Nutrition and Diet

10 Amazing Uses and Benefits of Coconut Oil

10 uses and benefits of coconut oilAh, coconuts! They are delicious, and versatile. You can eat them as fruit. They also make, again delicious, toppings, and ingredients for food and snacks. And they give us coconut oil, aka coconut butter. Which has various uses and benefits, some which we shall look at shortly.

Now, depending on who you ask, coconut oil is the best thing you can eat, or the worst. To some, it is a superfood. To others, it is just fat. And fat makes us fat, right? Well, some fats can help you lose weight.

Because it contains saturated fats, coconut oil has been one of the targets of misinformation. Saturated fats are supposed to be dangerous. What they don’t tell you is that not all saturated fats are the same.

Coconut oil’s saturated fat is made up mostly of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Some say the body handles these differently than longer chain fats from foods such as beef, dairy, and vegetable oils.[1]

Coconut oil is among the healthy white foods you can eat. Experts advice getting virgin or extra virgin variety of the oil. Coconut oil has a wide array of uses and benefits for the skin, hair and body. Below we shall look at some uses and benefits of this oil.

Following are uses and benefits of coconut oil. This are brief, and we shall be talking more about them (and more) in future posts.

1. Skin Care and Beauty: Many people like to use coconut oil on their skin because it an excellent natural skin moisturizer and nourisher. The oil is used in many natural beauty products, due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties. The oil is easily absorbed in the skin and leaves a smooth skin.

2. Safe and Natural Baby Oil: This is related to skin and beauty (above) but we thought it is important enough to be put on its own. Many baby oils on the market are petroleum and paraffin-based. Virgin coconut oil is skin-health promoting, and can safely be used as natural baby oil. It may be used for diaper rash.

3. Hair Care: What coconut oil does for the skin it will also do for the hair. It makes a great natural hair conditioner. Many people worldwide use it as their sole hair conditioner as it gives remarkable results and is relatively cheap. Not surprisingly, the oil is an ingredient in many hair care preparations. The oil helps preserve hair’s natural proteins.[2] The oil helps keep your hair moisturized and nourished.

4. Support Weight Loss: This one is a controversial point, because of the aforementioned saturated fats in coconut oil. But, as mentioned earlier, the saturated fats in coconut oil are mainly medium chain types, which are broken down easily and used for energy, thus possibly improving metabolism and calorie burning.

5. Aid Digestion: Coconut oil has long been used as an aid in digestion. It may improve regularity as well as offer relief from constipation. Coconut oil also improves digestion as it helps in the absorption of nutrients.

6. Energy Booster: Coconut oil may help boost energy levels. This is not the kind of kick you get from drinking coffee, but a rather subtler but longer lasting energy. Some people say it also makes them feel more alert.

7. Improve Hormone Balance: The amount and types of fat you consume can influence production of hormones in your body. Hormonal imbalance affects our physical and mental health in a number of ways, including mood and ability to lose weight. Coconut oil may support natural hormone production and balance.

8. Allergy Relief: Coconut oil can offer relief for seasonal or chronic allergy symptoms. The lauric acid found in the oil is a natural immune booster.

9. Repel Insects and Sooth Bites: Well, these are two benefits of coconut oil. We put them together as they are closely related. When applied to bug bites, coconut oil can be soothing and may reduce the itch. It can also be used to repel insects, thus avoid the bites in the first place. Try blending it with tea tree oil for an effective natural insect repellant.

10. Support Brain Health: Let’s start by saying that the number of studies on the effects of coconut oil on the brain is small. Most studies appear to be focused on the oil’s potential benefits in treating Alzheimer’s disease (AD). It appears that the primary argument to support its benefits is that MCTs in the oil get broken down into ketones, which can be used by the brain as extra fuel to run better. Anecdotal accounts seem to support the oil’s benefits for AD.

[1] WebMD: The Truth About Coconut Oil

[2] Coconut Oil For Hair Care: Coconut Oil Secrets and Tips For Beauty by Sherri Neal

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