Is Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera) Safe For Baby?

Is Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera) Safe For Baby? – Yes, Coconut Oil is from the fruit tree of coconut, also known as Cocos nucifera oil [1]. The tree has a higher water content than other fruits which is widely harvested for various purposes – a characteristic that sets it apart from the other fruit trees. One of the many misconceptions about the coconut’s classification – it is not a nut as per commonly stated. It is a drupe – a thick-skinned fruit which contains a seed at the center [2].

Coconut Oil

Table Of Contents

What Is Coconut Oil  •  Origins  •  Baby Health Benefits
 Is Coconut Oil Safe For Babies  •  Benefit In Baby Skin Care Products

Virgin Coconut Oil Uses

Organic virgin coconut oil is used in many industries, from cosmetics to pharmaceuticals. In fact, aside from the oil and the coconut juice, the coconut palm provides countless benefits. Communities around the world use this natural oil as a staple ingredient in creating beauty products as well as medicine.

It’s well known in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, a part of low-fat diets and subsequent weight loss. As far as heart disease is concerned, coconut oil raises the “bad” LDL cholesterol levels but also gives “good” HDL cholesterol a boost [3].

It is commonly used in conditioning products for hair and skin, as well as in moisturizing creams and lotions. That is because the coconut oil for hair promotes growth and gives hair a smooth and lustrous look [4].

Coconuts Are Part Of The Palm Family

Organic Cocos nucifera oil originates from the genus Cocos which belongs to the Palm family [5].  The Cocos nucifera does not have branches, is monoecious and has a columnar trunk that is grey-brown in appearance. It usually grows from 9-18 meters but can go up to 30 meters in height. Dwarf coconut trees also exist and are much smaller in height than the usual tree. The coconut palm grows like feathers, is stalkless and is 4 – 7 meters long and 1 – 1.5 meters in width [6].

Coconut Tree Flowers

The coconut tree also bears flowers. Each flower is light yellow and grows in clusters. Male and female flowers exist in coconut trees. The male flower is small and emerges in large numbers while the female flower is fewer but larger in diameter [7].

Coconuts Are Classified As Fruit

The coconut is considered a fruit and contains a cavity inside its innermost layer. This area is filled with coconut water which is very prominent in unripe coconut fruits. It is green in color when unripe and turns to brown as they further mature [8].  The coconut water, when put through appropriate extraction processes, contains essentials oils that are beneficial in making organic coconut oil, virgin coconut oil, unrefined coconut oil, and various coconut oil uses [9].

Known As The Tree Of Life

Because of the multiple benefits of coconut oil, the coconut tree is dubbed as the “tree of heaven” or “tree of life.” From medicine and food to organic Cocos nucifera oil, the coconut tree can provide humans with all the necessities [11].

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Coconut Oil Origins

Origins Of Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera)

Organic Cocos nucifera oil is made through the process of pressing the fat that originates from the inner cavity or nut of the coconut tree [11].  Butter and coconut oil have very close characteristics. Almost 84% of the coconut oil’s calories derive from saturated fat while butter has 63%. And just like butter, the coconut oil can turn into solid at cool room temperatures and has a long storage life [12].

How Coconuts Got Their Name

For many centuries, the coconut tree has been used and widely consumed all over the world, especially in Asian, African, and Indian countries. The term “coconut” first emerged in the 1600s. The term Nucifera means Latin for “nut-bearing” while the term Cocos derives from the Portuguese folklore ghost called the “coco” which bears a similar resemblance [13].

Coconuts Were First Cultivated In India

It is also believed to have been first cultivated along the Malabar Coast in India before the time of Christ. It then became prominent in Sri Lanka during the time of Christ. The cultivation of coconut oil for hair as well as virgin coconut oil, extra virgin coconut oil, and organic coconut oil is heavily practiced in other parts of Asia including Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea [14].

Originally Known As An “Indian nut” In The 5th Century A.D.

The first ever sighting of the coconut palm dates back to the 5th Century A.D. In reports, an Egyptian traveler was traveling through Costas and found an “Indian nut.” Scholars today are convinced that it was the coconut fruit. Fast forward to the 19th Century, more sightings of the coconut tree came up, particularly in the markets of China. Sinbad the Sailor also talked about the tree in the book 1,001 Arabian Nights, Marco Polo referred to it as the “nux indica” back in 1280, and Sir Francis Drake called it the “nargils.” Eventually, around the 1700s, the Portuguese gave it the name it uses today [15].

In the Portuguese language, the coconut means “skull” or “head” – a shape that closely resembles the fruit [16].  Other scientific names of the coconut are Cocos Indica Royle, Calappa Nucifera, Cocos nana Griffith, and the Cocos nucifera var. synphyllica Becc [17].

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Benefits Of Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil Benefits For Babies

Moisturizer For Baby’s Skin

One of the many benefits of virgin Cocos Nucifera is its ability to moisturize baby’s skin, even those of newborn infants’, without harming or damaging their skin. Since newborns are born with a protective skin coating called the vernix, they don’t need lotion. This coating absorbs all the toxic and harmful elements in the environment outside of the womb [18].

The organic Cocos nucifera oil can mimic the characteristics of the vernix in baby’s skin. The organic coconut oil is rich in essential oils and fatty acids that hydrates and moisturizes the skin. It does not contain harsh chemicals that may cause allergic reactions to delicate surfaces [19].

Coconut Oil Helps Treat Cradle Cap

Cradle cap is a common skin issue among newborn infants. This fungal skin condition can make your baby’s skin super dry, chapped, and flaky. One of the best uses of organic virgin coconut oil is to treat cradle cap with it. By applying unrefined coconut oil or virgin coconut oil to the affected area, the coconut oil can eradicate the fungus while soothing the inflammation[20].

Coconut Oil Fights Candida

Another one of the best coconut oil uses the treatment for candida and thrush. Mothers can easily transfer Candida bacteria to their babies through breastfeeding. Since unrefined coconut oil is anti-fungal and anti-microbial, it can reduce the colonization of Candida albicans in baby’s skin. The coconut oil can be dabbed to the baby’s mouth or on the mother’s nipples before breastfeeding  [21].

Coconut Oil Helps Heal Baby Rash

Nappy rash is inevitable among babies. And while there are many products in the market today that effectively treats the baby rash, most of them contain harsh ingredients that may cause more harm to your baby’s skin. Coconut oil is a gentle yet effective medicine for nappy rash. It acts as a protective barrier when applied to baby’s skin and stops bacteria and inflammation from further developing.

As a bonus, it helps relieve the bumps and redness caused by the rash. It also makes skin smooth to touch and moisturized [22].

Is Coconut Oil Safe For Babies

Is Coconut Oil Safe For Babies?

Yes, coconut oil is safe for babies.  Raw virgin coconut oil acts as an emulsifier, surfactant, and conditioner for a baby’s skin and hair. It’s derived from the kernels of the coconut palm, which have been grown organically. Virgin coconut oils for hair has long been used to treat conditions in the scalp like “cradle cap” naturally. It may help to reduce flakes from forming and gets rid of dry skin. Its moisturizing properties are highly valued and are used in many of our baby care products.

Benefits Of Coconut Oil In Baby Skin Care Products

Benefits Of Coconut Oil In Baby Skin Care Products

Coconut oil is high in MCT oil.  MCT oil is a highly concentrated source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) [28].   It is man-made through a process called fractionation. Fractionated Cocos Nucifera oil was divided into 13 groups based on their carbon numbers of 28 to 52 [29].  The noted groups represent 99.8% of the total glycerides of Cocos Nucifera.  The majority of these are either 100% caprylic acid (C8), 100% (C10) or a combination of the two.

Benefits Of Coconut Oil – Capric Acid/Caprylic Acid

These two ingredients are medium-chain fatty acids that are quickly absorbed by the skin. They contribute to the antimicrobial and antifungal characteristics of the organic Cocos nucifera oil. They also boost the benefits of coconut oil for hair as they are the ones that help strengthen damaged hair and give it the shine it needs. Capric acid/caprylic acid are safe and ideal for acne-prone skin [23].

Benefits Of Coconut Oil – Oleic Acid

Oleic acid is one of many medium-chain triglycerides, monounsaturated fatty acid. In unrefined coconut oil that maintains skin’s suppleness and prevents the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It is also an excellent ingredient in products that have coconut oil for hair because it promotes the growth of healthy and dandruff-free hair. Oleic acid also has antioxidant properties and can boost the skin’s immunity to toxins [24].

Benefits Of Coconut Oil – Lauric Acid

Lauric Acid is considered one of the long-chain fatty acids that can easily immerse itself into the skin. These long-chain triglycerides help treat various skin viruses and is responsible for giving skin a smooth texture [25].

Benefits Of Coconut Oil – Polyphenols

Polyphenols are believed to protect the skin against harmful UV rays as well as repair it from damages caused by the sun. These antioxidants help protect the body from the damage of free radicals. One of the most useful benefits of coconut oil due to the presence of polyphenols is that it can maintain the pH levels of the skin while enhancing skin cell growth. It is also safe for sensitive skin [26].

Benefits Of Coconut Oil – Linoleic Acid

Linoleic acid is the one that accelerates faster healing time of wounds in organic coconut oil. It is what makes products with unrefined coconut oil soothe acne and promote moisture in hair. It also gives creams and lotions a thin consistency and is an extremely useful emulsifier. Linoleic acid is one of polyunsaturated, long-chain fatty acids [27].

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Transparent Ingredients

Coconut Oil Resources

Benefits Of Coconut Oil References;

[1]   US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health; Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.: Arecaceae): in health promotion and disease prevention, DebMandal M, Mandal S., April 12, 2011.
[2]   The Library of Congress; Is a coconut a fruit, nut or seed?, August 14, 2017.
[3]   WebMD; Cocos Nucifera,  Aceite de Coco, Acide Gras de Noix de Coco, Coconut Fatty Acid, Coconut Palm, Coco Palm, Coconut, Cocos nucifera, Cocotier, Cold-Pressed Cocos Nucifera, Fermented Cocos Nucifera, Huile de Coco, Huile de Noix de Coco, Huile de Noix de Coco Pressée; Froid, Huile Vierge de Noix de Coco, Narikela, Noix de Coco, Palmier, Virgin Cocos Nucifera.
[4]   Research Gate; Cocos Nucifera: A review, Shankar, Padmini & Suman, Ahuja & Tracchio, Alexandra, January 2014.
[5]   United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service; Classification for Kingdom Plantae Down to Species Cocos nucifera L.
[6]   The Encyclopaedia Britannica; Coconut palm, Thinley Kalsang Bhutia, April 03, 2018.
[7]   Bioversity International Organization; Chapter 1: Botany Of The Coconut Palm.
[8]   Western SARE, Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education; Species Profiles For Pacific Island Agroforestry, Craig Elevitch, Retrieved June 12, 2018.
[9]   World Argo Forestry; Agroforestree Database:a tree reference and selection guide version. C, O., A, M., R, K., R, J., & A, S., 2009.
[10]   The Complete Book on Coconut & Coconut Products (Cultivation and Processing); Mike Foale, 2006.
[11]   Western SARE, Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education; Species Profiles For Pacific Island Agroforestry, Craig Elevitch.
[12]  Cocos Nucifera: Amazing Health, Skin And Cooking Benefits; Gene Ashburner, October 17, 2014.
[13]   Dipartimento di Scienze Biologiche; The Coconut Palm,  Geologiche e Ambientali.
[14]   Botanic Gardens Conservation International; Coconuts in India,  V.T. Markrose, June 12, 2018.
[15]   Washington University in St. Louis; The Source, Deep history of coconuts decoded, Written in coconut DNA are two origins of cultivation, several ancient trade routes, and the history of the colonization of the Americas, Diana Lutz, June 24, 2011.
[16]   The Coconut; Phylogeny, Origins, and Spread, N.M. Nayar, 2017.
[17]   Journal of Tropical Agriculture, Vol 44, No 0; Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands – Their Culture, Environment, and Use, Elevitch C.R., June 2006.
[18]   Coconut Oil for Health; 100 Amazing and Unexpected Uses for Coconut Oil, Britt Brandon, January 02, 2015.
[19]   US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health; Unraveling The Mystery of Vernix Caseosa, Gurcharan Singh, G Archana, 2008.
[20]   Coconut Oil; 15 Highly Effective Healthy Habits, Cathy Wilson, February 26, 2015.
[21]   BioDiversitas; Extraction of Cocos nucifera L. Through Fermentation System, Rini Handayani, Joko Sulistyo, Rita Dwi Rahayu, July 2009.
[22]   Cocos Nucifera Bible; Benefits, Remedies and Tips, 2014.
[23]   Health Line; Top 10 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Coconut Oil.
[24]   Science Direct, Clinical Nutrition Supplements Volume 4, Issue 1, 2009, Pages 19-23; Biological benefits of an oleic acid–rich lipid emulsion for parenteral nutrition, AlessandroPontes-Arruda, April 06, 2009.
[25]  Cocos Nucifera, Natures Wonder Cure; How Cocos Nucifera Revitalizes The Body. J. Heyd, 2014.
[26]    US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health; A Critical Review on Polyphenols and Health Benefits, Kumar Ganesan and Baojun Xu, May 04, 2017.
[27]    US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health; Health benefits of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), Koba K, Yanagita T, November 05, 2013.
[28]   Wiley Online Library; Triglyceride composition of coconut oil, J. Bezard M. Bugaut G. Clement, March 01, 1971.
[29]   Health Line; MCT Oil 101 – A Review of Medium-Chain Triglycerides.

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