Although there is still a lack of scientific research over the health claims of coconut oil, other research suggest that the list of benefits just goes on and on! My experience with it and personal opinion tends to dwell more on the side of the healthy benefits!
I personally love using it as a moisturizer each day. It’s so soft and I can really feel it nourishing my dry skin. I keep a bottle of unrefined organic coconut oil in my shower so as soon as I get out and my body is warm, the chunky oil (well, the oil gets thick in the winter and oily in the summer) melts right into my skin. Every once in a while, I do a deep conditioning treatment to my hair using coconut oil. I comb it through my hair with my fingers, let my hair dry naturally and sleep with it in. The next day I shampoo it out. I also use it for an eye makeup remover before bed at night. Of course I love cooking with it because it can tolerate HIGH heat and always brings a rich, sweet taste to my meals that I can’t resist!
About Coconut Oil
Unrefined, organic coconut oil is a rich, buttery, slightly sweet superfood used for centuries in the tropics. Boasting a high smoke point of 350 degrees, it can replace almost any oil in baking or cooking. Naturally cholesterol free, coconut oil contains healthy medium-chain fatty acids, most notably antibacterial and antiviral lauric acid. Unlike long-chain fatty acids in animal-based saturated fats (which clog arteries and get stored as fat), coconut oil’s good fats get burned for energy and actually lower the risk of heart disease. Sold in jars in the oil or baking section, coconut oil is solid at room temperature; when warmed, it quickly becomes a clear liquid. Great for people with nut allergies, it keeps for years unrefrigerated!
Proponents claim that coconut oil offers the following health benefits:
- supports thyroid function
- increases metabolism
- antiviral and antibacterial properties
- improved blood pressure
- improved cholesterol levels
- weight loss
- better diabetes control
- increased bone strength
- better digestion
- prevention of cancer
- prevention of heart disease
- stress reduction
- increased immunity
Hair Care: Coconut oil is one of the best natural nutrition for hair. It helps in healthy growth of hair providing them a shinny complexion. Regular massage of the head with coconut oil ensures that your scalp is free of dandruff, lice, and lice eggs, even if your scalp is dry.
Skin Care: Coconut oil is excellent massage oil for the skin. It acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skins including dry skin. Coconut oil is a safe solution for preventing dryness and flaking of skin. It also delays wrinkles, and sagging of skin which normally become prominent with age. Coconut oil also helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections. Therefore coconut oil forms the basic ingredient of various body care products such as soaps, lotions, creams, etc., used for skin care. Best part is, your skin actually absorbs all of the oil’s health benefits and brings them right into your blood stream, so you don’t even have to eat it to reap it’s rewards!
Immunity: Coconut oil is great for the immune system! It strengthens the immune system as it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Diabetes: Coconut oil helps in controlling blood sugar, and improves the secretion of insulin. It also helps in effective utilization of blood glucose, thereby preventing and treating diabetes.
Bones: Coconut oil improves the ability of our body to absorb important minerals. These include calcium and magnesium which are necessary for development of bones. Thus coconut oil is very useful to women who are prone to osteoporosis.
Dental Care: Calcium is an important element present in teeth. Since coconut oil facilitates absorption of calcium by the body, it helps in getting strong teeth. Coconut oil is also known to stop tooth decay.
Energy: Finally, coconut oil is often preferred by athletes and body builders and by those who are dieting. It contains lesser calories than other oils, its fat content is easily converted into energy and it does not lead to accumulation of fat in the heart and arteries. Coconut oil helps in boosting energy and endurance, and enhances the performance of athletes.
Heart Diseases: There is a misconception spread among many people that coconut oil is not good for the heart. This is because it contains a large quantity of saturated fats. However, coconut oil is beneficial for the heart. It contains about 50% lauric acid, which helps in preventing various heart problems including high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. The saturated fats present in coconut oil are not harmful as it happens in case of other vegetables oils.
Weight Loss: Coconut oil is very useful in reducing weight. It contains short and medium-chain fatty acids that help in taking off excessive weight. It is also easy to digest and it helps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and enzymes systems. Further, it increases the body metabolism by removing stress on pancreases, thereby burning out more energy and helping obese and overweight people reduce their weight. Hence, people living in tropical coastal areas, who eat coconut oil daily as their primary cooking oil, are normally not fat, obese or overweight.
Digestion: Coconut oil helps in improving the digestive system and can help prevent various stomach and digestion related problems including irritable bowel syndrome. The saturated fats present in coconut oil have anti microbial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, parasites, etc., that cause indigestion. Coconut oil also helps in absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids. I love adding some to my morning shake, baking with it, or sauteing up my dinner with some!
Suggestions in the Kitchen: Instead of butter, stir a tablespoon of coconut oil into hot oatmeal, or spread on toast. Blend it into a smoothie. Or coat your pan with coconut oil when making French toast; it adds a lovely scent without overpowering other flavors. Substitute coconut oil for sesame or olive oil in your next stir-fry.
Recipe: Sweet Popcorn
Add 2 tablespoons coconut oil and 1/4 cup popcorn kernels to a pan set over high heat; cover. When kernels start to pop, keep covered and shake over heat until popping slows. Pour popcorn into a bowl; sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or salt. Enjoy!!!