Coconut oil first appeared in Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands in the mid-nineteenth century. Today the production and export of this oil is part of one of the most important economic activities in the Philippines.
Coconut oil it is also known as coconut cream and is extracted from the “meat” of the coconut, the pulp is white. Although it is not an expensive oil, it is not easy to acquire in Western countries but generally can be found in speciality or health food stores.
In the early twentieth century, coconut oil was easier to find than it is today and was widely used in the kitchen. Because it has a low melting point and can be kept for a considerable time, is easy to use and store, and also has a pleasant taste.
However, the mid-twentieth century began to discover the risks of consuming saturated fats, due to this reason, coconut oil gained a bad reputation and began to disappear from the market. Today, research has shown that fats coconut oil can have great health benefits.
It is true that saturated fats can cause damage to health when consumed in excess but not all saturated fats are created equal. The fats in coconut oil are called “medium chain triglycerides”, which can be easily assimilated by the body and provide different benefits, far from harming the body.
- One of the properties of coconut oil is their high concentration of lauric acid.
- Some studies have claimed that coconut oil reduces cholesterol and triglycerides.
- The consumption of coconut oil can help prevent stroke, atherosclerosis and hypertension.
- For skin, coconut oil also represents benefits. Its antioxidants can fight free radicals.
- The properties of coconut oil also serve as anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral agents.
The fatty acids of coconut oil
The benefit of the fatty acids of coconut oil lies in the length of their chains. Coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids, such acids penetrate the cell membranes more easily than the long chain fatty acids, without it being necessary to use special enzymes.
The medium chain fatty acids are sent directly to the liver, without traversing the bloodstream like other fats. In this body are converted into energy and not stored as fat in the body. This makes coconut oil provides health benefits, such as a good metabolism.
Antibiotic properties of coconut oil
Another property of coconut oil is its high concentration of lauric acid. In this acid the body converts glycerol monolaurate or monolaurin, a monoglyceride with features that enhance the antibacterial and antiviral properties of our body.
It can help combat viruses like influenza or herpes and even human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In fact, this compound is used in treatments for people who have been infected with the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
Coconut oil and cholesterol reduction
Coconut oil can lower cholesterol levels by having the ability to stimulate the thyroid. When a sufficient amount of thyroid hormones in the body, cholesterol is converted by enzymes in steroid such as progesterone, dehydroepiandrosterone and pregnenolone key to preventing heart disease, obesity, cancer and other degenerative diseases.
Lauric acid also helps regulate cholesterol levels and helps stabilize blood pressure.
Antioxidants in coconut oil
The antioxidants in coconut oil can help fight free radicals and provide many benefits with it. In the skin, free radicals can cause wrinkles, age spots features, sagging skin, and other consequences of age or environment pollution. Coconut oil can penetrate the skin when applied on this and form a protective barrier against free radicals.