Coconut oil in human diet - nutrition value and potential health benefits
Keywordscoconut palm, coconut oil, nutrition value, health benefits
Introduction and aim: Coconut products are becoming increasingly popular both in Poland and in the world. Their assortment is constantly increasing, but the most well-known coconut product is oil. Its use in human nutrition raises a lot of controversy, mainly due to the high proportion of saturated fatty acids. However, there are many clinical studies that suggest its positive effect on the human body. The aim of this article is to review the available literature on the nutritional value of coconut oil and health benefits after its consumption.
Brief description of the state of knowledge: Coconut oil belongs to the group of saturated fats, whose share in this type of oil is over 90%. The dominating fatty acid found in coconut oil is lauric acid (about 50% of the total of all acids), while the shares of other medium chain fatty acids (myristic, caprylic, capric) also has a high content of 5-20%. In addition, unrefined coconut oil is a valuable source of many biologically active compounds, such as sterols, tocols, and phenolic compounds, whose content in 100 g of product is 70 mg, 4 mg and 50 mg, respectively. Clinical studies show the beneficial effect of coconut oil on skin, heart, brain and liver. Coconut oil supplementation is also important both in the prevention and treatment of cancer, helps to reduce body fat, and also reduces the biological activity of many bacteria, viruses and fungi.
Summary: The collected data confirm that unrefined coconut oil is a valuable source of medium chain fatty acids and biologically active compounds such as sterols, tocols, and phenolic compounds. Such chemical composition of coconut oil suggests its beneficial effects on the body, both for children and adults.
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