Coconut oil is a type of edible oil extracted from the kernel or meat of mature coconuts harvested from the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera). It has various applications in food, medicine, and industry. Coconut oil is composed of mainly saturated fat and is high in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), making it a preferred choice for many consumers.
The major fatty acids in coconut oil are lauric acid (C12:0), myristic acid (C14:0), caprylic acid (C8:0), capric acid (C10:0), palmitic acid (C16:0), oleic acid (C18:1), and linoleic acid (C18:2). Lauric acid comprises about 50% of the fatty acid content, making it the most abundant fatty acid in coconut oil. Myristic and lauric acids are both saturated fatty acids, with myristic acid accounting for about 20%. The remaining fatty acids are all unsaturated and include oleic acid, linoleic acid, caprylic acid, and capric acid.
Coconut oil also contains small amounts of other compounds, including vitamins E and K, tocopherols, and phytosterols. These compounds are believed to contribute to the health benefits associated with coconut oil.
Coconut oil is a stable and long-lasting oil, with a shelf life of up to two years when stored in a cool, dark place. It is also resistant to oxidation and rancidity, making it a popular choice for cooking and baking.
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