Benefits of Coconut Oil
Known in Asia as the 'Tree of Life’, coconut oil is considered the ultimate multitasking tool of the natural world. Just take a look around your home, and you will probably find coconut oil is used as a base ingredient in many products that you use, from food items to beauty products. Coconut oil has several benefits such as skin care, hair care, weight loss, treating yeast infections, improving digestion and immunity against a host of infections and diseases.
People the world over are now discovering the wonders this oil can create. Let us look at some of the known benefits and applications of this oil:
Also known as Systemic Candidiasis, canida is a dreadful disease caused by the excessive and uncontrolled growth of yeast called Candida Albicans in the stomach. Coconut provides relief from the inflammation caused by candida, both externally and internally. Its high moisture retaining capacity keeps the skin from cracking or peeling off. Capric acid, caprylic acid, caproic acid, myristic acid and lauric acid found in coconut oil help in eliminating Candida albicans.
Calcium is a critical component of our teeth. Since coconut oil facilitates absorption of calcium by the body, it helps in developing healthy teeth. It also stops tooth decay. Recent research suggests that coconut oil is beneficial in reducing plaque formation and plaque-induced gingivitis. Oil pulling with coconut oil has been used for centuries as a way to cleanse the mouth of bacteria and help heal periodontal disease. Coconut oil is one of the most useful oils for oil pulling due to its high concentration of antibacterial MCFA’s.
Internal functions of coconut oil occur primarily due to its use as a cooking oil. It contributes to improving the digestive system and thus prevents many stomach and digestion related problems including irritable bowel syndrome. The saturated fats present in coconut oil have antimicrobial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, and parasites that can cause indigestion. It also helps in the absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
Coconut oil helps in healthy growth of hair and gives your hair a shiny quality. It is also highly effective in reducing protein loss, which can lead to various unattractive or unhealthy conditions in your hair. It is used as hair care oil and is used in manufacturing various conditioners and dandruff relief creams. It is usually applied topically for hair care. By regularly massaging your head with coconut oil, you can ensure that your scalp is free of dandruff, even if your scalp is chronically dry. It also helps in keeping your hair and scalp free from lice and lice eggs.
There is a misconception spread among many people that coconut oil is not good for heart health. That is because it contains a lot of saturated fats. In reality, it is quite beneficial for the heart. It contains about 50% lauric acid, which helps in actively preventing various heart problems like high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. Coconut oil does not lead to increase in LDL levels, and it reduces the incidence of injury and damage to arteries and therefore helps in preventing atherosclerosis. Studies suggest that intake of coconut oil may assist in maintaining healthy lipid profiles in pre-menopausal women.
It strengthens the immune system because it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which research has supported can efficiently deal with viruses and bacteria that cause diseases like herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. Coconut oil helps in fighting harmful bacteria like Listeria monocytogenes and helicobacter pylori, and damaging protozoa such as giardia lamblia.
When applied to infected areas, coconut oil forms a chemical layer that protects the infected body part from external dust, air, fungi, bacteria and viruses. Coconut oil is highly effective on bruises because it speeds up the healing process of damaged tissues.
The presence of medium chain triglycerides and fatty acids in coconut oil helps in preventing liver diseases because those substances are easily converted into energy when they reach the liver, thus reducing the workload of the liver and also preventing accumulation of fat. It also helps in preventing kidney and gall bladder diseases and contributes to dissolve kidney stones. Coconut oil is also believed to be useful in keeping pancreas healthy by treating pancreatitis.
Coconut oil is an excellent massage oil that acts as an effective moisturiser on all types of skin, including dry skin. Unlike mineral oil, there is no chance of having any adverse side effects on the skin from the application of this oil. Therefore, it is a safe solution for preventing dryness and flaking of skin. It also delays the appearance of wrinkles and sagging of skin, which typically accompany ageing. It also helps in treating various skin problems, including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections. For that exact reason, coconut oil forms the base ingredient of various body care products like soaps, lotions and creams.
It is believed that coconut oil plays an instrumental role in reducing the viral susceptibility of HIV and cancer patients. Preliminary research has shown an indication of this effect of coconut oil on reducing the viral load of HIV patients. According to the Coconut Research Center, coconut oil also kills the viruses that cause influenza, measles, hepatitis, herpes, SARS, and other serious health risks. It also kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and gonorrhoea. Finally, coconut oil is also effective in the elimination of fungi and yeast that cause ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, and diaper rash.
Coconut oil is beneficial for weight loss. It contains short and medium-chain fatty acids that help in taking off excessive weight. Research suggests that coconut oil contributes to reducing abdominal obesity in women. It is also easy to digest, and it helps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and endocrine system. Further, it increases the body’s metabolic rate by removing stress on the pancreas, thereby burning more energy and helping obese and overweight people lose weight. Hence, people living in tropical coastal areas, who use coconut oil every day as their primary cooking oil, are generally not as fat, obese or overweight.
By now it should not be surprising that with all of its magical properties that we also use coconut oil in our Wrappinis too! The coconut oil is applied to the fabric to provide an additional layer of antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral protection.
OTHER BENEFITS OF COCONUT OIL
Besides the above, coconut oil has been strongly associated with the treatment of the following illnesses; showing excellent to mild benefit results:
- Stress relief
- Memory and brain function
- Energy and endurance
- Type II Diabetes
- Gallbladder disease and pancreatitis
- Stomach ulcers
- Inflammation and arthritis
- Kidney infection (UTI)
- High blood pressure
- Hormone imbalance
HOW TO USE AND STORE COCONUT OIL
Unlike most other oils, coconut oil has a high melting point – about 24 to 25 degrees Celsius. Therefore it is solid at room temperature and melts only when the temperature rises considerably. For this reason, don’t keep it in your refrigerator.
If you are using coconut oil for topical purposes, especially hair care, just melt the oil (if it is solid) by keeping the bottle in the sun or soaking it in warm water. You can also take some oil out and put it in a small pot and heat the bowl over a flame (don’t use a microwave). Then, take the oil on your palm and apply it to your hair. If you want to use it for internal consumption, only replace butter or vegetable oils with coconut oil in your recipes. Remember, you don’t need to completely switch to coconut oil because then you will lose the other benefits of more traditional oils and dairy products.
In colder countries, coconut oil comes in containers or pouches. After opening the pack, be sure to keep the oil in containers with a tight lid and wide mouth so that you can scoop it out with a spoon if it solidifies. Keeping it sealed or lidded is necessary because there are other admirers of coconut oil too (ants, cockroaches, insects and rodents).