Coconut oil has become all the rage lately, and for good reason! I discovered coconut oil about 6 months ago while researching some natural alternatives to some of the medications that I have been taking for the last ten years. I came across a few interesting articles that praised this amazing oil for some of its incredible health benefits. I decided to give the oil a try and see if it lived up to the hype. Six months later and I have developed a deep love for this stuff with its yummy smell and mile long list of health benefits and uses. Coconut oil is now one of the few things that I ALWAYS have on hand. I use it for everything! Here are 10 of the many reasons why I love coconut oil and the ways in which Coconut oil has worked its way into my daily life. I highly encourage you to work it into yours too. You won’t be sorry.
A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF COCONUT OIL:
Coconut oil has spent many years being demonized because of its content of saturated fat. While this claim is true, it is also misleading. Coconut oil contains a unique strain of fatty acid called a Medium-Chain Triglyceride (MCT). Most of the fatty acids in the diet are long-chain or short-chain fatty acids, but the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil are metabolized differently. The most predominant MCT found in coconut oil is lauric acid. Coconut oil is about 50% lauric acid, making it nature’s richest source.
The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which is supposedly helpful in dealing with viruses and bacteria that cause diseases such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. It also helps in fighting harmful bacteria such as listeria monocytogenes and helicobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia. (organicfacts.net)
In addition to the MCT saturated fatty acids, coconut oil also contains Linoleic acid (a very powerful polyunsaturated fatty acid containing omega-6 and omega-3 primarily found in beef and dairy products has been linked to long-term weight management and optimal health) and Oleic acid (a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid with many health benefits including help in the reduction of blood pressure, increases fat burning to help with weight loss, protects cells from free radical damage, may prevent type 2 diabetes, prevents ulcerative colitis and generates brain myelin).
For a full breakdown of the composition of Coconut Oil check out this link.
10 HEALTH BENEFITS OF COCONUT OIL:
In some parts of the world, coconut is a dietary staple that people have thrived on for many generations. Many Polynesian cultures in the South Pacific get over 60% of their calories from coconuts and are the biggest consumers of saturated fat in the world.These people are in excellent health, with no evidence of heart disease. (source study)
Here are a few links for finding great recipes using coconut oil:
10 Tasty Coconut Oil Recipes
Eat More Coconut Oil:115 Delicious Real Food Coconut Oil Recipes
2. HEALTHY HAIR
Coconut oil is an excellent conditioner and helps the re-growth process of damaged hair. It also provides the essential proteins required for nourishing and healing damaged hair.
Rub a small amount of coconut oil through your hair after washing (avoid your roots as it can leave hair looking greasy).
For Deep Conditioning– massage a generous amount of coconut oil into your hair and scalp and allowing it to sit for 20-45 minutes. Wash your hair thoroughly, making sure to rinse the oil out completely.
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!
3. PREVENT HEART DISEASE
Coconut oil is 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 contain the saturated fats commonly found in vegetable oils, thus it 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.
4. WEIGHT MANAGEMENT
According to this study, long-term consumption of MCT enhances energy expenditure and fat oxidation in obese women. The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil have been shown to increase 24 hour energy expenditure by as much as 5%, potentially leading to significant weight loss over the long term. “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 the weight. Hence, people living in tropical coastal areas, who use coconut oil every day as their primary cooking oil, are normally not fat, obese or overweight.” (organic facts.com). Coconut oil can also boost thyroid function helping to increase metabolism, energy and endurance. It increases digestion and helps to absorb fat-soluble vitamins.
5. BOOST IMMUNITY
Studies have shown that coconut oil can help our bodies build resistance to viruses and bacteria that can cause illness. It can also help to fight off yeast, fungus and even candida. It also positively affect our hormones for thyroid and blood-sugar control helping to improve insulin use within the body.
6. FIGHT AGAINST AGING & WRINKLES
Coconut oil has a “positive antioxidant action in the body. This means they help our body stop the damage to other healthy fats and tissues in our body. Oxidation is considered a major contributor to cardiovascular problems and skin aging. Coconut oil can actually help our bodies reduce the need for antioxidant intake”. (doctoroz.com)
It has good amounts of the antioxidant vitamin E, which is very protective. “Fortunately, unlike mineral oil, there is no chance of having any adverse side effects on the skin from the application of coconut oil. Coconut oil therefore is a safe solution for preventing dryness and flaking of skin. It also delays the appearance of wrinkles and sagging of skin which normally accompany aging. Coconut oil also helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections” (organic facts.com). It can help protect the skin from free radicals, which can cause skin to look older and more tired.
7. PREVENT & TREAT ACNE
“The same antibacterial and antifungal properties in coconut oil that work wonders in your body can do the same on your skin as well. It is far more gentle than chemical antibacterial agents and yet surprisingly effective for many people. Because it consists primarily of short and medium chain fatty acids, coconut oil is also absorbed easily through the skin and provides moisture without leaving your skin feeling greasy.” (Living The Nourished Life)
I use a blend of coconut oil and lavender essential oil every night before bed. Depending on your skin care needs, there are several essential oils that can be mixed with a nightly regimen of coconut oil as a before bed moisturizer. Frankincense (promotes regeneration of healthy cells and also keeps the existing cells and tissues healthy), Purification by Young Living (calms acne and clears blemishes), Tea Tree (encourages blood flow to a specific area, being a stimulant, which speeds up the healing process and increases the rate of new tissue and cellular growth) and Orange (is very good for maintaining healthy, smooth and glamorous skin. It also helps to cure acne and dermatitis) are my personal favorites.
Among Pacific Islanders, coconut oil has been used as a sunscreen for many years. A study on ultraviolet transmission through edible oils conducted by Sobhana Teressa, G.Mohan Kumar & S.Sampath, found that coconut oil blocked only about 20 percent of the UV light from the sun. Yet, Bruce Fife, author of Coconut Cures: Preventing and Treating Common Health Problems with Coconut Oil and other books claims, is a good thing. “Coconut oil protects the body from sunburn and skin cancer without blocking the beneficial UV radiation,” Fife writes in his newsletter. “Coconut oil … works by preventing free-radical reactions which lead to all the consequences caused by overexposure to the sun.” Fife goes on to say, “Coconut oil is a proven sunscreen that is still used by millions of people in the tropics as their sole source of protection from sunburn and skin cancer,” From personal experience, I read a startling study on some of the extremely dangerous chemicals that are present in a lot of sunscreens on the market right now. Since I became aware of this fact I have been using coconut oil as a sunscreen for myself and my family all summer. We spend a lot of time outside and so far none of us have suffered any degree of sunburn. You can read my article, Do You Know What’s In Your Sunscreen? for more information.
9. ENERGY BOOST
Mixing a tablespoon of coconut oil and a teaspoon of chia seeds into a cup of greek yogurt in the morning is a great way to get a natural and effective al day energy boost. I struggle with my metabolism and thus my energy. For the past several years I have been on a perspiration medication that creates a synthetic metabolism so I can get through my day. I began using this recipe every morning about 6 months ago and for the last 3 months, in combination with a green tea supplement, I have been able to eliminate the need for the prescription medication completely (with my doctor’s approval)!
10. DIAPER RASH & YEAST INFECTION TREATMENT
“Coconut oil efficiently treats the diaper rash problem by soothing your infant’s irritated skin. It contains antimicrobial, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and antifungal properties that help to promote the healing by soothing the baby’s delicate skin. It has lauric acid (also found in breast milk) that treats these bacterial and fungal problems very effectively. The anti-fungal properties of coconut oil helps to treat the yeast infection and also it will nourish and treat the irritated skin. Lauric and Caprylic acids in this oil are the natural yeast fighting substances and all the medium chain fatty acids in this oil kills the yeast and other fungus that causes yeast diaper rash in your baby.” (Home Remedies For Life)
Coconut oil has been proven to explode the nucleus of the candida yeast cell in laboratory testing. The active ingredients in the oil are lauric acid and caprylic acid. Caprylic acid works the quickest but lauric acid, although it worked slower, was the more effective killing agent. You can melt coconut oil in warm water and douche with it, or apply it directly. Many women will use coconut oil for a personal lubricant to prevent yeast infections caused by sex. (Yeast Infection Advisor). I used a combo of coconut oil and lavender essential oil for a yeast infection. The relief was immediate and within 24 hours the infection was completely gone.
I personally use Nature’s Way Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil. You can find it at any Whole Foods store, most health food stores and here on Amazon.
RESOURCES & OTHER GREAT COCONUT OIL ARTICLES-
The Health Benefits of Conjugated Linoleic Acid
Oleic Acid Health Benefits
Top 5 Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
The Surprising Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
10 Proven Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
Coconut Research Center
Vaginal Yeast Infection Remedies
For more information on MCT’s in Coconut oil check out this link and this link.