( This Research Article has been written by Nutritionist Anum Nazir).She is Senior Lecturer in School of Nutritional sciences At University of Faisalabad).She is active worker for fight against hunger.Her credible work is mentioned.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF COCONUT OIL
Coconut oil plays a vital role in the life of human as a useful functional food. Coconut oil is exclusively important for the diet of human and is used almost everywhere in the world from an ancient time. Coconut oil consumption has number of persuasive benefits which is cherished a lot by everyone because they loved and knew the value of coconut oil. From the last 2 or 3 decades it has been found that the coconut oil is very important for the cure of different disease like heart or for diet or also as a source of nutrients, fats or oil. Furthermore, coconut oil is very useful for humans because it is a base of antimicrobial lipid and also a non-endorsing fat regarding the chemical carcinogenesis (Babuet al., 2014).
Coconut oil is plant with multiple resources and lots of benefits. Coconut oil can be found in any weather because its plant which grows naturally in any weather because of this reason everyone enjoys the fruit or oil of coconut in every season of the year. Coconut is resistant from outside. All the coconut which is cultivated has its own exclusive features that can be elaborate for the alteration of the configuration of fatty acid in percentage. This is recognized in numerous aspects for instance location and varietal differences as well as age of the nuts (Balleza) and Sierra 1976; Pham 1994 and 1996), time of the year the nuts are harvested, and age of copra before expelling(Laurels et al., 2000).
From the fresh coconut meat the coconut oil which is virgin is hauling out unswervingly. There are numerous methods which is presently used in general way with confidentiality; first method is by desiccating the nettled coconut meat which is fresh at low temperature (under 600 Celsius), is used to extract the oil. The other method to extract the oil is by extracting the coconut milk from the coconut meat which is fresh followed by the accumulation of enzyme or aging for some hours, or by motorized procedure which is consuming continuous extractor. The moisture level should be remain strictly at the minimum level because it is significant for the quality of virgin coconut oil to keep the moisture at minimum level.Philippine National Standard for Virgin Coconut Oil stipulates humidity and explosive matters content at 0.2% maximum. Furthermore, it designates the oil as colorless, sediment free, with natural fresh coconut scent, and free from rancid odor or taste(Carandang, 2008).
The most highly saturated and steady oil is coconut oil but it consist of nearby 10% fatty acids which is unsaturated and these unsaturated fatty acid are vulnerable to peroxidation that brings rancidity. As rancidity creates hostile reactions when it used externally like allergy on skin, stomach ache. So the prominence on devotion of humidity is gratifyingly bounds.(Carandang, 2008).
The coconut oil which is in the market is totally different from the virgin coconut oil because the commercial oil which is in the market is processed. The coconut meat which is dried or the copra helps to produce the latter and helps to go through the purifying method to create the oil fit for human consumption. The coconut oil which is used for cooking is also known as RBD which means refined, bleached and deodorized. The virgin coconut oil is not go through from the purifying or refinery process because it is already in edible form so there is no need to refine the virgin coconut oil. The term virgin refers only to the process and there are no chemical properties in the virgin coconut oil as in the RBD oil and VCO. Their consequence on well being of individuals would similarly be the same, given the same medium chain fatty acid (MCFA) configurations (Carandang, 2008).
Coconut oil as saturated oil is mostly small and medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) as opposed to other saturated fats like animal fats which are long chain triglycerides (LCTs). When ingested, MCT is readily burned in the body and dissipated as energy unlike LCT which goes to the circulatory system before it is finally being used as energy. The process leaves fatty deposits in the tissue. Aside from being LCT, most vegetable oils are polyunsaturated. Coconut oil contains less than 10 per cent unsaturate. It is the most stable oil and does not require further processing to make them stable. In contrast, LCT needs to be partially hydrogenated to make them stable. However, clinical studies show partial hydrogenation produce trans fatty acids that cause elevation in cholesterol (Enig 1990).Clinical studies done at the New England Deaconess Hospital (NEDH), a Harvard medical school affiliate, show that coconut oil is neutral in its effects on blood lipids and will not cause an increase in cholesterol or cause cardivascular disease (Norton et al., 2004).
Coconut oil even increased the High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) or the so called “good cholesterol”, reducing the risk for coronary heart disease. A preliminary study on the effects of coconut oil on HIV+AIDS gave very encouraging results with subjects’ viral load dramatically reduced and immune system enhanced as reflected in the CD4/ CD8 count. In animal experiments conducted using coconut oil or its derivative monolaurin, monolaurin removed the bacterial drug resistance of Sireptococcusaureus to Penicillin G. (Ontengco et al., 1998; Gamboa and Carandang 1998). Coconut oil prevented sepsis cause by E-coli endotoxin shock (Lim-Navarro et al., 1994), inhibited the actions of some mutacarcinogenic substances (Sylianco et al. 1992). Monolaurin is generally recognized as safe and can be tolerated in relatively high dose (Lazo and Dayrit 1998).
Innovations have been made regarding the presentation or packaging of VCO for the consuming public. Apart from being sold in bottles of various sizes, it now comes in capsules of 500mg. Likewise, flavors such as banana, sweet corn, jackfruit, have been added in some cases. Questions have arisen with respect to the addition of flavors suggesting the product would be no longer qualifiedas VCO because of the additive (Carandang, 2008).
The consumption of flavors as preservative does not alter the chemical characteristics of VCO. It only gives varietiesto the coconut flavor, a welcome innovation for those who cannotbear the coconut aroma. Though, it should be endured in mind that ingredient used as a preservative to VCO must be food grade observing to international ethicsestablished by the organizations like Codex, United States Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA). Condiments should not be responsive to cause any alteration in the chemical properties of VCO nor reduce its effectiveness as nutraceutical product (Carandang, 2008).
In the development of virgin coconut oil, the VCO mining contains tiny or no heat according to the essential requirements, the active biological substances that are usually vanished in the refining method, remain intact in the oil.These biological active substances which arepresent in virgin coconut oil incantations the alteration between VCO and RBD oil. These active substances gives lots of health and nutritional advantages particularly in preventing or reducing the chronic diseases, distantly from the protection already derived from MCFAs (Carandang, 2008).
In plants the biological, natural substances presence in it by nature. Whenever any oil is extracted from any kind of oil seeds then most of these substances is already present in the oil. Fatty acid in triglyceride form is the furthermost stable natural substance without high heat and lipase enzyme are added.
Long incubation is required for the production procedure of virgin oil such as the enzymatic and aging of coconut milk, erratic mixing is required to inhibit anaerobic situation that can lead to development of aldehydes or ketones which cause offensive flavor and odor as well as respond with the naturallyenergeticingredients(Carandang, 2008).
The oil which is extracted from coconut and the coconut itself plays an important role as a source of food in the life of men from many centuries. As coconut consist of saturated fatty acids and it is believed that coconut can be hypercholesterolemia in action. Currently, the oil which is gaining popularity in the public as well as in the scientific field is virgin coconut oil as it is assumed that the virgin coconut oil is full of advantages as compared to simple coconut oil subsequently the way of miningpreserves more naturallywith vigorousmechanisms such as vitamin E and polyphenols (Nevin&Rajamohan, 2004).
The term nutraceutical says to any material which has full of pharmacological effects as well as nutritional value. The nutraceutical substance has classic instance of mothers milk which deliver infant the nutrients which is helpful in growth as well as for boosting the immune system due to its antiviral and antimicrobial and other protective characteristics.(Carandang, 2008)
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