Coconuts seem like just a simple round nut, or maybe a fruit? In the tropics, you find them just laying on the ground.
But then…go into a store, and you see so many products with coconut in them. How did this all get started? Where do coconuts come from? When Spanish explorers first found coconuts, they thought the 3 dimples on them made them look like the grinning face of a monkey.
They called them “Coco”. Years later, when coconuts arrived in England, the “nut” was added to the end. Scientists believe this prehistoric plant first came from the south Pacific.
Coconuts are water-resistant and can float over an ocean. They now grow in abundance in all over the Pacific and Indian ocean regions. They are found in southern Asia, Polynesia, Malaysia and Africa.
Growing as tall as 30 meters high, coconut trees love hot sunny climates with a lot of rain.
They grow best in sandy soil, so they are often seen close to the ocean. Coconut trees can produce coconuts up to as many as 13 times each year.
There is quite a bit of confusion as to whether a coconut is a fruit or a nut. Botanists will tell you that it is actually a fruit or a drupe, commonly called stone fruit.
Coconuts can be used for many things. We can make use of the entire coconut. Even the husk can be burned as an insect repellant. Here are some uses for the rest of a coconut:
- Coconut water is full of potassium. You can buy it plain or flavored. It makes a great liquid base for a smoothie.
- Coconut oil is high in fatty acids, making it heart healthy when used in cooking. You can fry with it or use it as you would any other oil. It’s also used in skin care and hair products.
- Coconut milk is made of coconut meat and water. It is thick, like cream and very high in calories and fat but you can substitute with “lite” coconut milk for less calories and fat.
- Coconut flour can be used like any other flour in baking recipes. It’s packed full of fiber, gluten-free and lowers the glycemic index, making it good for diabetics.
- Coconut meat is low in carbohydrates and crammed with fiber but it’s also full of fat and not the healthy kind. It’s available in different consistencies, like flakes, or butter, or whole. You can buy it fresh or dried.
Adding coconut to your diet can:
- Help your body to absorb calcium and magnesium more effectively to strengthen your bones.
- If can help you to lose weight.
- The lauric acid in virgin coconut oil can help protect you against viruses and infections.
- It helps relieve inflammation.
- Coconut raises your good cholesterol levels.
What Kind of Coconut Oil is Best?
Coconut oils come in liquid or solid form. Solid requires a temperature of about 75 degrees Fahrenheit to melt into liquid.
Once the temperature drops to below 70 degrees, it once again becomes solid. The liquid form mixes well with other oils and makes a perfect carrier oil for essential oils and such.
In order for coconut oil to stay in its liquid form, it must be processed and changed to lower the melting temperate. Liquid coconut oils are also referred to as fractionated oils. Fractionated coconut oil is first refined to remove impurities. After that, the oil is put through a process of hydrolysis and steam distillation to remove the long-chain fatty acids.
This causes the oil to require a lower temperature to melt. Now, it is no longer solid. It’s a clear liquid with no smell or taste. Along with the fatty acids, lauric acid is also removed.
Lauric acid has many health benefits. It kills viruses, fungi and bacteria. Because fractionated oils no longer contain lauric acid, they don’t have the same health benefits as virgin oils do.
Virgin coconut oil will offer the most benefits since it is the least processed of all the coconut oils. It will be higher in antioxidants and nutrients because it has been allowed to keep more of its natural components. Whereas, in refined and fractionated coconut oil many of the natural beneficial properties have been removed. Virgin coconut oil are extracted with out heat from the coconut milk of fresh coconuts. This is what you want to see in your skin care moisturizers and other products.
Benefits of using virgin coconut oil in skin care products:
- It is full of fatty acids which help reduce inflammation. This helps reduce the redness and inflammation in acne prone skin.
- Virgin coconut oil is a natural antibacterial. You will see less breakouts since it helps to kill the bacteria that may be causing them.
- Coconut oil doesn’t clog pores, so it will not cause further breakouts.
- Antioxidants in coconut oil will help prevent premature aging and wrinkles.
- Coconut oil is highly moisturizing.
- It penetrates deeply to strengthen skin tissues.
- Coconut oil absorbs quickly so you don’t feel greasy.
- It has a long shelf life and doesn’t go rancid easily.
- Virgin coconut oil contains Vitamins C, A and E. It helps with sun damage, tightens and firms.
When choosing skin care products consider ones that combine several beneficial ingredients. That way you are getting the most for your money. A few star ingredients to look for are:
- Rose oil, which helps to fade scars and correct pigmentation issues. It has anti-inflammatory and astringent properties. Rose oil helps calm sensitive skin and reduce redness. It is great as a facial moisturizing oil.
- Peppermint oil energizes your skin and promotes blood flow giving you a bright fresh look. It helps to balance out the natural oils in your skin to help you have fewer breakouts.
Organic skin care products from a reputable company are a good choice. You want products that combine quality ingredients to give you the outcome you’re after.
Virgin coconut oil is an amazing ingredient that can added to improve skin and overall health. Don’t just add it to your skin care routine, add it to your life.