Coconut oil is an edible oil extracted from the kernel or meat of matured coconuts harvested from the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera). It has various applications in food, medicine, and industry. Because of its high saturated fat content it is slow to oxidize and, thus, resistant to rancidification, lasting up to two years without spoiling.Many health organizations advise against the consumption of high amounts of coconut oil due to its high levels of saturated fat.
Coconut oil can be extracted through "dry" or "wet" processing. Dry processing requires the meat to be extracted from the shell and dried using fire, sunlight, or kilns to create copra. The copra is pressed or dissolved with solvents, producing the coconut oil and a high-protein, high-fiber mash. The mash is of poor quality for human consumption and is instead fed to ruminants; there is no process to extract protein from the mash. A portion of the oil extracted from copra is lost to the process of extraction.
The all-wet process uses raw coconut rather than dried copra, and the protein in the coconut creates an emulsion of oil and water. The more problematic step is breaking up the emulsion to recover the oil. This used to be done by prolonged boiling, but this produces a discolored oil and is not economical; modern techniques use centrifuges and pre-treatments including cold, heat, acids, salts, enzymes, electrolysis, shock waves, or some combination of them.
Despite numerous variations and technologies, wet processing is less viable than dry processing due to a 10–15% lower yield, even compared to the losses due to spoilage and pests with dry processing. Wet processes also require investment of equipment and energy, incurring high capital and operating costs.
Proper harvesting of the coconut (the age of a coconut can be 2 to 20 months when picked) makes a significant difference in the efficacy of the oil-making process. Copra made from immature nuts is more difficult to work with and produces an inferior product with lower yields.
Conventional coconut oil uses hexane as a solvent to extract up to 10% more oil than just using rotary mills and expellers. The oil is then refined to remove certain free fatty acids, in order to reduce susceptibility to rancidification. Other processes to increase shelf life include using copra with a moisture content below 6%, keeping the moisture content of the oil below 0.2%, heating the oil to 130–150 °C and adding salt or citric acid.
Virgin coconut oil (VCO) can be produced from fresh coconut meat, milk, or residue. Producing it from the fresh meat involves removing the shell and washing, then either wet-milling or drying the residue, and using a screw press to extract the oil. VCO can also be extracted from fresh meat by grating and drying it to a moisture content of 10–12%, then using a manual press to extract the oil.
Producing it from coconut milk involves grating the coconut and mixing it with water, then squeezing out the oil. The milk can also be fermented for 36–48 hours, the oil removed, and the cream heated to remove any remaining oil. A third option involves using a centrifuge to separate the oil from the other liquids. Coconut oil can also be extracted from the dry residue left over from the production of coconut milk.A thousand of mature coconuts weighing approximately 1,440 kilograms (3,200 lb) yield around 170 kilograms (370 lb) of copra from which around 70 litres (15 imp gal) of coconut oil can be extracted.
In cooking as a great oil with a high smoke point. Great for baking, stir-frys or as a dairy free replacement to butter.
Taken supplementally for daily energy.
As a coffee creamer when emulsified into coffee
On the skin as a basic lotion.
In homemade lotion bars for soft, smooth skin.
In homemade deodorant or deodorant bars.
As an eye-makeup remover.
As a cloth diaper safe diaper cream (just rub on baby’s bottom)
In making your own Remineralizing Toothpaste.
To lighten age spots when rubbed directly on the skin.
To prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.
To support healthy thyroid function.
In homemade Mayo without the high PUFA vegetable oils.
To help increase sun tolerance and avoid burning.
As a naturally SPF 4 sunscreen.
In homemade lotion recipes.
To get rid of cradle cap on baby- just massage in to head, leave on for a few minutes and gently rinse with a warm wash cloth.
Topically to kill yeast or yeast infections.
As a delicious tropical massage oil.
It’s high Lauric acid and MCFA content helps boost metaboism.
A tiny dab rubbed on your hands and then through hair will help get rid of friz.
As an intensive nighttime facial moisturizer.
Mixed with equal parts sugar for a smoothing body scrub (use in the shower)
Rubbed on lips as a natural chap stick.
Topically, can help skin heal faster after injury or infection.
Directly on the perineum to help heal after birth.
As an incredibly intensive natural conditioner- Rub into dry hair, put a shower cap on and leave for several hoursOn feet to fight athlete’s foot or tor fungus.
In place of Lanolin cream on nursing nipples to sooth irritation (also great for baby!)
Can help sooth psoriasis or eczema.
There is some evidence that regular ingestion of coconut oil can help prevent or reverse Alzheimers.
With apple cider vinegar as a natural treatment for lice that actually works.
In natural Homemade Sunscreen.
In healthy brain boosting snack for kids like Coconut Clusters.
In a filling and energy boosting Brain Powder Smoothie.
Rub coconut oil on the inside of your nose to help alleviate allergy symptoms.
Nursing moms can take 3-4 tablespoons a day (and Vitamin D) to increase milk supply and nutrients.
There is some evidence that coconut oil helps digestion and may even kill intestinal parasites or yeast.
Mix a tablespoon with a tablespoon of chia seeds for an all-day energy boost (do NOT take this at night!)
Can help improve insulin levels.
Oil pulling with coconut oil and a drop of oregano oil helps improve gum health.
Can help improve cholesterol ratios.
Blend a tablespoon into hot tea to help speed recovery from cold or flu.
In Homemade Natural Bug-Off Lotion Bars.
As a replacement for vegetable oils in any recipe.
Better for high-temperature cooking than olive or vegetable oils.
Can help reduce appearance of varicose veins.
After initial heat is gone, can help speed healing of sunburnIs an immediate source of energy when eaten and isn’t stored as fat.
As a natural personal lubricant that won’t disturb vaginal flora.
As a naturally antibacterial skin cream.
In natural homemade diaper cream.
As a natural shave cream and after shave lotion.
When used consistently on skin it can help get rid of cellulite.
To season cast iron skillets.
It’s anti-inflammatory properties can help lessen arthritisCan reduce the itch of mosquito bites.
Can help resolve acne when used regularly.
Can be rubbed into scalp daily to stimulate hair growth.
It used in kids ears to help speed ear infection healingOn split ends to de-frizz.
A small amount can be rubbed into real leather to soften and condition (shiny leather only… test a small area first)
By itself as a great tanning oil.
Mixed with salt to remove dry skin on feet.
Can help speed weight loss when consumed daily.
Can help improve sleep when taken daily.
Can be used to speed healing of fungal infections when taken internally and used externally.
A tablespoon melted into a cup of warm tea can help sooth a sore throat.
To help sooth the itch of chicken pox or poison ivy.
It has been shown to increase absorption of calcium and magnesium.
Internally as part of the protocol to help remineralize teeth.
Some evidence shows that the beneficial fats in coconut oil can help with depression and anxiety.
By itself as a natural deodorant.
By itself or with baking soda as a naturally whitening toothpaste.
For pets struggling with skin issues when used externally.
Some evidence suggests that the beneficial fats in coconut oil are helpful for those with Autism.
In homemade vapor rub.
As a safe cooking oil for deep frying.
A tablespoon taken before each meal can help improve digestion.
Can be taken in warm ginger tea to sooth heartburn or nauseaAs a completely natural baby lotion.
On hands after doing dishes to avoid dry skin.
Mixed with catnip, rosemary, or mint essential oils as a natural bug repellent.
Can be used on mom’s nipple and baby’s mouth to help treat thrush.
Many use it as an anti-aging facial moisturizer.
Use to make coconut cream concentrate for a brain boosting snack
Can be used internally and externally to speed recovery from UTIs.
When taken regularly, it can help fight candida.
When taken regularly, it can boost hormone production.
Can relieve the pain of hemorrhoids when used topically.
Can boost circulation and help those who often feel coldOn cuticles to help nails grow.
Rub into elbows daily to help alleviate dry, flaky elbows.
Add to smoothies to give them a nutritional boost.
Internally during pregnancy to help provide baby necessary fats for development (especially when taken with Fermented Cod Liver Oil)
In any recipes where vegetable oils are usedWhipped with shea butter for a soothing body balm.
One reader swears by using coconut oil to treat yeast infection. She suggests soaking a tampon in it and inserting the tampon for a few hours.
Naturally clears up cold sores.
Ingesting coconut oil daily can help with allergy symptoms.
Ingesting coconut oil daily can increase mental alertness.
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