Coconut oil is extracted from the kernel or meat of mature coconuts. Once shunned for its high saturated fat content, coconut oil’s popularity and sales in Singapore have soared in recent years. In fact, the unique blend of fatty acids contained in coconut oil is said to have plenty of health benefits.
Coconut oil has a relatively low smoke point. It is ideal for sautéing and baking without affecting the food’s taste and nutritional value. It can also be eaten on its own, as a spread on toast, and even mixed into coffee or smoothies.
Benefits of Coconut Oil
Although coconut oil is almost 90% saturated fat, it is mainly comprised of medium-chain fatty acids, which are smaller fat molecules that are immediately absorbed and converted into energy. These medium-chain fatty acids help the body to use fat for energy more efficiently, boosting metabolism. In contrast, other fats and oils are made up of long-chain fatty acids. These larger molecules are more difficult for the body to break down, and easily stored as fat in the body.
Half of the fatty acid content is also comprised of lauric acid, which is effective in treating bacterial and fungal infections such as candida, athlete’s foot, measles and influenza. Other than its antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties, it also boosts the immune system.
The fatty acids in coconut oil reduce inflammation, and also contains many antioxidants that help to heal the skin. It is a great moisturizer for all skin types, providing relief for those suffering from skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
Coconut oil also works wonderfully as a leave-in hair conditioner. Coating hair in coconut oil and letting it rest for an hour or two before washing off will allow follicles to soak up as much moisture as possible, resulting in soft and shiny hair.
Where to Buy Coconuts in Singapore
Coconuts can be purchased at Tekka Market (Level 1 of Tekka Centre, 665 Buffalo Road). Several vendors sell freshly grated coconuts that are made on the spot.