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Health Benefits

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil finds extensive use in food, toiletry and industrial sectors because of its unique characteristics. The numerous qualities of coconut oil reported are:

  •  Oil of natural origin
  •  Edible in raw form
  •  Saturated and stable
  •  Pleasing flavour
  •  Light colour
  •  Pleasant aroma
  •  Biodegradable
  •  High resistance to oxidative rancidity
  •  Sharp melting behaviour
  •  Narrow temperature range of melting
  •  Skin friendly oil
  •  Effective heat transfer agent in frying
  •  Better shelf life for fried product
  •  Contributes to palatability
  •  Ideal for deep frying
  •  Ideal confectionery fat
  •  Provides moisture barrier and imparts high gloss for bakery items in spray oil use
  •  Carrier and protective agent for fat soluble vitamins
  •  Low viscosity
  •  Superior baby oil
  •  Oldest and most widely used cosmetic raw material
  •  Contains 91 per cent assimilable glycerides
  •  Maximum glycerine content
  •  Easily saponifiable even in cold
  •  Good emollient on skin, skull and hair
  •  Gives softness and suppleness to skin on regular massaging
  •  Spreads easily on the skin when used as massage oil
  •  Excellent base for hair oil
  •  Provides gloss to hair
  •  Germicidal and antimicrobial property
  •  Lowers evaporative loss of water from skin
  •  Protects skin from heat
  •  Ready penetration into the skin and appreciable water absorbing property
  •  Nourishes the hair roots and provides coolness to the body
  •  Imparts hardness and lathering property to soaps
  •  Illuminant and lubricant
  •  Does not leave a smoky flame if used in open lamps
  •  Only slight changes on hydrogenation
  •  Blends well with other oils
  •  Easily hydrolyses
  •  Highest saponification value and lowest iodine value
  •  Potential fatty raw material in chemical industry due to its biodegradable nature
  •  Excellent fat source in the preparation of filled milk and infant food formulae
  •  Essential for the manufacture of toilet soaps, shaving cream, liquid soaps,
  •  natural shampoo and other cosmetics
  •  Desirable emulsifying property
  •  No harmful effects due to reheating
  •  Can be converted into diesel fuel
  •  Essential ingredient in ghee substitutes
  •  Contains fatty acid derivatives such as monoglycerides, fatty esters, polyol esters, fatty ethanolamide, ethoxylates, polysorbates and betaines
  •  Contains fatty alcohol derivatives such as fatty chlorides, fatty alcohol sulphate and fatty alcohol ether sulphate.

Nutritional / Medicinal

  •  Does not contain cholesterol (All vegetable oils does not contain cholesterol, but animal fats contain cholesterol eg: cow milk, butter, ghee, curd, non-veg foods, etc.)
  •  Easy digestibility and absorbability
  •  Ideal energy source in baby foods
  •  Contains Vitamin E
  •  Composed mainly of short and Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFA) or Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) which have desirable qualities and functions
  •  Reduced fat accumulation in body
  •  Easily oxidized and therefore a preferred energy source
  •  Requires no transport system to absorb, digest and metabolize
  •  Very low content of Omega 6 fatty acid
  •  Helps maintain healthy ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids when consumed as a part of diet
  •  Rich content of lauric acid, the source of disease fighting fatty acid derivative monolaurin
  •  Contains 6-8 per cent monounsaturated oleic acid
  •  Inhibitory effect against certain chemical carcinogens
  •  Superior antigenotoxic activity.
  •  Coconut oil aids faster absorption of calcium and thereby strengthens bones and teeth.
  •  The saturated fats in coconut oil have antimicrobial properties. Hence, coconut oil is highly effective against microbes that cause indigestion.
  •  Coconut oil also helps in the absorption of vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

Studies undertaken by the Biochemistry Department, University of Kerala showed that coconut oil:

  •  Does not elevate blood total cholesterol
  •  Increases blood HDL cholesterol
  •  Consumed along with coconut kernel lowers blood cholesterol
  •  Does not elevate LDL cholesterol or LDL cholesterol / HDL cholesterol ratio
  •  Decreases serum triglycerides.

Why is coconut oil your weapon to fight Cholesterol?

  •  It is composed mainly of medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) or medium chain triglycerides (MCT) that are burned almost immediately to produce energy for the body.
  •  They are not converted into body fat or cholesterol to the degree other fats are.
  •  Coconut oil, has low polyunsaturated fatty acid, is very stable and resistant to oxidation.
  •  This makes it excellent cooking oil, thereby protecting our cells against damage.
  •  Since coconut oil is naturally saturated (>90%), it does not need hydrogenation, thereby considerably reducing the chances of high blood cholesterol and high low density lipoproteins (LDL).
  •  On the other hand, it helps retain high-density lipoproteins (HDL) - the good cholesterol.
  •  A diet that consists of coconut oil with its MCTs (Medium Chain Triglycerides) ensures higher energy levels, a rise in metabolism and consequently, reduced body weight.
  •  Coconut oil is effective in reducing body fat and lowering weight because it contains fewer calories than any other fat.
  •  Coconut oil possesses a distinct short and medium chain fatty acid composition.
  •  Over 70% of the saturated fatty acids present in coconut oil are short and medium chain containing less than 12 carbon atoms.
  •  The medium chain fatty acids account for 63.5% of the total fatty acids.
  •  The Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) undergo a faster and more complete digestion in the stomach and upper small intestine than the Long Chain Triglycerides (LCTs).
  •  The products of MCT hydrolysis are absorbed into the intestinal cells almost as fast as glucose and are carried directly to the liver.
  •  The LCTs on the other hand, undergo a slow process of digestion and the products of digestion are then transported to the liver via the lymphatics and systemic circulation.
  •  Consequently, the LCTs are distributed systematically to all parts of the body before reaching the liver.
  •  LCTs are therefore, more prone to be deposited as fat in the peripheral tissues or fat depots than the short and medium chain fatty acids.

SATURATED FAT - with a difference

  •  Coconut oil is a saturated fat from plant origin and cannot be equated with saturated fat from animal sources.
  •  Coconut oil is healthy because it is predominantly comprised of MCFAs or MCTs, which are readily metabolised in the body and converted to energy instantaneously.
  •  Coconut oil being a naturally saturated oil does not contain any trans fat.
  •  Saturated fats are classified into two primary categories (1) long chain fats and (2) short and medium chain fats.
  •  Medium chain fats in coconut oil are similar to fats in mothers' milk.
  •  Thus, despite the fact that saturated fats are harmful, those present in coconut oil are in a league of their own.
  •  Lauric acid, prominent among the MCFAs present in coconut oil has qualities similar to mother's milk.
  •  When lauric acid enters human body it gets converted to monolaurin, an immunity enhancing compound.

Good for Diabetics

  •  Coconut oil with its MCTs, put less of a demand on the enzyme production of the pancreas.
  •  This lessens the stress on the pancreas during meal time when insulin is produced most heavily, thus allowing the organ to function efficiently.
  •  Coconut oil improves the secretion of insulin thus controlling blood sugar.
  •  It also helps in effective utilization of blood glucose.

Virgin Coconut oil Back to Top

Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) is extracted from fresh coconut milk obtained from mature kernel (12 months old from pollination) of coconut by mechanical or natural means, with or without the application of heat, which does not lead to alteration of the nature of the oil. VCO can be consumed in its natural state without the need for further processing. Hence, VCO does not undergo chemical refining, bleaching or deodorizing. Virgin coconut oil is colorless, free of sediment and has natural fresh coconut scent. It is free from rancid odor or taste. Virgin coconut oil consists mainly of medium chain fatty acids. The fatty acids in virgin coconut oil are distinct from animal fats which mainly consist of long chain saturated fatty acids.

Virgin coconut oil consists mainly of medium chain fatty acids. The most important medium chain fatty acid found in VCO is lauric acid. It constitutes 48 % of VCO. Lauric acid possess powerful anti microbial properties capable of destroying disease causing bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites. Researches show that the presence of medium chain fatty acids in mother’s milk is the primary ingredient that protects new born infants from infections for the first few months of their life, while their immune system is still developing. Dr.Jon J Kabara, Ph.D of Michigan State University and Consultant, USA has done pioneered studies on the antimicrobial properties of fatty acids in the 1980s. Two of his most important conclusions are that lauric acid is the most active antimicrobial fatty acid and that monolaurin is the most effective antimicrobial compound that can be derived from coco chemicals. According to him, medium chain fats in coconut oil are similar to fats in mother’s milk and have similar nutriceutical benefits. VCO has considerable potential for therapeutic uses such as antimicrobial, anti-HIV/AIDS drug, for anti-cancer therapy and for the treatment of Alzhiemer’s disease.

VCO is the best possible remedy to various skin ailments. Ms. Vermen M Verallo Rowell, Founder and program Director of VMV Skin Research Center + Clinic (VSRC), Philippine has told that since year 2000, VCO was used at VSRC for patients with dry and often microbially colonized psoriasis, acne, atopic, contact dermatitis and rosacea lesion.VCO is the best skin care solution for babies. Free from all chemical formulations and assures good protection to the baby skin.

Study by Department of Nutrition, University of Indonesia reveals that VCO also helps to improve blood glucose and lipid profile of type 2 diabetics, due to its readiness to provide energy to body cells.

Essential Composition and Quality factors of VCO as per APCC

Parameters
1 Moisture (%) Max 0.1
2 Matters Volatile at 1200 C (%) Max 0.2
3 Free Fatty Acid (%) Max 0.2
4 Peroxide Value meq/kg Max 3
5 Relative density 0.915 – 0.920
6 Refractive index at 400 C 1.4480 – 1.4492
7 Insoluble impurities per cent by mass Max 0.05
8 Saponification Value 250 – 260 min
9 Iodine Value 4.1 -11
10 Unsaponifiable matter % by mass, max 0.2 - 0.5
11 Specific gravity at 30 deg./30 deg. C 0.915 – 0.920
12 Polenske Value, min 13
13 Total Plate Count < 0.5
14 Color Water clean
15 Odor and Taste Natural fresh coconut scent,free of sediment,
free from rancid odor and taste

Virgin Coconut oil: Mother of all oils

  •  Virgin coconut oil (VCO) is abundant in vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants, thus making it the 'mother of all oils'.
  •  Extracted from fresh coconut kernel without any chemical processes, it is the purest form of coconut oil, water white in colour..
  •  Virgin coconut oil is a major source of Lauric Acid and Vitamin E.
  •  The virgin coconut oil is free from trans fatty acid, high in medium chain fats (MCFA) or medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) known as lauric acid, which is identical to special group of fats found in human breast milk.
  •  VCO is widely consumed as MCT oil for weight loss treatment, etc.
  •  MCT's are more easily and rapidly digested than other types of fats, as they require lower amounts of enzymes and bile acids for intestinal absorption.
  •  MCT's are metabolized very quickly in the liver and are reported to encourage an increase in energy expenditure, while decreasing fat storage.
  •  Numerous studies suggest that substituting MCT Oil for other fats in a healthy diet may therefore help to support healthy weight and body composition.
  •  High quality of this oil makes it an ideal massage oil for babies and also for skin and hair applications.
  •  It protects the skin from infections caused by bacteria, viruses and fungi, prevents dandruff and hair loss.
  •  It even eases muscular pain.
  •  Supplement your body with antioxidants. Antioxidant is your body's natural defense against free radicals.
  •  It prevents the chain reaction of free radicals and mars sagging and unsightly wrinkles.
  •  Rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin E, virgin coconut oil slows down the ageing process and assures the best of life and beauty to your skin.
  •  It also helps in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

Coconut Kernel Back to Top

  •  Coconut kernel is nutritious and rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals
  •  Coconut is a natural anti-bacterial and anti-viral food.
  •  You can get the benefit of coconut fibre by eating fresh or dried coconut and adding coconut to recipes.
  •  A multitude of studies have demonstrated that dietary fibre protects against heart attacks and strokes.
  •  Diet rich in coconut kernel prevent digestive disorders and it regulates bowel activity.
  •  It restores thyroid functions and increases the metabolic rate.
  •  Coconut flour is the residue obtained after extraction of milk from kernel. It is dried, defatted and finely ground into a powder resembling wheat flour.
  •  Coconut flour is low in indigestible carbohydrate and high in fibre (61%).

What the Tradition says

The property of an oil follows the source from which it is extracted.

Coconut fruit belongs to the sweet group. Sweet is creative of Kapha and which acts against Vata and Pitta.

Regarding the properties of the fruits of the sweet group, Vagbhata says "They are builders, heavy and cooling. They are with sweet taste and in post digestion also sweet. They are unctuous but a bit holding up of bowels; good to release burning sensation, to heal lesions and hurts due to accidents, etc. It clears bloods and subsides Pitta (the heat). It promotes Kapha and semen (improves sexual potency)".

"Coconut fruit is agreeable to heart", says Gunapadom, a Kerala text.
Health Benefits of Coconut Oil - Articles appeared on Coconut Journal

Tender Coconut Water Back to Top



Coconut water refers to the liquid endosperm of a tender coconut at an age of approximately 9 months from time of pollination, the period before the solid endosperm or white meat forms. It is a pure and nutritious beverage in the natural state. The coconut husk is an excellent package for the water which contains sugars, minerals, amino acids and vitamins.

Tender coconut water is a natural source of electrolytes, minerals, vitamins, complex carbohydrates, Amino acids and other nutrients. The natural carbohydrate content is between 4-5% of the liquid solution. This make coconut water particularly suitable for the burgeoning sports drink market. According to Sports Science Institute (USA), sports drinks containing under 5% carbohydrates are likely to provide benefits, while those exceeding 10% carbohydrate content, like most soft drinks are associated with abdominal cramps, nausea and diarrhea.

Isotonic and bacetriologically sterile properties of fresh coconut water, straight out of the nut, promoted its use as a direct plasma replacement by military forces in the Asian theatre of combat during World War II.

It has caloric value of 17.4 per 100gm. "It is unctuous, sweet, increasing semen, promoting digestion and clearing the urinary path," says Ayurveda on tender coconut water (TWC).

Numerous medicinal properties of tender coconut water reported are:-

  1. Good for feeding infants suffering from intestinal disturbances.
  2. Oral rehydration medium
  3. Contains organic compounds possessing growth promoting properties
  4. Keeps the body cool
  5. Application on the body prevents prickly heat and summer boils and subsides the rashes caused by small pox, chicken pox, measles, etc.
  6. Kills intestinal worms
  7. Presence of saline and albumen makes it a good drink in cholera cases
  8. Checks urinary infections.
  9. Excellent tonic for the old and sick
  10. Cures malnourishment.
  11. Diuretic
  12. Effective in the treatment of kidney and urethral stones
  13. Can be injected intravenously in emergency case.
  14. Found as blood plasma substitute because it is sterile, does not produce heat, does not destroy red blood cells and is readily accepted by the body.
  15. Aids the quick absorption of the drugs and makes their peak concentration in the blood easier by its electrolytic effect.
  16. Urinary antiseptic and eliminates poisons in case of mineral poisoning.

"It’s a natural isotonic beverage with the same level of electrolytic balance as we have in our blood. It’s the fluid of life, so to speak," says Mr. Morton Satin, Chief of FAO’s Agricultural Industries and Post Harvest Management Service.

The major chemical constituents of coconut water are sugars and minerals and minor ones are fat and nitrogenous substances.

Average composition of tender coconut (per nut) (6-8 months old)
Variety Age
(months)
Total
weight
g
Water
g
Jelly
g
Husk
g
Husk
g
Total
acidity
Total
solids %
Tall 6/8 2,933 349.3 92 2,501 5.2 0.06 4.6
Yellow Dwarf 7/8 2,443 327.5 62.1 2,056 4.8 0.10 5.0
Orange Dwarf 7/8 2,753 319.2 92.3 2,350 4.8 0.06 6.4
Green Dwarf 6/8 2,360 435.3 33.2 2,176 4.8 0.09 5.6
Analysis of Mature and Tender Coconut Water
  Mature Coconut Water Tender Coconut Water
Total solids% 5.4 6.5
Reducing sugars % 0.2 4.4
Minerals % 0.5 0.6
Protein % 0.1   0.01
Fat % 0.1   0.01
Acidity mg % 60.0   120.0    
pH 5.2 4.5
Potassium mg% 247.0     290.0    
Sodium mg% 48.0    42.0  
Calcium mg% 40.0    44.0  
Magnesium mg % 15.0    10.0  
Phosphorous mg% 6.3  9.2
Iron mg% 79.0    106.0    
Copper mg% 26.0    26.0  
Source: Satyavati Krishnankutty (1987)
Sugars

Sugars in the forms of glucose and fructose form an important constituent of the tender nut water. The concentration of sugars in the nut water steadily increases from about 1.5 per cent to about 5 - 5.5 per cent in the early months of maturation and then slowly falls reaching about 2 per cent at the stage of the full maturity of the nut. In the early stages of maturity sugars are in the form of glucose and fructose (reducing sugars) and sucrose (non-reducing sugar) appears only in later stages which increases with the maturity while the reducing sugars fall. In the fully mature nut approximately 90 per cent of the total sugars is sucrose.

Minerals

Tender coconut water contains most of the minerals such as potassium, sodium, calcium, phosphorous, iron, copper, sulphur and chlorides. Among the minerals more than half is potassium the concentration of which is markedly influenced by potash manuring. Tender coconut water being rich in potassium and other minerals plays a major role to increase the urinary output.

Protein

Coconut water contains small amounts of protein. The percentage of arginine, alanine, cystine and serene in the protein of tender coconut water are higher than those in cow’s milk. Since it does not contain any complex protein the danger of producing shock to the patients is minimised.

Amino Acid Composition of Coconut Water 
(% of total protein)

Alanine 2.41
Arginine 10.75
Aspartic acid 3.60
Cystine 0.97 - 1.17
Glutamic acid 9.76 - 14.5
Histidine 1.95 - 2.05
Leucine 1.95 - 4.18
Lysine 1.95 - 4.57
Proline 1.21 - 4.12
Phenylalanine 1.23
Serine 0.59 - 0.91
Tyrosine 2.83 - 3.00
Source: Pradera et al, 1942
Vitamins

Tender coconut water contains both ascorbic acid and vitamins of B group. The concentration of ascorbic acid ranges from 2.2 to 3.7mg per ml, which gradually diminishes as the kernel surrounding the water begins to harden.

Vitamins of B Group in Coconut Water
Nicotinic acid 0.64 microgram / ml
Pantothenic acid 0.52 ,,
Biotin 0.02 ,,
Riboflavin < 0.01 ,,
Folic acid 0.003 ,,
Thiamine Trace ,,
Pyridoxine Trace ,,
Source: The Wealth of India (1950)
Minimal Processing of Tender coconut water

Perishability of tender coconut is relatively high and once the tender coconuts are detached from the bunches its natural freshness will get lost within 24 to 36 hours even under refrigerated conditions unless treated scientifically. The bulkiness of tender coconut is due to the husk which accounts for two-third of the volume of tender nut.

Handling of tender coconuts will be easy if a major part of the husk is removed. But, when partial removal of husk is done the colour of the nut will be changed to brown thereby reducing the attractiveness of the nut. Technologies for minimal processing of tender coconut have been developed for retaining the flavour and to prevent discolouration. The technology for minimal processing of tender coconut developed by Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) involves dipping partially dehusked tender coconut in a solution of 0.50% citric acid and 0.50% potassium metabisulphate for three minutes. The product can be stored up to 24 days in refrigerated condition at 5-7 degree centigrade. By using this process, tender coconut can be transported to distant place served chilled like any other soft drink. Optimized uniform size facilitates using of plastic crates and insulated chill boxes for transporting and storage.

Preservation and Packing Tender coconut water in pouches/ aluminium cans

The Coconut Development Board in collaboration with Defence Food Research Laboratory, Mysore has developed the technology for packing tender coconut water in pouches/ aluminium cans with shelf life of more than six months under normal ambience condition and 12 months under refrigerated condition. The process involves collection of tender coconut water under hygienic conditions, up gradation and pasteurization, filtration and packaging either in Bottles or cans as the case may be. Additives such as nissin and sweeteners will be added to the product.

Snow ball tender nut

Snow ball tender nut is a tender coconut without husk, shell and testa which is ball shaped and white in colour. Coconut of 8 month old is more suitable for making SBTN in which there is no decrease in quantity of tender water and the kernel is sufficiently soft. The process has been developed for making the SBTN. Important steps involved in the process are dehusking of the nut, making groove in the shell and scooping of the tender kernel in ball shape without breakage by using a scooping tool. The groove has to make by using a machine which is under the progress of development.