There has recently been all this hype about coconut oil. So much rave about this product that is supposedly somewhat close to a ‘miracle’.
So I decided to take a further look into this product and bring you the pros and cons of coconut oil. I went out to purchase the product from a health shop in Fourways Mall, Johannesburg – Neal’s Health Yard (http://www.healthnealsyard.co.za/). The only size they had was the 500g jar which costs R121. I wanted to start off with a smaller amount in case the product did not quite do it for me. But nonetheless, the curiosity killed my inner cat and I purchased the 500g jar. It is quite a big jar of coconut oil. This stuff is going to last me a good 2 to 3 months.
I purchased the Virgin Organic Coconut Oil from Crede Natural Oils (http://www.credeoils.co.za/index.php?option=com_flexicontent&view=items&id=300:virgin-coconut-oil-organic&Itemid=231)
First let’s start with what this oil is. According to Alberta.ca’s website, “Coconut oil is a tropical oil made from the dried fruit of the coconut palm tree“. Crede go on to explain that the oil is pressed from the “white meat of the coconut” and can be made into two types of oils:
1. Virgin Organic – this oiled is pressed from the fresh meat of raw coconuts. It is characterised by its distinct coconut smell (which in my opinion smells divine). This type of oil retains many of its micronutrients.
2. Refined Coconut Oil – as the name suggests, this oil has undergone some kind of process where the oil is extracted from the dry meat of the coconut and is refined before being sold for human consumption. Naturally, because of this refinement, the oil loses some of its valuable micronutrients as well as that distinct coconut smell.
One thing you must know about coconut oil, is that is very high in saturated fats. So, even with all the claimed health benefits, you will need to be very careful of how you incorporate the oil into your diet. Saturated fats are linked to increases in the risk of heart disease so it MUST be consumed in moderation! But don’t be scared off by that. Coconut Oil also has some great good fats such as linoleic acid, oleic acid, vitamin-E, vitamin K and minerals such as Iron.
So here are the claimed benefits (credit: Crede Natural Oils website, Organicfacts.net and The Coconut Mama):
- Cooking – “Coconut oil is primarily a great cooking oil because of its
stability at high temperatures. When oils are heated, they begin
processes of oxidation and polymerisation that can lead to harmful by-products
such as aldehydes. The advantage of coconut oil is that it consists mostly of
(healthy) saturated fats, which are more stable at high temperatures than mono-
and poly-unsaturated fats. This makes frying with coconut oil a safer option.”
- Moisturiser – “Coconut oil is amazing for the skin! It helps to reduce skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. It also softens the skin and relieves dryness and flaking. Applied topically it helps to prevent wrinkles, saggy skin and age spots.”
- Hair Care – “Coconut oil is one of the best natural nutrition for hair. It helps in healthy growth of hair providing them a shiny complexion. It is effective in reducing the protein loss for damaged and undamaged hair.”
- Infections – “Coconut oil is very effective against a variety of infections due to its antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties.”
These listed above, are only a few of the many benefits that Coconut Oil is claimed to have.
I have been using this oil for my skin and hair for about a week now. I have also used about a teaspoon when preparing my post workout smoothie (with whey protein powder, banana and purified water). It’s still a bit too early to tell whether its is this ‘miracle oil’…but one thing I can say is that only a day after I had applied it to my skin (I’ve used it on my body), my skin was a lot softer. A week in, and the skin on my legs is glowing. Really beautiful and soft. I will continue to use this as I have been and hopefully I will get positive results for my hair too.
Let me know if you’ve also been using coconut oil and how you have managed to incorporate it either into your diet or your beauty routine.