By Maddie Santiago
Some people are just crazy about coconut oil. As they should be! Coconut oil has a whole host of health benefits. It has so many functions and uses that it makes for a great multipurpose product. From eating it, to using it on your hair and skin, there are many ways to start incorporating this amazing superfood into your life.
Coconut oil has one of the highest percentages of saturated fats; 90% of its fatty acids are saturated. We’ve all heard at some point or another that saturated fats are bad. But, the truth is, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a meta-analysis study discovered that there is no link between saturated fats and cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, or stroke. Also, the fats in coconut oil are Medium-Chain Triglycerides. These metabolize in the body differently by going to the liver and becoming a quick source of energy. There are populations around the world that have been eating coconut oil as a main staple in their diet for generations and are in great health.
The Medium-Chain Triglycerides in coconut oil also help the body burn more calories in a day than other types of fats. When these Medium-Chain Triglycerides are metabolized, along with the energy burst, they turn into ketones which have a hunger reducing effect. Coconut oil is especially helpful in reducing belly fat, which is the most harmful type of fat and associated with many chronic diseases. In a study done by the Universiti Sains Malaysia, obese individuals lost centimeters off of their midsection by simply eating 2 teaspoons virgin coconut oil a day with no change to diet, calorie intake, or exercise.
More Health Benefits
Almost 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil are Lauric acids. When these acids are digested it turns into monolaurin. Lauric acids and monolaurin can kill harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi found in the body. Specifically, it can kill Candida Albicans yeast which is a common contributor of yeast infections. The ketones that are formed when coconut oil is metabolized can also have therapeutic effects for those with brain disorders such as epilepsy and Alzheimer’s. The ketones boost brain function and reduce symptoms for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia. The healthy saturated fats in coconut oil can help the body increase levels of good cholesterol and help make bad cholesterol less harmful. Using it as your cooking oil, adding it into recipes, or eating 2 teaspoons each day as a supplement are great ways to incorporate coconut oil into your diet.
Hair and Skin
Coconut oil has many benefits even when you don’t ingest it. It can be used as a lotion for overly dry skin and works well as a lip balm. It can be used for extra moisture on the face, but use it in conjunction with regular facial moisturizers, since the molecules in coconut oil are too big to sink deep into the skin. Using it on the skin can help sooth itchy mosquito bites, sunburns, and cracked heals, and help with conditions like psoriasis, eczema, Keratosis pilaris (red bumps on back of arms), and acne. It also has sunscreen effects that can block out ultraviolet rays. It can be used or oral health and pet health as well! It is also a great hair moisturizer. To use it as a hair mask, apply the oil to dry hair. Applying heat from a hair dryer can help the hair absorb the oil (but isn’t necessary) and leaving it on overnight works best.
This is just a glimpse into the many uses of coconut oil! Whether you eat it, cook with it, or use it as a balm or treatment, one jar of coconut oil can add many health benefits into your life. Remember to always buy the organic and unrefined versions to reap all these amazing natural benefits. Once you try it you’ll be hooked!