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PRODUCTION AND CHARACTERIZATION OF COCONUT OIL

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INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY

Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) is a tree, referred to as “The Tree of Life”.  Early  Spanish explorers  called  coconut,  Coco  (“monkey  face”)  because  of  the  three  indentations  (eyes) on the dehusked coconut fruit which resembles the head  and  face  of  a  monkey.  Nucifera means "nut-bearing" (CRC, 2004). The people of Nzema in the Jomoro  district  refer  to coconut as “Kukue”, the  farmers  slogan  is  “Kukue, Esuka Bakah”  (Coconut,  the  money tree), this is as a result of its high economic value.

Nearly one third of the world's population depend  much  on coconut  as their  source  of food and for their economy (CRC, 2004). On many islands  in  the  world,  coconut  is  a  staple  in their diet which supply a nutritious meat, oil, juice and milk that has  fed  and  nourished population around the globe for generations (CRC, 2004).

Historically, coconut oil is one of the earliest oils to be consumed as a food and for medicinal purposes (Fife, 2004). People who consume coconut oil  or  used  it  as  medicine, enjoy remarkably  good  health  and  longevity  and  studies  have  shown  that  people  whose  diet are high in  coconut  oil,  are  healthier  and  have  fewer  incidences  of  cardiovascular disease, digestive complaints, cancer and prostate problems (Fife, 2004).

Research  and  clinical  observation  have  shown  that  coconut  oil  contains  Medium-chain Fatty Acids which can prevent and treat a  wide  range  of diseases (Fife,  2004). Coconut oil  can prevent heart diseases, high blood pressure, stroke, support the development  of  strong bones and teeth, promote loss of excess weight, protect against kidney diseases and bladder infections. Furthermore, it prevents liver diseases, protect the  body  from  breast,  colon  and other cancers, control  dandruff,  wrinkles  sagging  skin  and  age  spots  (Fife,  2004;  CRC, 2004 and Organic facts, 2014).

As stated by Coconut Research Centre - CRC (2004),  coconut  possesses  many  health benefits


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