The oil extracted from coconut meat has been proven to have a number of health benefits as well as a range of uses in cooking, personal care, around the house and for pets. It’s something of a miracle product, and for many years people from the tropics and subtropics have been very creative with its uses.
So what makes it so special? Let’s look at some of the reasons why coconut oil should always be on your grocery list and form part of your daily diet.
Popular Uses of Coconut Oil:
1. Cooking with Coconut Oil
Coconut oil can be used in pan-frying or for baking. It tastes delicious, contains beneficial fats and can be used like any other cooking oil. Sauté vegetables or pan-fry foods up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Personal Care
Coconut oil can be used for the hair and skin. It’s a great moisturizer, easily absorbed by the skin and giving additional protection due to its anti-bacterial properties.
To revive dull, dry hair, use coconut oil as a hydrating mask. It also makes hair more manageable. Coconut oil will not clash with other products or perfume and it is safe for those with sensitive skin.
3. Personal Hygiene
Coconut oil has antiviral and antibacterial properties that aid the body in expelling the virus behind sores. It can also be used as toothpaste by simply combining it with baking soda.
Another method in which coconut oil is used for oral health is called oil pulling. Here, coconut oil is swished around the mouth, just like mouthwash, absorbing harmful bacteria from the mouth and freshening the breath.
4. Treat or Prevent Fungi and Infections
The antifungal properties of coconut can help fight infections and diseases caused by fungus or yeast. More women are using coconut oil to treat and fight off Candida, and to soothe their baby’s nappy rash. It can also be used to treat Athlete’s Foot.
5. Around the House
At home, use coconut oil for removing stains, as furniture polish or bath and shower cleaner. You can also use it to season your cast iron skillet or give shine to stainless steel appliances.
6. Dogs and Cats
Yes! Coconut oil is great for dogs, even for cats. It can be given orally for an improved digestive and immune system or simply be applied to hotspot or infected areas. It can also be massaged on pets to make their coats shinier and eliminate that doggy smell.
Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
In the old days coconut was demonized as it contains saturated fats but it is now regarded as a super food with a number of important health benefits.
1. It contains fatty acids
The fatty acids in coconut oil are not associated with heart disease. It contains medium chain triglycerides (MCT) which are metabolized differently, going straight to the liver from the digestive tract where they are used as a quick source of energy or turned into ketones.
2. Ketones produced from fatty acids in coconut oil can reduce seizures.
The Ketogenic diet involves eating fewer carbohydrates and large amounts of fats which is believed to increase the amount of ketones in the blood. Studies show that this type of diet can reduce the rate of seizures in epileptic children.
3. Fatty acids from coconut oil can boost brain function in Alzheimer patients
Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and cognitive function. Eventually patients lose the ability to carry out the simplest tasks and Alzheimer’s is ranked the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.
Researchers speculate that ketones from coconut oil’s fatty acids can provide an alternate energy source for malfunctioning brain cells and help to reduce symptoms.
4. It may help you burn more energy
The MCTs in coconut oil can increase the number of calories you burn compared to the same amount of other fats. This can potentially aid with weight loss.
5. It can curb hunger and help you eat less
Coconut oil can suppress hunger, believed to be an effect of ketones.
6. It can kill harmful microorganisms
The fatty acids in coconut oil contain Lauric acid and when this is digested it forms a substance called monolaurin. Both Lauric acid and monolaurin can kill pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi. For example, it can be used to treat yeast infections in humans.
7. It helps improve blood cholesterol levels
The healthy saturated fats in coconut oil may increase good HDL cholesterol in the body. It also helps convert the bad LDL to a less harmful form. Overall, coconut oil may protect us from heart diseases.
8. It is good for the skin and hair
We do not need to eat coconut oil to reap its benefits as it is also a great moisturiser for the skin and hair and is used in a wide range of product lines both as an ingredient and on its own.
We have only mentioned a few of the ways you can use coconut oil but, as research continues, we are finding new applications and benefits of coconut oil all the time!
About the Author
Nadine is a wandering writer and blogger. She loves travelling and exploring new places, and finding hole-in-the-wall dining places. As a wannabe cook, she loves discovering new recipes and ingredients, like the versatile coconut oil (and yes, she uses it on just about anything and everything). On lazy days, Nadine is spending time at the beach with her fur-babies, Pepe and Pido.
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