What is Coconut Oil?
When copra usually known as dry kernel is crushed through dry or wet process, the extract that is produced is called coconut oil. Studies have proved that the dry kernel contains almost 60-65% of oil. Coconut oil contains a saturated fatty acid which is healthy as compared to other trans fat. It has an aroma, flavour, versatility. Consumption of coconut oil provides vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and other health benefits.
Two methods of Coconut Oil extraction
The two methods of extracting coconut are discussed briefly:
Dry process of extraction: Here, the meat or the kernel is extracted from the coconut shell by drying them using fire or kilns or with the help of sunlight. Once they get dried up, what we receive is copra. This copra is then dissolved with solvents for producing oil and a high fibre or protein mash. As the mash is of poor quality and proteins cannot be extracted from the mash, therefore, they are fed to ruminants rather than keeping it for human consumption.
Wet process of extraction: Here, the coconut oil is extracted from the meat of the coconut shell not by drying method but with the help of coconut milk. The coconut milk can be made with the help of a food processor or a mixer. Once the milk is extracted, either of the following methods is used to separate the oil and the water. The methods are:
- Mechanical centrifuge, or
By this process, we get fresh, scented and tasty coconut oil which humans can consume. The coconut oil contains high amount of lauric acid that helps to increase the immune system of human beings and also fight bacteria, virus, and other diseases.
Benefits of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a “tropical trooper” as it has been consumed by the people in tropical countries for thousands of years. Coconut oil is sweet in taste and studies prove that it contains a high percentage of saturated fatty acid and the natives who have been consuming this for thousands of years have good health.
Coconut oil is not only useful for human beings. There are a plethora of other benefits of coconut oil. Some of the benefits of coconut oil are as under:
- Coconut oil has a number of health benefits. Coconut oil improves and strengthens our immune system, helps us to fight diseases, bacteria, fungus and virus. It also improves our body metabolism. Coconut oil is good for the heart- the lauric acid controls the cholesterol level and blood pressure. When we consume coconut oil, we get fewer injuries and there is less damage to the bones. Coconut oil is also useful for weight loss. It improves our digestive system and has an anti stress component. The saturated fatty acid prevents us from liver problems as they get converted into energy on reaching the liver, hence, prevents the liver from accumulating fat and also reducing the work load of the liver. Other health benefits of coconut oil is that it prevents kidney problems and also useful for dissolving stones. Coconut oil also helps in treating diabetes, pancreatitis, Alzheimer’s diseases, cancer, HIV. It also prevents from decaying tooth and makes teeth strong. It also kills the bacteria that are caused due to throat infections, pneumonia, measles, influenza and ulcers. Coconut oil is rich in minerals like magnesium and calcium that makes are our bones stronger.
- Coconut oil is also useful for the skin. It acts as a good moisturizer delivering a soothing, refreshing, and healing effect to our skin. The oil penetrates into our skin and makes it beautiful.
- Coconut oil can be used as a replacement of high calorie coffee creamers such as sugar and milk. A small amount of coconut oil can be stirred well into the coffee giving a sweet and healthy touch.
- Coconut oil can give a good soothing effect when beaten by flies. The oil can be used on humans as well as pets such as dogs or horses, etc.
- Coconut oil is good for dogs as well. A small dab of coconut oil can be applied to their rough, dry, cracked and tight paws making them soft and smooth. Coconut oil can also be applied on their body to give it a glossy effect and acts as anti fungal and anti bacterial. It can also be to sooth their dry nose and clean their ears.
- Coconut oil is very good for our hair as well. It helps to prevent lies, thickens the hair and also makes it strong. It is a good conditioner for hair. There are also shampoos that contain coconut oil which is good for the hair.
- Coconut oil is good for the skin and can be used for removing eye as well as face make-ups. It can also be used to massage your body as it moisturizes the skin and makes is soft and beautiful.
- Coconut oil can also be used to polish the leather items at home and can also be used to polish wooden items giving it a healthy, natural shine.
- Other benefits of coconut oil are- it can be used as a replacement of butter. It can be also used in cooking as a replacement of oil. Coconut oil can also be used as in baking cakes, brownies, cookies etc. The oil gives flavour to savoury dishes and the cooking looks fresh and is rich in moisture.
- Other benefits of coconut oil are- it can be used for removing chewing gums, is a good conditioner for the chopping board, use as a lubricant for small motor such as mixer or blender, etc.
Coconut Oil for Hair
When we can ask an expert, which hair should we use for our hair? The answer we get is coconut oil. Studies have even proved that coconut oil is the highly recommended and mostly preferred oil for hair. The component in coconut oil keeps the hair strong, protected, nourished, and prevents from hair loss and hair damage.
Benefits of using Coconut Oil on Hair
There are remarkable benefits of using coconut oil for hair. Some of them are discussed below:
- Coconut oil contains moisture retaining capacity therefore when we apply coconut oil in our hair; it keeps the hair soft and moist and prevents the hair from breaking.
- As we know that coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, when we apply coconut oil to our hair to acts as a protein for the hair and can penetrate inside the hair shaft. Hence, preventing the hair from breaking.
- Coconut oil has a cooling and soothing effect therefore people who suffer from hot heads and scalp sweating can apply coconut oil on their hair and scalp.
- To improve the health of your hair and also prevent it from further loss, coconut oil can be used. The oil can be mixed with other items such as lime water or gooseberries to give better effects.
- For a strong and healthy hair, condition your hair with warm coconut oil at night and wash hair in the morning. Coconut oil helps to fight split ends in hair and is also beneficial for grey hair and baldness.
- There are a number of chemical products available in the market for treating lice in your hair. These products damage the scalp and make the hair rough. Therefore, using coconut oil on wet hair helps to remove lice from the hair and stops you from getting embarrassed.
- Coconut oil helps us to get rid of dandruff in hair. Though there are a number of anti dandruff products available in the market, applying a mixture of coconut oil, castor oil and lukewarm water can help in treating dandruff and is the best anti dandruff agent.
- We hesitate to use toning and conditioning products available in the market, because we fear of poor quality hair and also hair damage. We need not worry now as warm coconut oil can as a good hair toning agent and also can be used as a conditioner for our hair.
- Coconut oil is an excellent agent for styling hair. It acts as a hair styling cream or gel thus keeps the hair healthy and beautiful.
- There are a variety of shampoos available in the market either for hair fall control or spilt end control or damage control. But there are a number of shampoos available with coconut oil. These give marvellous effect to the hair- nourishes, moisturizes and gives shine to the hair. It also makes the hair smooth, strong and beautiful to look at.
How to use Coconut Oil on Hair?
Coconut oil is a natural way of keeping the hair healthy, strong and smooth. There are a number of ways in which we can apply coconut oil on the hair.
The first method is to directly apply coconut oil on our hair and let it soak for few hours before having a wash.
The second method of applying coconut oil is to warm the oil either in our microwave oven or on the stove or rubbing your palms and then applying gently and massaging the hair and scalp. Then cover the hair overnight or for more than two hours before washing.
The other method of applying coconut oil is mixing and heating the oil with other hair control ingredients and then applying with cotton balls on the hair scalp. Then massage the hair and wash after two hours or next morning.
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