15 Health benefits of Coconut Oil
Coconuts have been gaining a lot of attention lately as coconut water, coconut oil, and coconut sugar have become more popular in the United States. This superfood serves as a healthier alternative to so many other products from sports drinks to agave nectar. Coconut oil alone has hundreds of different uses, making its way into pantries, medicine cupboards, and even first aid kits.
For years, coconut oil has had a bad name, lumped in with unhealthy saturated fats. People steered away from it and other high fat foods, and yet our problems with weight continued to grow. We’re discovering that saturated fats aren’t as despicable as they were painted to be a few decades ago and coconut oil is one of the healthiest. The saturated fats in coconut oil come in the form of medium chain triglycerides. These shorter fat chains are easily put to use by the body and are not simply stored away as fat.
Coconut oil has a whole host of health benefits apart from just not making us fat. This healthy oil has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties and may have some surprising effects on cholesterol too.
It is antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, and antiviral. It also aids in the absorption of vitamins and minerals. These immune boosting properties make it the perfect oil to use in a million ways. Here are 15 of our favorites.
1-Cholesterol – Coconut oil raises good cholesterol while having very little effect on bad cholesterol. A recent study shows that coconut oil improves cholesterol ratios. The link between cholesterol and heart disease is under debate once again, but improving cholesterol levels is still a good idea.
2-Weight Loss – Animal studies and human studies with men and women all show that coconut oil can help with fat loss, especially around the waist and other trouble spots where adipose tissue likes to hold onto it. Coconut oil also minimizes appetite and cravings while increasing energy use by the body.
3-Blood Sugar – Coconut oil seems to have a beneficial effect on controlling blood sugar and insulin levels. The studies are still small and this is mostly based on anecdotal evidence, but hopefully new studies will come out soon to corroborate the testimonials.
4-Antimicrobial – Coconut oil contains lauric acid which is converted to monolaurin during digestion. Both kill pathogens like viruses, bacteria, and fungi. These compounds dissolve the protective lipid layers these invaders use to protect themselves, essentially turning them inside out. Coconut oil is showing promise against many illnesses. Athlete’s foot, stys, pink eye, herpes, ear infections, candida or yeast infections, warts, ringworm, colds, flus, and many more are sensitive to coconut oil. Add a few drops of oregano or tea tree oil for more antimicrobial power when you use it topically.
5-Skin Health – Coconut oil is a great moisturizer, acts as a mild sunscreen, minimizes blemishes, and softens away wrinkles. Reduce eczema, stretch marks, and even remove makeup. Since coconut oil gently fights bacteria and viruses, it can help clear up one of the causes of acne and cold sores. It also reduces inflammation and hydrates skin. Dab it directly on the offending pimples and sores and watch them shrink.
6-Hair Health – Coconut oil does the same thing for hair. It softens, increases shine, and improves the health of your scalp for vibrant, healthy, glowing hair. It eases the symptoms of dandruff too. Coconut oil even kills and removes lice.
7-Healing – Coconut oil can promote healing for bruises, insect bites, stings, poison ivy, chicken pox, and even as aftershave. It can help prevent sunburn for short exposures. When you burn, it will also speed healing and take some of the sting away. Make sure you wait until all the heat has dissipated before applying it or you trap the heat in. Wait 24 to 72 hours depending on the extent of the burn.
8-Energy Source – Coconut oil and its medium chain triglycerides make it an excellent energy source for improved stamina and endurance or just to give you a boost through the day.
9-Children’s Health – Coconut oil is gentle and safe for infants to ease the itching, irritation, pain, and redness of cradle cap and diaper rash. Coconut oil helps the mothers as well to heal and soften sore nipples from breastfeeding.
10-Pet Health – Coconut oil can do a multitude of things for pets, both topically and internally. It improves breath, makes for a shiny coat, eases joint problems, cleans ears, gets rid of fleas, and much more.
11-Mouth Health – Coconut oil eases the pain in the mouth and strengthens teeth. You can mix it with a drop of clove oil to almost instantly relieve pain. Coconut oil counters canker sores as well and even makes an effective toothpaste when combined with baking soda and peppermint oil.
12-Alzheimer’s – Some research points to coconut oil as a way to slow the progression of or help prevent Alzheimer’s, dementia, and seizures.
14-Fitness – Coconut oil boosts energy, increases metabolism, increases stamina, improves thyroid function, and aids in healthy weight loss. It is the perfect addition to any workout or fitness regimen.
15-Cooking – Coconut oil doesn’t form harmful by-products when heated like most other oils and animal fats. Use it to replace butter, cup for cup in recipes. Sauté, cook, bake, broil, braise, and more using coconut oil as a healthier alternative.
About Charlie Pulsipher
Charlie Pulsipher is a health and fitness enthusiast, writer, author, and neighborhood do-gooder. He shifted his education from Biochemistry to English Literature in an attempt to avoid math, but never stopped loving the natural world of the miniscule. He has published several fantasy and science fiction novels and helped others publish more down to earth books about natural foods. He can’t stop writing. He is probably happily tapping away on some keyboard even now.