Coconut oil is either extracted from copra (the kernel of the coconut palm fruit) or derived from its meaty interior, and like other edible oils, it can be processed into virgin, refined, and unrefined grades. The oil can be incorporated as an ingredient in baked goods, drinks, supplements, and hair products.
Snack and confectionery manufacturers like coconut oil because of its moderately high smoke point of around 350 degrees Fahrenheit and long shelf life, ranging from about two to five years depending on its type of refinement.
The oil as an ingredient for consumables like cookies may add various health benefits to your daily snack. For instance, coconut oil is rich in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), a type of saturated fat that may promote weight loss through its potential to make you feel satisfied post-meal, according to some research, including a study from the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Consumption of coconut oil may also help improve your endurance by potentially reducing lactate levels in your body, which may act as an indirect marker of the level of fatigue within your exercised muscles.
Coconut oil has many non-food applications, especially in cosmetics and skincare as an antimicrobial and moisturizing agent. When applied topically to your hair, coconut oil may reduce the amount of water absorbed by your hair, decreasing everyday hair damage. Also, it may hydrate your skin and act as an antibacterial, keeping infections away through its composition of fatty acids and antimicrobial properties.
In the U.S., coconut oil consumption has increased from last season, with imports for this season at 475,000 metric tons (MT), up 31,000 MT from 2020/21. As consumers are drawn to more natural, healthful products, instead of traditional commodities, interest in coconut oil may be growing.
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