Also known as
Nariyal ka tel
Coconut oil contains saturated fats that are different from those present in animal fats. Like other vegetable oils, coconut oil also does not contain cholesterol and hence can be safely consumed in combination with other cooking oils, particularly sunflower or safflower oils, as part of a balanced diet.
How to Select
• Organic virgin and refined coconut oil is readily available in the market.
• Small and large packs are available from different brands. Choose a good brand and check the package for leaks before buying.
• Choose a pack size according to your requirement because coconut oil becomes rancid when stored for a long time.
• Coconut oil is commonly used in cooking, especially when frying, and it has a high smoking point, which makes it good for this purpose.
• One should remember that not all types of food or recipes can be cooked in coconut oil. This is because this oil has a special cooking property that makes baking and frying the best option, apart from other cooking methods.
• In coastal regions, curries are generally cooked in this oil and do taste out of the world.
• One can actually tell the difference between food cooked in coconut oil, and other regular oils.
How to Store
• Whether refined or not, all oils are sensitive to heat, light and exposure to oxygen and become rancid over time.
• Rancid oil has an unpleasant aroma and acrid taste, and its nutrient value is greatly diminished. Hence, it is best to store all oils in a cool, dry place.
• Nutritionists and dietitians often promote a coconut oil diet as it is considered one of the healthiest oil on earth
• Coconut oil is composed predominately of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), also known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). It is the MCFA that give coconut oil its healing benefits.
• Lauric Acid is also very good for health, and coconut oil contains about 50 per cent lauric acid. The only other abundant source found in nature is human breast milk. The medium-chain fats in coconut oil are similar to fats in mother's milk and have similar nutritional effects.
• Another incredible fact about coconut oil is that even though it is a fat, it actually promotes weight loss – the reason is again because of the healthy medium-chain fatty acids. These fatty acids do not circulate in the bloodstream like other fats, but are sent directly to the liver where they are immediately converted into energy, just like carbohydrates. So the body uses the fat in coconut oil to produce energy, rather than be stored as body fat.
• Coconut oil also helps in improving the digestive system and thus prevents various stomach and digestion related problems including irritable bowel syndrome. The saturated fats present in coconut oil have anti-microbial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, parasites, etc., that cause indigestion. Coconut oil also helps in absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
• Coconut oil is also good for the immune system as it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties.
• When applied on infections, it forms a chemical layer, which protects the infected body part from external dust, air, fungi, bacteria and virus. The curative properties of coconut oil are useful in healing as well. It speeds up the repairing of damaged tissues.
• Coconut oil is very effective against a variety of infections due to its antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. Thus helpful in influenza, measles, hepatitis, herpes, etc. It also kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, gonorrhea, etc. Coconut oil is also effective on fungi and yeast that cause ringworm, athlete's foot, thrush, diaper rash, etc.
• The presence of medium-chain triglycerides and fatty acids helps in preventing liver diseases as these substances are easily converted into energy when they reach the liver, thus reducing work load on the liver and also preventing accumulation of fat.
• Coconut oil helps in preventing kidney and gall bladder diseases. It also helps in dissolving kidney stones.
• Coconut oil improves the ability of our body to absorb important minerals. These include calcium and magnesium, which are necessary for development of bones. Thus coconut oil is very useful to women who are prone to osteoporosis after middle age.