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Coconut oil: see benefits, ways of use and care

Coconut oil: see benefits, ways of use and care

Coconut oil is an oil extracted from the coconut fruit and there are two types of this functional food, refining and extra virgin. The first is made from the dried coconut, while the second is made with fresh coconut. In the latter case, it should be extracted up to 48 hours after harvest, preferably from a fruit that has come from a certified and organic plantation.

Normally, coconut oil is found in a liquid state at room temperature, only becoming solid and white when placed in low temperatures. The normal thing is that it does not spoil or become stale even when stored for some time. Its benefits are still controversial among the medical community and do not represent unanimity among experts. Rich in a different kind of saturated fats, medium-chain triglycerides, food has gained fame mainly for helping weight loss.

Benefits of Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil Helps You Lose Weight and Prevent Illness

Despite the high amount of saturated fats, the defenders' argument is that they are mostly medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), not long chain triglycerides, as we normally find in foods. And the advantage of this information is that they are better absorbed by the body, especially in the liver, being soon converted into energy and not accumulating as fat in the body. They are responsible for most of the benefits of coconut oil that some studies have shown and listed below:

Helps to lose weight: Who would have thought that saturated fats could be allied to diet, right? A study done in Canada in 2000 showed that people who consumed coconut oil had a higher fat oxidation, a process that causes their breakage, than people who followed diets with ordinary oils. When the fat is broken in the adipose tissue, it is used in the form of energy, that is, it does not accumulate in the body in the form of the famous little touches. But researchers have not been able to find the mechanism responsible for this change.

Another research conducted by the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro also indicates that the product helps us to accelerate the body's metabolism. This is because lauric acid, one of the MCTs, causes the cells to work in an accelerated way, thus consuming more calories, which would prevent the accumulation of localized fat and as a result would favor weight loss. According to the research, the oil would also be responsible for increasing the volume of lean mass, muscles, other allies for demanding more energy expenditure of the body, helping to lose weight.

Improves immunity: Lauric acid and capric acid, two of the TCMs of this oil, has the property of modulating the immune system. Some studies show this relationship, showing its effectiveness against fungi, viruses and bacteria, but scientists have not yet figured out how this works. An indirect way for him to contribute to immunity is to improve bowel work by eliminating bad bacteria.

Bring satiety: We all know that this sensation is the best friend of those who want to lose weight, after all the less we eat , the less energy we consume. Researchers at Columbia University and the New York Obesity Research Center, both in the United States, found that MCTs activate hormones such as cholecystokinin, YY peptide, and intestinal inhibitory peptides, all linked to feelings of satiety. This means that when consuming coconut oil for breakfast, for example, the tendency is that the amount of food eaten in the following meals will be less. In addition, they indicate that food can be well used in diets, but for this it is necessary to change all the consumption of fats from the menu, since it will be supplying only the amounts of saturated fat. You will need to consume less red meat and fried foods and prioritize fish, oilseeds, flours like flaxseed and oils like olive oil.Avoiding constipation:

Fatty foods usually aid in digestion, as the fat mixes the bolus and feces, facilitating its passage through the digestive system. In addition, lauric acid and its antibacterial properties eliminate the bad bacteria of the intestine, favoring its microbiota (intestinal flora) and thus improving the functioning of the organ. But, beware, excessive consumption can bring the rebound effect, causing diarrhea. It's beauty friend:

Some studies show that its consumption improves skin elasticity. It can also serve as a natural hair moisturizer, enhancing its shine and smoothness.

Coconut oil - Photo: Getty Images

However, the Brazilian Society of Cardiology (SBC) also confirms in its First Brazilian Guideline for Familial Hypercholesterolemia (HF), which is the most common cause of high cholesterol levels, that the lauric acid present in the food has the potential to increase this type of cholesterol in relation to other types of saturated fats, but it also elevates LDL, considered a bad cholesterol.

Therefore, SBC contraindicates coconut oil for people who have high cholesterol, and also calls for additional studies before consolidating their use for people with other syndromes in their metabolism. Main nutrients of coconut oil

Coconut oil - Per 15 g (one serving)


129 kcal

Total Fats15 g
Saturated Fats12,97 g
Monounsaturated Fats0,87 g
Polyunsaturated fats0.7 g
Iron0.01 mg
Vitamin E0.01 mg
Vitamin K0.1 mg
Source: US Department of Agriculture tableAs can be seen from the table, coconut oil is essentially composed of fats and most of the saturated fats represent almost 87% of the amount of this macronutrient.

The high saturated fat present in this oil makes it contraindicated by some health professionals. After all, this macronutrient, when consumed in large quantities, can increase the amount of LDL cholesterol considered to be bad.

To check, the daily indicated amount of saturated fat is 22 grams, for who consumes 2 thousand calories a day. Even the recommended portion of coconut oil is 15 g (one tablespoon) and contains 12.97 g of this nutrient, which is equivalent to 59% of the recommended daily value. See how much of the Daily Value * of some nutrients it carries per serving:

59% saturated fat

27% of total fat

  • 0.15% vitamin K
  • 0.1% vitamin E
  • 0.07% iron.
  • * Daily reference values ​​for adults based on a 2,000 kcal or 8,400 kJ diet. Your daily values ​​may be higher or lower depending on your energy needs.
  • Recommended amount of coconut oil

The ideal is to consume one tablespoon of coconut oil, after all that extrapolates the amount of saturated fat

Risks of overconsumption

If you ingest more than the recommended amount of oil, the shot will backfire. After all, there will be a greater consumption of energy than your expenditure, which always results in being overweight. It can also bring cardiovascular risks, with increased cholesterol. For help in digestion, in high amounts it can cause diarrhea.

How to consume coconut oil

It pays to add it to cold preparations such as salads and fruit juices. If you want to include it in hot dishes, use only the finish and do not put it on fire, so that it retains its antioxidant properties.

Coconut oil can be used to finish hot dishes, promoting mild flavor and aroma to dishes such as rice and fish. In its extra-virgin version, it can be used as a salad dressing.

Coconut oil can also be used in the preparation of cakes

  • It can be mixed in yogurts, juices or vitamins. The addition of the food leaves the drinks with a light taste of coconut
  • Coconut oil is not very recommended for use in frying, because besides being an unhealthy use, can leave the foods with coconut taste, as the
  • Compare coconut oil with other foods
  • The biggest differential of coconut oil is the type of saturated fat it contains: its fatty acids are medium chain triglycerides. They are metabolized directly into the liver and converted into energy, which, if not spent, does not accumulate as fat. There are even other foods that contain this type of triglyceride, but the amounts are so small that they are not even counted.

Where to find

  • You can find coconut oil in several supermarkets, pharmacies and natural products stores, including the internet. It can be sold in the version for culinary use or in capsules as a supplement. It is important to consult a specialist before beginning the consumption of the capsules, to understand the indication of daily consumption if without health risks.

Coconut oil recipes

Coconut oil salmon - photo: Getty Images

Thinking of how to include coconut oil in your day to day?

Amaranth and zucchini pie with coconut oil

Whole carrot cake, ginger and coconut oil

Salmon with coconut oil

Green banana muffin with cacao and coconut oil

Sources consulted

Nutritionist Karina Valentim, from PB Consultoria Nutricional, in São Paulo

Booklet "Coconut oil: the healthy fat", by Nutrologist Wilson Rondó Jr. (CRM SP 47.078), of São Paulo

I Brazilian Guideline for Family Hypercholesterolemia (HF) of the Brazilian Society of Cardiology, August 2012

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