Coconut oil is an edible oil product obtained from the kernel or the flesh of coconuts that are harvested from coconut trees. Due to its versatile nature it has various uses in personal and industrial phases. Due to its very high content of saturated fats, it oxidises at a lower rate and hence does not produce rancidity. There are two processes to produce coconut oil, namely the dry and the wet process. The dry processing needs the flesh of the coconut to be scrapped from the shell, dried under fire or sunlight to produce copra. This copra is further subjected to pressing and is dissolved with the help of solvents to generate a high-protein fiber mash. Whereas, in the wet process raw coconut is used than copra and the protein in it forms an emulsion with oil and water base. Modern methods such as centrifuges and hot and cold treatments can help in separation of these emulsion particles. However, the yield is lower than dry processing.
Common Uses of Coconut Oil:
Coconut Oil is very rich in antioxidants and has different antimicrobial properties. When applied on hair, it tends to enhance the scalp health, keeps it free from fungi and infection and increases growth of hair by adding volume and shine.
Due to its high content of saturated fatty acids, coconut oil tends to maintain the skin moisture even in dry conditions, it also decreases the skin ageing process by repairing dead cells in skin regularly. Moreover, it is used worldwide as a skin-lip softener and also as a makeup remover. Due to its antimicrobial properties, it is used to heal infected skin too.
As given above, the fatty acids in the coconut oil are about 90% saturated and this renders it highly resistant to high temperatures. This is the best oil for deep frying and long-time usage in shops too. Unrefined coconut oil enhances the lipid profiles by reducing the total and LDL cholesterol profiles and increasing the HDL levels.
For Weight Loss:
Many of the research studies show that coconut oil can help in weight loss and in some studies women claim to have reduced their waist circumference and excess fats by consuming coconut oil for a long time when compared to other edible oil. In short, the glycerides in the coconut oil increase the energy consumption when compared to other long chain fats and results in increased satiety.
Fractionated Coconut Oil:
It is a portion of the coconut oil from which all the long chain fatty acids are eliminated, leaving behind the medium chain fatty acids. This renders it to be completely saturated oil and this helps in its long shelf-life and increased stability. Moreover, the high proportions of Caprylic acid and Capric acid generate antioxidant and antimicrobial effects.