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The Complete Guide to Coconut Oil: Its Many Uses and Benefits
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Image Description: A jar of coconut oil placed alongside a freshly cut coconut
Coconut oil is the wonderful elixir that has captured the imagination of the world. The best thing about this oil is that not only does it have several different uses, but also offers a host of great benefits as well. That’s why you must opt for coconut oil. However, we must first talk about what exactly coconut oil is and where it comes from.
Coconut oil is extracted straight from the ’kernel’, the white portion of the coconut that is found under the shell. The oil has many great properties, which have propelled its status in the world and turned it into one of the best things for people who want to look after their health. There are some people that get almost all their calories from coconut, and that is a fact. Those are the people of Tokelauans, natives of the South Pacific. They get more than 60% of calories directly from coconuts, and the best part is that they don’t have any major health problems as well.
Coconut oil is rich in calories and has an abundance of healthy fats and energy. The oil is also a great source of saturated fats. More than 90% of the oil’s content is saturated, making it among the richest source of saturated fat in the world.
Is Coconut Oil Good for You?
People all over the world have been using coconut oil for millennia. However, the oil has been getting some negative coverage over the last few decades. The main problem people have with the oil is that it is rich in saturated fats. As per numerous studies that have proven to be flawed, eating a diet that is rich in saturated fat will cause clogged arteries and result in heart disease. Therefore, coconut oil was put in the list of foods not to be consumed, along with red meat and whole eggs.
However, new research has found that there is no link between eating foods rich in saturated fats and heart problems. It has found that 75% of people that eat saturated fats don’t risk any increase in their cholesterol levels. Even people with high cholesterol levels won’t face this problem. That is because an upsurge in cholesterol doesn’t mean that there is a risk of heart problems. There was another misconception created by the mainstream – not all saturated fats are the same.
Coconut oil has a lot of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs), rather than long-chain fatty acids, which means that the body digests them in a different manner than the fats that are in cheeses and meats. They are also not like the hydrogenated fats found in a lot of processed foods. Coconut oil has proven to be incredibly healthy and extremely versatile as well. To help make that point, we are going to cover some of the benefits of coconut oil below.
The Benefits of Coconut Oil
The great thing about coconut oil is that it offers a plethora of different health benefits, making it one of the best oils to include in your daily diet. Some of the incredible benefits that coconut oil has to offer include the following:
· Great for Dental Health
Do you dread going to the dentist? You don’t have to worry about that anymore. Coconut oil offers you with one of the best ways to keep the dentist away. The oil has antibacterial properties, providing you with the best way to keep your teeth and mouth healthy. You can use it for oil pulling, as a mouthwash or as homemade toothpaste. A study conducted in India found that if you used coconut oil for oil pulling it helped kill harmful bacteria, improved overall dental health, and reduced bad breath as well.
· Improves Hair and Scalp Care
Coconut oil is a great remedy for people who are struggling with dandruff or dry hair. The oil can be used a shampoo, and you should use it once when you shower to moisturize the scalp and get rid of dandruff from the source. Coconut oil can also be used as a natural conditioner. The best part is that you don’t need to worry about harmful chemicals that are present in other conditioners. Coconut oil has been found to eliminate protein loss as well.
· Helpful in Weight Loss
It may not make a lot of sense to a lot of people that an oil high in calories and fat could be one of the best oils to have for reducing weight, but that is what coconut oil does. The MCTs in the oil help burn fat, since they go directly to the digestive tract in the liver. The body can also utilize them as rapid sources of energy. It has been found in studies that eating the same number of calories from MCTs, rather than long-chain fatty acids helps in burning nearly 5% calories every day.
Coconut oil is also known for reducing appetite and numerous studies have revealed that people who consumed a lot of MCTs during breakfast had less calorie consumption during the day. That is mainly because of the metabolic process of MCTs in the body.
· Great for Skin Care
Coconut oil is great for applying on your skin to keep it youthful, smooth, and moisturized. The oil has also been found to do wonders for dry skin, as it improves skin hydration along with the lipid levels on the surface of the skin. If you want youthful looking skin, then coconut oil is your best friend. It works exceptionally well as an antioxidant, which protects the skin from free radical damage and improves its appearance as well.
You can also apply coconut oil after a sunburn for pain relief, since it helps moisten the skin. The antibacterial properties of the oil ensure that there are no infections formed around the wound.
· Controls Cravings
Another great thing about coconut oil is that it is sweet and people that have a sweet tooth can enjoy it without worrying about their diet. The oil is also known for curbing appetite and makes it easier for people to control their cravings, without going hungry during the day.
· Improves Cholesterol and Reduces Heart Disease Risk
There is a lot of saturated fat in coconut oil, but the good news is that it doesn’t have any negative effects on the body. This is unlike other oils that are rich in saturated fats. Coconut oil has a lot of good HDL cholesterol. If consumed regularly, it will create a healthier profile of cholesterol in the body and reduce heart disease risk as well.
· Promotes Brain Health
A study conducted on elderly people with Alzheimer’s revealed that their memory was improved because of the MCTs present in the coconut oil. When they consumed the oil, there was a significant improvement in the group being studied, in terms of memory recall. This was mainly because coconut oil was metabolized easily in the body and was transferred to the brain easily.
When coconut oil is consumed, the MCTs will go directly into the digestive tract and to the liver, where they will be turned into the ketones. That is known as a good weight loss tool, while a ketogenic diet is known for helping epileptic children by reducing their seizures.
· Antifungal, Antiviral and Antibacterial Properties
Coconut oil has plenty of lauric acid that is need for fighting against bacteria. It helps kill viruses and fungi in the body. A lot of health problems today are caused by viruses, fungi, and bad bacteria. Coconut oil helps eliminate those health problems because of its high content of lauric acid.
The Many Uses for Coconut Oil
One of the greatest things about coconut oil is that, apart from being extremely healthy for the body, it has a lot of great uses. Below are some of these amazing uses:
· Oil Pulling
Oil pulling has been around for generations and is a practice that started in India from Ayurvedic medicine. The method is well-known for freshening breath, preventing tooth decay, killing off bacteria, and whitening teeth. All you need to do is take a little bit of the coconut oil and swish it around in your mouth for around 15 to 20 minutes. You shouldn’t swallow the oil as it will draw out all impurities and toxins from the mouth. You need to spit out the oil and then wash the mouth with warm water.
· Skin, Hair, and Nail Care
You can use coconut oil conditioner or shampoo if you have problems with dry hair or dandruff. The oil will eliminate dandruff flakes, hydrate the hair, and provide you with full and lustrous locks that you will be proud to flaunt. The best thing about coconut oil is that it can be used as a moisturizer as well. All you need to do is mix some coconut oil lotion and rub it onto your skin. The oil is great for moisturizing hands, knees, and dry elbows.
· Cooking Oil for Paleo Recipes
One of the best things about coconut oil is that it is not only healthy but stable and paleo-friendly at the same time. It can be cooked at very high temperatures and doesn’t go rancid or oxidize when it is used in cooking methods that require high temperature settings. You can also put cooking oil in sweet treats or desserts. The oil can be used for cooking different kinds of meals. A lot of people have also used substituted cooking oil for margarine in some recipes or for vegetable oils.
· Massage Oil and Lubricant
Another great use of coconut oil is for massage therapies, where it has been used for generations to relieve stress and knead tight muscles. A lot of massage therapists only use coconut oil. You can apply it directly to your back and rub it on your neck, shoulders, and other parts of the body. The amazing thing about coconut oil is that it is an excellent moisturizer at the same time.
· Weight Loss
If you’re serious about losing weight, you can use coconut oil in your breakfast. That’s because the oil helps in burning calories and you won’t feel hungry for the rest of the day. This will aid you in losing weight. You can also use the oil in your snacks. The good thing about coconut oil is that it stops cravings and will also provide you with an energy boost. You can mix it in drinks, juices, and smoothies as well.
· Melt in Coffee, Tea, and Other Hot Drinks
Try melting some coconut oil in your tea or coffee or any other hot beverage to really enhance the taste. You only need to add a drop or two and mix it well. Some people may not like the taste, but you can add a unique flavor to hot drinks by mixing coconut oil. The good news is that it will provide you with a quick boost of energy, and it will be 100% healthy as well.
There are a lot of other great oils around in the market but what makes coconut oil truly unique and the best among them is that it is extremely versatile in its uses and benefits. A lot of people have found that the oil is great for losing weight and improving their overall health. This is why it is being used more commonly today. The negative press that coconut oil received in the past is well and truly over. If you are looking to introduce healthy oils in your diet, you should strongly consider coconut oil.