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Review Article Open Access

A Review on Coconut Oil : An Essential Oil for all Purposes

Abstract

Coconut oil is produced by crushing copra, the dried kernel, which contains about 60-65% of the oil. The oil has the natural sweet taste of coconut and contains 92% of saturated fatty acids (in the form of triglycerides), most of them (about 70%) are lower chain saturated fatty acids known as medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs). MCFAs are not common to different vegetable oils with lauric acid at 45-56%. Various fractions of coconut oil have medium chain triglycerides and are excellent solvent for flavours, essences, emulsifiers etc. These fatty acids are used in the preparation of emulsifiers, as drugs and also in cosmetics. Its metabolism is different from that of the normal vegetable oils containing long chain fatty acids. Hence, it cannot be generalized as oil similar in properties to that of a 92% long chain saturated fatty acids containing oil/ fat. More studies are required to prove the good effects of coconut oil, medium chain triglycerides (MCT) and the fatty acids on humans especially on the ill effects on cardiovascular and other diseases. Coconut oil is edible oil obtained from the kernel of harvested mature coconuts of the coconut palm .In recent years this oil has attained superstardom in the health food world. Celebrities are adopting its use, nutritionists advocating it, and patients acclaiming its many virtues. A number of health benefits have been attributed to this oil. These include benefits in skin care, hair care, stress relief, weight loss and cholesterol level maintenance, immunomodulatory effects, cardiovascular uses, and more recently in Alzheimer’s disease .However for several years, coconut oil was demonized and consumers were made to believe that coconut oil is deleterious to health as it would block the arteries and cause heart disease. The tide has turned and in recent time’s recognition of the positive health effects of coconut oils have emerged stronger. The use of coconut oil, especially virgin coconut oil is in vogue, though some people still remain skeptical. This article attempts to review the coconut oil, it’s chemical compositions, and it’s therapeutic uses.

Prince Pal*, Dikshit Rathva, Devendra Parmar, Juhil Patel, Siddhi Upadhyay*, Umesh Upadhyay*

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