What is Organic Virgin Coconut Oil?
Virgin coconut oil, as the name implies, is a coconut oil that is derived from natural coconuts. With virgin coconut oil, the oil is obtained from the flesh of fresh coconuts. It is obtained by drying the flesh, either with smoke, in the sun, or via kiln drying. Coconut oil is now very much the “in” ingredient for when it comes to taste and health benefits, and it is easy to see why. Coconut oil is high in saturated fats, but these saturated fats are incredibly healthy and good for us, as they are made up of MCTs, or Medium Chain Triglycerides. It is anti-bacterial as well as being anti-microbial and is packed full of antioxidants and other healthy ingredients that do the body a whole world of good. Not only can virgin coconut oil be used as an extremely healthy oil for cooking, it can also be used as a moisturizer for the skin, as a treatment for the hair, or even as a whitening agent for the teeth.
How does it work?
As coconut oil provides so many different health benefits, listing how each one works would take an age, so we’ll instead focus on some of the more prominent effects. To begin with, coconut oil is a fantastic source of energy, that does not result in weight gain. You see, most other forms of fat are made up of long chain triglycerides, but as coconut oil is made up of MCTs, these fats quickly make their way from the liver directly into the digestive tract, where they are utilized as a near instant source of energy. It also functions as a powerful antioxidant, which in turn helps to rid the body of toxins and free-radicals that could potentially lead to various forms of cancer. It can even help to whiten the teeth and freshen the breath, with a technique known as “oil pulling”. With this technique, users will swill a teaspoon of coconut around in their mouths for around 15 minutes per day for a few weeks. The oil removes stains and bacteria in the mouth that can cause bad breath, as well as infections. Speaking of infections, as the oil is rich in compounds such as lauric acid and capric acid, they help to stop and prevent bacterial infections before they have chance to do any real damage.
What are the main benefits of virgin coconut oil?
Some of the primary benefits associated with virgin coconut oil include:
One of the biggest benefits associated with coconut oil is the fact that it tastes great. It’s rare you will find a healthy ingredient that tastes great, yet with coconut oil, that is exactly what you get. The taste is slightly sweet with a distinct hint of coconut that works well with so many different dishes. The oil is also non-greasy, giving a great finish to your dishes.
if you were to lookup the word ‘versatile’ in the dictionary, it’s surprising you don’t see a picture coconut oil sitting alongside it. Coconut oil is one of the most versatile ingredients in the entire world. You can use the oil for cooking savoury dishes, you can use it in smoothies, you can use it in desserts, you can use it on your skin, in your hair, and even on your teeth.
As this oil is rich in MCTs, antioxidants, and numerous other healthy compounds, it is considered by many to be a superfood, and rightfully so. It boosts immunity, it helps fight the effects of aging, it boosts the metabolism, increases energy levels, enhances brain power and function, provides anti-bacterial benefits, and much, much, more besides.
Other benefits include:
- Moisturizes the skin
- Conditions the hair
- Whitens the teeth
- Rids bad breath
- Helps fight and prevent infection
- Boosts immunity
- Rich in goodness
- Promotes a healthy cardiovascular system
- Reduces LDL cholesterol
- Prevents cancer
- Tastes great
- Lubricates and strengthens the joints
- And more...
How and when should it be consumed?
As virgin coconut oil is considered a cooking ingredient rather than a supplement, how and when you consume it, and in which dosages, are entirely up to you. Most people will simply use two or three teaspoons when cooking their meals, in place of typical oils such as vegetable oil or olive oil. Just be wary that it is still rich in fat and contains nearly 100% pure saturated fats, and although healthy fats, too many can still lead to weight gain and health complications.
Virgin Coconut Oil VS Refined Coconut Oil
All coconut oils have to be refined to some degree, but the main issue is the fact that many mass produced oils will be heavily refined. Virgin coconut oils are the oils that have undergone the least amount of refining, and as a result, they maintain far more of their nutrients and healthy ingredients. The oil is obtained by being pressed from dried coconuts in virgin oils, whereas with refined oils, the oil is obtained from copra, which is the dried flesh of coconuts. In some cases, wet milling will occur with virgin oils, in which the oil is obtained without taking the time to dry the coconut beforehand, which many people believe helps ensure that more nutrients remain. Whilst refined coconut oil is still very beneficial, it is not considered as healthy as virgin oils.
What can it be stacked with?
As virgin coconut oil is not a supplement, you can stack (use it) with whatever you like. Many people will simply incorporate it into their diets with other healthy foods, ingredients, and supplements such as multi-vitamins.
Potential side effects
As with all supplements, always consult your doctor before using any new supplements, and discontinue usage if you experience any adverse side effects. However, virgin coconut oil is not a supplement, and as a result, it is considered safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women. In the event of over consumption however, you are at risk of the following:
- Weight gain
- High cholesterol levels (mainly HDL, which is good)
- Upset stomach
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