tone through the cell renewal process and enhances its elasticity.
It can serve as an exfoliator
In addition to its fatty acids, which act as cell renewers, the action of coconut oil can be enhanced when mixed with sugar, cornmeal or even oats!
Combate a acne
It seems crazy to apply a greasy oil on the face to get rid of pimples, doesn’t it? However, despite being counterintuitive, the fact is that coconut oil contains large amounts of lauric acid, which can help with inflammation and redness caused by acne .
Can act as makeup remover
Coconut oil masterfully dissolves even waterproof makeup, with the benefit of not harming or drying the skin. This is very good, especially for people with more sensitive skin, who usually suffer from stinging when using regular makeup cleansers.
Can serve as a soothing after sun lotion
Thanks to its soothing and soothing properties, coconut oil is an excellent after sun option! In addition to preventing the dryness that peels the skin, the product prolongs the tan, in addition to helping to reduce the burning of sunburn.
Constipation, also known as constipation , usually occurs when you do not eat foods rich in fiber, such as fruits and vegetables, when you do not drink adequate amounts of water and when you do not exercise regularly.
Not only that, but using certain types of drugs, go through situations of stress or major changes in lifestyle can cause this problem as well.
Laxatives may seem like the best way to get rid of constipation, but the inappropriate use of these products can bring harm such as irritable bowel syndrome and other problems.
However, there are some alternative treatments that can take place. One of them is through the ingestion of coconut oil!
Coconut oil can have some laxative effects and help to soften the stool, helping you to prevent problems such as hemorrhoids, which happen when you “force” the intestinal muscles too much when defecating.
This is because coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids, which work by stimulating the cells that form your colon and digestive tracts, increasing your energy and metabolic efficiency.
In this way, not only does their absorption of nutrients increase, but bowel movement also works more efficiently, causing faeces to move through the intestines at a normal (or higher) rate.
In addition, the presence of large amounts of lauric acid favors healthy intestinal flora and helps to form a healthier and easier to expel fecal cake, thus providing a smooth, often healthy and uncomfortable bowel movement.
In the hair
One of the most suitable ways to use coconut oil is to moisten it. In this case, the oil helps to restore the lipid layer of the hair, which is moistened, nourished and shiny, helping to improve the texture, especially of curly and afro hair.
The walkthrough is very simple:
- Use the product on dry hair: without using any heat source, such as a hairdryer or applying hot oil;
- Apply from length to ends: avoid the scalp area so as not to leave it oily. Of a break time of approximately 4 hours;
- Wash your hair: use a conditioner with low pH, between 3.5 and 4.5 before shampoo .
You can choose to moisten at night, since, due to its density, coconut oil has a slow absorption speed. Doing the moistening at night, the oil will stay longer in the hair and its effect will be enhanced.
In a hydration
Coconut oil moisturizes the hair and restores shine to the strands. When a hair is very opaque, the product is a great option.
To make use, just apply coconut oil directly on the length of the hair, letting it act for a few minutes and then washing it normally.
As a hydration or nutrition mask
One of the ways to use coconut oil is to mix it with the traditional mask . To do this, mix an amount of mask equivalent to the size of a walnut with 1 teaspoon of the oil. Then just apply to the hair before washing and wait for a few minutes. To finish, wash as usual.
It is also possible to make homemade masks using only natural ingredients! Check out:
- Honey and Aloe Vera Mask: mix 3 tablespoons of coconut oil with 5 tablespoons of aloe gel and 3 tablespoons of honey;
- Banana and Avocado Mask: mix 3 tablespoons of coconut oil with 1 of mayonnaise and 1 banana and ½ avocado;
- Olive Oil Mask: mix 4 tablespoons of coconut oil with 4 more of olive oil.
To use these natural masks, apply them to damp hair, freshly dried with a towel, and let the formula work for 20 to 25 minutes. After treatment, wash your hair again to make sure that no residue is left on the strands.
To enhance the effects of the mask, it is legal to use a thermal cap or a heated wet towel, as they will help increase the moisturizing effect.
To treat the tips
Coconut oil can be used to treat the ends of hair, which are naturally dry.
To do this, apply more or less ½ tablespoon of the oil only on the tip of the hair. Leave on for 15 to 20 minutes before bathing and then wash as normal.
In the skin
As a facial moisturizer
Wash your face as normal and exfoliate. With clean skin, apply coconut oil, especially to areas that are most dry. Rub the oil in a gentle circular motion.
This type of treatment is especially suitable for people with dry skin.
To soften the lips
It is possible to use coconut oil as a lip moisturizer, as long as it is not refined. The product helps to prevent and remedy the cracks that appear on the lips, especially during the winter.
With the continuous and prolonged use of the product, the lips gradually become softer. Since the oil is edible, there is no problem if you end up ingesting it.
As a body moisturizer
Use coconut oil after a hot shower, when the pores are open, facilitating the absorption of nutrients by the skin.
Use the following proportion of coconut oil, considering tablespoons:
- 1 spoon for the arms;
- 2 spoons for the legs;
- 1 spoon for the trunk.
Apply to the skin and wait 15 minutes for the oil to be properly absorbed.
Under clean skin, apply a few drops of coconut oil every day. Over time, you will notice that the scar will start to disappear!
As makeup remover
Spread coconut oil over your skin, massaging around your eyes if you have put on too much makeup. Let it sit for a few seconds, until everything dissolves.
Then use a tissue or cotton pad to remove the oil. The makeup will come out with him.
Finally, wash your face, and you’re done! Goodbye, makeup!
If any oil residue remains, massage it on the skin to enjoy its benefits.
Unlike shaving creams, coconut oil is a natural cream that does not contain as many chemicals. It is a natural option that moisturizes and conditions the skin while providing a smooth cut.
There is no secret to using it. Just use the same normal techniques of shaving and waxing, that is, preferably after a bath or hot shower, so that the pores are open, and use a sharp blade, rinsing it between each stride.
Coconut oil is a very nutritious food and can be used in food as a lactose-free substitute for butter, for example. It can also be taken in concentrated capsules, so that its effects are felt more intensely.
Because it has a good absorption and a wide variety of nutrients, coconut oil ends up being a good option to help, for example, improve the intestine.
The recommended daily intake by nutritionists is a maximum of 30g (3 tablespoons) a day. For those who are not used to it, the doses should be lower (10g or 20g per day).
However, it is worth remembering that the product, especially with regard to food, does not have all its benefits proven, and its use is not recommended by official bodies such as Abran (Brazilian Association of Nutrology). Therefore, before adopting a diet rich in coconut oil, consult a doctor or nutritionist.
|Amount per serving (13mL or 1 tablespoon)||% VD *|
|Energetic value||110kcal = 426kJ||6%|
* Daily Reference Values based on a 2,000kcal or 8,400kJ diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your needs.
**% DV not established
Fatty acid composition
|C 6:0 Capróico||0,38|
|C 8: 0 Caprílico||5,56|
|C 10:0 Cáprico||4,99|
|C 12:0 Láurico||45,78|
|C 14: 0 Myristic||18,56|
|C 16: 0 Palmitic||8,85|
|C 18: 0 Stearic||3,39|
|C 18: 1 omega 9 oleic||5,65|
|C 18: 2 Omega 6 linoleic||0,94|
Coconut oil can be taken in capsules. It is usually recommended to consume 2 to 4 capsules of 1g per day, which should be taken before the main meals.
To sauté food
It is possible to use coconut oil to sauté other spices, such as garlic and onions, in the preparation of meals, such as meats and chickens, for example. Just use it as a substitute for ordinary oil.
It is also possible to use coconut oil to grill meat in general, such as hamburgers, chickens, fish and any other food that needs to go to the grill to be consumed.
As a substitute for butter or margarine
Vegans, people who are lactose intolerant or just want to consume less butter can use coconut oil as a substitute for butter in recipes.
The proportion used is more or less 1 to 1. The recommended, however, is to use more or less 25% less than the amount of butter.
To water salads
Coconut oil can be used to replace extra virgin olive oil and soy oil when seasoning salads.
For preparing recipes
Because of its enormous versatility, coconut oil can be used in many ways in the kitchen. You can mix it with other foods, such as cooked oats, wheat flour, pancakes, among others, without changing the characteristic flavor of these foods.
The coconut oil found in the markets is very expensive, which makes it, for many people, inaccessible. But do not worry! You can still take advantage of the benefits of coconut oil without spending a lot of money. Just prepare it at home.
There are 3 different ways to make homemade coconut oil. They are simple and easy methods to be applied, making sure you don’t miss out on anything, in addition to testing some of your cooking skills!
It is worth remembering that, in the 3 methods, you should use dry or ripe coconut, instead of green coconut.
“Wet mill” method
You will need:
- 1 fresh ripe coconut;
- 1 hammer or cutelo;
- 1 sharp trimming knife or 1 sturdy spoon;
- 1 food processor (blender);
- 1 coffee filter or cloth;
- 1 wide-mouthed glass jar.
1. Remove the water from the coconut
The coconut has three round “marquinhas” in its shell. First, find the softest mark and prick it with a knife. Through this hole, you will be able to remove all the coconut water and place it in a separate container.
2. Open the coconut
Opening the coconut is very simple. You just need a hammer and a little patience.
Beat the hammer gently in the middle of the coconut. Rotate the fruit in your hand and tap the skin evenly, following the same imaginary line. After a sufficient number of strokes, the coconut will open naturally, dividing into two uniform pieces.
You can also use a sharp cleaver to open the coconut, always taking care not to cut yourself.
3. Separate the meat from the coconut
Use a sharp knife or sturdy spoon to scrape all the flesh from the coconut shell. Separate the material for later use. Then cut all the material obtained into small pieces to facilitate its processing.
4. Use the blender
Place the small pieces that you separated into the blender and turn the appliance on at medium speed, beating the coconut until it is well chopped.
If necessary, add a little water to help mix it better.
5. Filter the coconut milk
Place a coffee or cloth filter over a wide-mouthed jar (you can also use a dish towel). Pour a small amount of the coconut mixture onto the cloth. Wrap the cloth around the mixture and squeeze the coconut milk into the jar.
6. Allow the oil to settle
With the jar uncapped, let the milk you just expressed rest for 24 hours. As it settles, the coconut milk and oil will separate from each other and a curdled layer will appear at the top of the bottle.
If you want, you can also refrigerate the jar so that the curds harden more quickly. Otherwise, leave the bottle in an empty room.
7. Remove the curd
With a spoon, remove the curd from the top of the jar and discard it. Virgin coconut oil is what should be left in the jar.
Cold Process Method
You will need:
- 1 food dehydrator;
- 1 juicer.
1. Use dry or dehydrated coconut
You can buy unsweetened dry coconut flakes at your store of choice, making sure that the only ingredient the package contains is coconut. If you want to start with fresh coconut meat, cut it into pieces, as in the Moist Mill Method, and use a dehydrator to dry it over 24 hours.
To dehydrate the fresh coconut, you can use the oven at low temperature. Place the cut pieces of coconut meat on a baking sheet and cook at low temperature for 8 hours or until completely dry.
Ah! If you are using store-bought coconut, try to use flakes instead of the grated coconut, as it tends to hinder later steps.
2. Put the coconut in the Juicer
Process the dried coconut in small quantities. If you use very large quantities, you risk clogging your Juicer.
The Juicer will remove the oil and cream from the fiber. Continue processing the coconut until all the flakes have been processed.
3. Process the coconut again
Yes, it is a repetitive task. However, the Juicer will not be able to extract all the oil the first time. Therefore, process the flakes once more to ensure every last drop of oil.
4. Put the coconut oil in a jar
The remaining oil, which is left over from processing, should be placed in a glass jar and kept in a warm place. Wait 24 hours for the coconut cream to settle to the bottom of the jar. Pure coconut oil will rise to the top.
5. Separate the oil
Once the oil has separated from the cream and solidified, use a spoon to remove it from the first container and put it in a new one. Now, it is ready to use.
You will need:
- Fine mesh sieve.
1. Heat 4 cups of water
Place the water in a saucepan and bring it to the stove over medium heat until the water starts to evaporate.
2. Rale to meat of 2 coconuts
As exemplified in the Moist Mill Method, open two coconuts and remove the meat from the shell completely with the help of a knife or resistant spoon. Then, grate the meat in a bowl.
3. Mix the coconut and water
Place the grated coconut in a blender and mix it with the hot water, pouring it over the coconut and closing the lid of the blender right after. Hold the lid of the appliance in place and beat the ingredients until they form a homogeneous mixture.
Do not fill more than half of the blender with hot water. If yours is smaller, mix the coconut and water in two batches. Overfilling can cause the cap to come off and fly.
Make sure to keep the lid securely in place throughout the process.
4. Strain the liquid
With a dish towel or fine mesh sieve over a bowl, pour the coconut puree over the cloth or sieve so that the coconut milk drips into the bowl. Use a spatula to squeeze as much liquid out of the mixture as possible.
You can also take the cloth and squeeze it over the bowl with your hands. To extract even more liquid, pour more hot water over the pulp and squeeze it again.
5. Boil the coconut liquid
Place the liquid obtained in the previous step in a pan and bring it to the stove over medium heat. Bring it to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, until the water has completely evaporated and the cream is separated from the oil, turning brown.
This boiling process can take more than an hour, so be patient.
You can also not boil the mixture and let it separate naturally, on its own. Simply place the liquid in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Leave at room temperature for 24 hours, then place it in the refrigerator so that the oil will solidify and float.
As with the previous methods, strain the oil from the liquid and you’re done!
Although much is said about the benefits of coconut oil, its use is still quite controversial among experts. While there are those who argue that the product is completely healthy and important for the proper functioning of the body, there are also a considerable number of experts who do not recommend its use.
The Brazilian Society of Endocrinology and Metabology (Sbem), the Brazilian Association for the Study of Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome (Abeso) and the Brazilian Association of Nutrology, for example, take a stand against the use of coconut oil for weight loss therapy weight and deny the existence of many of the supposed benefits of food.
According to these bodies, there is no scientific evidence or physiological mechanisms to prove the effectiveness of coconut oil for weight loss and hygiene. In vitro studies have been carried out and are not conclusive. Therefore, coconut oil should not be indicated for these purposes.
In an interview with Folha de São Paulo, the researcher at the medical school of Unesp in Botucatu and a nutritionist at Abran, Ana Lúcia dos Anjos Ferreiras, categorically stated that “there is no scientific support to say that he (coconut oil) bring any benefit ”.
Abran also officially positioned itself, through an official note in March 2017. In the document, the institution lists four items, reinforcing that there are no relevant studies that prove the product’s effectiveness for the numerous benefits associated with it and makes the following recommendations :
- Coconut oil should not be prescribed to prevent or treat obesity;
- It should not be prescribed for the prevention or treatment of neurodegenerative diseases;
- It should not be prescribed as an antimicrobial nutrient;
- It should not be prescribed as an antimicrobial.
In addition, if consumed in excess, coconut oil can cause heart problems and put on weight, as energy expenditure is less than absorption. Therefore, only use the oil in conjunction with regular exercise.
The coconut oil “ fever ” started after some studies linked its use to a decrease in waist circumference. However, not all studies are reliable and there is insufficient data to disseminate conclusive results on the subject.
So we made a short list with myths and truths about coconut oil. Check out!
Coconut oil helps you lose weight
Myth! A small sample of studies relate the use of coconut oil to a decrease in waist circumference. However, in these surveys, most participants had already started (and maintained) a weight loss diet before starting treatment with coconut oil.
Thus, it becomes almost impossible to say with certainty whether the results are applicable to most people.
Speeds up metabolism
Myth! The only factor that provides weight loss with scientific proof is the increase of lean mass in the human body. In other words: more muscle = faster metabolism.
This confusion happens because coconut oil has a high concentration of Medium Chain Triglycerides (TCM), which are easily absorbed by the body and are not stored, forming “fat stores”.
However, the fact that MCTs are quickly absorbed does not mean that they help to speed up metabolism. Contrary to what is believed, studies relating the consumption of TCM with high-performance physical activities, such as running, show that TCM can contribute to lipogenesis (formation of fat in the body).
It is true that some components, such as caffeine, can increase metabolism. But even these components do not significantly increase the metabolic rate.
Coconut oil, on the other hand, has not yet shown any striking results regarding the increase in metabolism.
So-so. What makes it believed that oil improves immunity is the massive presence of lauric acid in its composition, which has a proven antibacterial action and is known for its antimicrobial and antifungal properties.
However, this is not a reason to get excited. Research on this subject is not yet conclusive, so don’t take the product without talking to a doctor first.
Prevents cardiovascular disease
Myth! But don’t worry: it won’t necessarily increase your risk of heart disease either.
In the medical community, foods with a high content of saturated fats are commonly related to the increase in LDL (“bad” cholesterol). And a single tablespoon of coconut oil a day provides more than half the amount of saturated fats recommended for daily intake.
However, recent studies question the link between consumption of saturated fats and heart disease. That’s because there are different types of LDL and not all are bad, as we thought before.
Despite this, there is still no consensus within the scientific community on the subject, so it is not possible to say that these indications are 100% reliable.
The results of some experiments show that the consumption of coconut oil increases HDL without necessarily increasing LDL levels. However, these data alone are not enough for coconut oil to be recommended for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
Medical reports also link the systematic consumption of coconut oil with the increase in triglyceride levels in the body, which can be harmful to health.
Helps treat neurodegenerative diseases
Myth! Some people claim that coconut oil helps to lessen the harmful effects caused by Alzheimer’s, as it would provide an alternative source of energy for the brain, making it work better.
These statements, however, are not based on scientific research and are spread by word of mouth, without any support.
It is true that coconut oil has the presence of antioxidants, components that can reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases, but vegetables, fruits and grains, for example, have much higher amounts of these components.
So, think carefully before saying that coconut oil is great for treating Alzheimer’s.
Controversial and multifunctional, coconut oil has benefits and harms. Therefore, the conscious use of this food is recommended. Talk to a doctor or nutritionist and ask all your questions before starting to use the food constantly. Your health thanks you!
Questions and suggestions? Leave it in the comments below! We will be happy to answer them!