In many Eastern religions we have a concept of the “Tree of the World”. It is also a very prominent concept in Hinduism, where it is called kalpavriksha or “desire that satisfies the tree”.
The coconut tree was often identified as Kalpavriksha due to its many applications. In fact, most families on the south coast of India do not miss the coconut to their food. You can’t imagine food without coconut.
But there is also an irrational fear of cooking with coconut oil. The guilt is placed in the high concentration of saturated fats in the oil. Fortunately, the situation is changing. Today we see a revival of interest in coconut oil due to several scientific studies on it around the world.
Coconut oil is absolutely unique because it unlike other types of cooking oil (palm oil, sunflower oil), its advantages to more than boil. Let’s see what these benefits are.
It is rich in medium chain triglycerides (MCT)
This has a bad press because it is rich in saturated fats, but that is not entirely true. Large saturated fats in coconut are caprylic acid, palmitic acid, ristic acid and lauric acid. These saturated fatty acids actually belong to a category known as medium-chain or MCT triglycerides. These are not only faster than a long chain of triglycerides, but they are also healthier.
Has a high point of smoking
It has a high smoking point (177 degrees). Most seeds, nuts, and vegetable oils have a low smoking point. Smoking point is the heating point beyond which the oil starts to burn. Foods cooked in oils with a low-smoke oil usually have a burnt taste. Another advantage of a high point of smoking is that beyond this point, the fatty acids of petroleum oxidation and produce free radicals that are dangerous to health.
Has antimicrobial properties
It has two important components that give it antimicrobial properties-caprylic acid and lauric acid. Once taken, the uric acid becomes monolaurin, which is effective against many viruses, bacteria and protozoa. It also has a check on the yeast population (Candida) in the intestine, restoring the balance in the gastrointestinal tract. When the yeast population rises, it can lead to stubborn overload, burping, swelling, diarrhea and constipation.
It’s an excellent hair oil
Suffering from split ends, itchy scalp, dandruff or mediocre hair? Try it on your hair and on your scalp. It is rich in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. A study published in 2005 in the Journal of Cosmetic Science also said that it penetrates hair follicles better than mineral oil, the main ingredient in the hair conditioner. Most people don’t know that dandruff is caused by bacteria and fungi. The antimicrobial properties of coconut oil kill these microorganisms, keeping dandruff under control.
The mean chain in triglycerides, especially the conversion of lauric into antimicrobial agents in the stomach system. They kill bad bacteria like Helicobacter pylori while leaving the beneficial bacteria intact. Therefore, it restores the balance in the digestive system and promotes the health of the colon. It is also effective against digestion problems such as colitis, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and gastritis. Many people even recommend coconut oil for colon cleaners.
Reduces inflammation in the intestines
If you suffer from intestinal problems such as irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease, you can benefit from eating coconut oil. Medium saturated triglycerides in coconut oil are absorbed more rapidly in the intestine than long chained triglycerides found in other oils. In fact, long chained fatty acids act as substrates for certain hormones called eicosanoids, which trigger inflammation in the intestine. To some extent, the antimicrobial property of coconut oil is also responsible for reducing inflammation in the intestine.
It is great for the skin
It is not only a hair tonic and a fuel oil, it can also be used in massages and as skin conditioner. Coconut oil is rich in vitamin E (0.1 mg in 100 GM of coconut oil), which is vital for skin health. You can remove the make-up too. Coconut oil penetrates into the skin more deeply than the average skin care cosmetics because of the small molecular weight.
Helps you burn fat
Coconut oil has fewer calories than other oils. is because medium-sized triglycerides are smaller than long chained triglycerides, which are a major constituent of other cooking oils. Thanks to their small size, the MCTs are absorbed faster and used immediately as an energy source rather than being stored away as body fat. MCTs also assists in burning fat reserves. One study found that taking 15-30 gm of MCTs increases energy expenditure over 24 hours by up to 5%.
Reduces food cravings
In a study, a group of women were given an MCT drink and another group was given an LCT drink. Half an hour later, they were allowed to drink and eat as much as they wanted. The group that took the MCT drink ate less food than the other group. Dietary fats like coconut oil trigger the production of hormones that suppress the appetite. That is why you get a ‘full’ feeling when you’ve added fat to your diet. Another reason why you don’t feel hungry is because coconut oil stalls the emptying of the stomach.
Fights degenerative brain diseases
Alzheimer’s disease is a major trigger for dementia. It is primarily a disease of elderly people. It has been noticed that in patients who are suffering from Alzheimer’s, certain parts of the brain don’t receive enough carbs. The good news is, coconut oil may offer a solution. After the MCTs are absorbed in the intestine, they are transported to the liver where they are converted into ketones (that is why coconut oil is recommended for epileptics) It has been speculated that these ketones may be used as an alternate energy source by such parts of the brain.
It is not for nothing that coconut oil is called a ‘super food’. You can use it in cooking and for other uses. For instance, it is an antimicrobial, a weight loss agent, anti-inflammatory and a skin and hair conditioner cum moisturizer. So it is a real kalpavriksha- an all giving plant.