Coconut Oil: Benefits & Uses

If there’s one oil other than olive oil that I absolutely swear by it’s coconut oil. I love coconut oil. Its sweet scent, taste, its variety of uses both in and out of the kitchen. It’s gentle enough for skin, and strong enough to prevent heart disease, even HIV and cancer. Coconut oil simply has a plethora of benefits that should most definitely not be overlooked.

Coconut oil’s benefits are attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid, and their respective antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, and soothing abilities.

A good production of the oil comes from tropical countries where it’s extensively used especially in India, Sri Lanka, Phillippines, and Thailand.

Now, coconut oil is no stranger to misrepresentation. In the past, the oil gained a bad rep due to propaganda released by the corn oil and soy oil industry in the 1970s. Before the smear campaign coconut oil was pretty popular in western countries such as the U.S. and Canada, but afterwards was considered dangerous for the human body due to its high content of saturated fat (more than 90% of the oil consists of saturated fat along with traces of unsaturated fatty acids). Luckily, coconut oil’s reputation started to redeem itself within the last decade as people began questioning the accusations.

I know what some of you might be thinking right about now:

(cue dramatic gasp)

“Oh my gosh! Did you just say 90% saturated fat?!”

Now, now, just hear me out here. It’s not what you think. Most of the saturated fatty acids in coconut oil are medium chain triglycerides which assimilate well in the body’s systems. Lauric acid is the prime contributor, offering more than 40%. Our bodies convert lauric acid into monolaurin, which helps fight against viruses and bacteria that could cause diseases such as influenza, herpes, cytomegalovirus (CMV), and HIV. Plus, it guards against harmful bacteria such as listeria monocytogenes and heliocobater pylori, and dangerous protozoa such as giardia lamblia. Because of these benefits the oil has been extensively used in traditional Indian medicine. And let’s not forget that coconut oil is packed with vitamins E and K, and vital minerals such as iron.

Think about this. It’s no surprise the corn and soy industries chose to pick on coconut oil given how much soy and corn are daily produced and sold. Big money for Monsanto who hates competition.They’re also both victims of heavy genetic modification (GMO), which can disrupt our bodies in a negative way, and even lead to serious illness. Almost 92% of all corn, and 94% of all soy planted in the U.S. for commercial use are all genetically modified, according to the USDA. Not only are these two oils most commonly consumed, but are also found in many of our household products and cosmetics. GMOs hurt our food industry, agriculture, bodies, and are banned in over 60 countries worldwide. And with good reason.

While non-GMO soy oil can be beneficial for your body, too much soy can also act as a hormone disrupter. Coconut oil, on the other hand, offers miracle-like benefits with zero risks and a number of uses corn and soy oil just cannot replicate (especially GMO ones).

Heart Health

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There’s a huge misconception out there that claims coconut oil is bad for your heart. In reality, coconut oil is absolutely beneficial for proper heart health. The lauric acid in the oil is responsible for preventing various heart issues such as high cholesterol levels, and high blood pressure. The saturated fats in coconut oil are not harmful like those you’d encounter in vegetable oils. Coconut oil does not lead to an increase in LDL levels (bad cholesterol), and it reduces the rate of injury and damage to the arteries, therefore helping to prevent atherosclerosis.

Diabetes

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Adding coconut oil to your diet can help control blood sugar and improve the secretion of insulin. It encourages the successful utilization of blood glucose, which then prevents and treats diabetes.

Bone Health

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Coconut oil helps improve the body’s ability to absorb vital nutrients, including calcium and magenesium; two crucial minerals necessary for bone development. For this reason alone, coconut oil is beneficial for women prone to osteoporosis.

Immunity

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Coconut oil strenthens the immune system due to its antimicrobial lipids, auric acid, capric acid, and capylic acid which possess anti fungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. As mentioned before, the body converts the lauric acid into monolaurin which helps protect the body against dangerous viruses and bacteria.

Digestion

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Using coconut oil as a cooking oil can greatly improve internal functions especially digestion. It improves the digestive system, and prevents many stomach and digestion-related issues including irritable bowel syndrome. The saturated fats in coconut oil contain antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that help combat bacteria, fungi, and parasites that can cause indigestion. They also aid in the absorption of vital nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

Kidney & Gallbladder

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The use of coconut oil helps prevent kidney and gallbladder diseases as well as dissolve kidney stones. It’s also useful for relieving gallbladder pain.

Weight Loss & Fitness

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Coconut oil makes a great weight loss aid as it’s often used by athletes and those dieting. The short and medium-chain fatty acids help remove excess weight. It stimulates the metabolism, improves thyroid function and endocrine system, boosts energy levels and endurance, increases muscles, all while decreasing unwanted fat. Plus, coconut oil is easy to digest and contains less calories than other oils.

The fat content in coconut oil converts into energy, and does not lead to accumulation of fat in the heart and arteries, helping athletes to enhance their performance. Furthermore, coconut oil also helps control cravings for those who’re dieting.

Candida

Coconut oil has been shown to prevent and cure candida. By using it both externally and internally it provides relief from inflammation caused by candida, and helps keep skin from cracking or peeling due to the oil’s high moisture retaining capacity.

Candida, also known as systemic candidiasis, is a disease caused from excessive and uncontrolled yeast growth called candida albicans in the stomach. This yeast is more or less found in everyone’s stomach. However, it doesn’t bring about any adverse effects since the growth is normally controlled by helpful bacteria also living in our stomach.

The antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties in coconut oil helps to effectively kill yeast from candida including germs and fungi, which then aids in the elimination of candida albicans.

When applied to infected areas, the oil forms a protective layer against external dust/debris, air fungi, bacteria, and viruses. Coconut oil is extremely effective on bruises because it hastens the healing process of damaged tissues.

Hair Care

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When it comes to treating your hair and maintaining its proper health and shine, coconut oil is one of the best out there. It promotes healthy growth, and is highly effective in reducing protein loss which can result in a variety of unattractive or unhealthy qualities in hair. It makes an excellent conditioner, and helps the re-growth of damaged hair by providing nourishment and healing proteins.

By regularly massaging your scalp with coconut oil you can guarantee to be dandruff-free, even if you’ve got a chronically dry scalp. Another plus, coconut oil helps keep hair and scalp free from lice and lice eggs.

Apply a teaspoon of coconut oil to hair ends, then distributing throughout hair as a leave-in hair conditioner. For a deeper treatment, rub in a tablespoon of coconut oil onto dry scalp and gently work through hair ends. Leave overnight by wearing a shower cap to prevent transfer onto bed linens.

You can also use coconut oil as a hair gel or defrizzer. For curly hair, rub a little coconut oil on palms and scrunch into hair. For wavy/straight hair, with your fingers comb the oil into hair from scalp to ends.

Coconut oil is even gentle enough to use on your baby! For treating dry scalp or skin, rub a teaspoon on affected area daily. The oil can also be used as a diaper salve.

Liver Health

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The medium-chain triglycerides and fatty acids in coconut oil helps prevent liver diseases. The substances are easily converted into needed energy once reaching the liver, which then reduces the liver’s workload and averting any accumaltion of fat.

Skin Care

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For taking care of skin coconut oil is highly recommended. It makes a great massage oil, and an effective moisturizer for all skin types, including dry skin. Coconut oil has the effectiveness of mineral oil, but without the adverse side effects making it a safe solution for preventing dry, flaky skin. Its antioxidant properties help prevent premature aging and degenerative diseases, as well as delay the appearance of wrinkles and skin sagging from normal aging.

Coconut oil can help treat many skin issues such as psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, and other skin infections. Because of its ability to remedy troubled skin, coconut oil is commonly used as a base ingredient for many body care products like soaps, creams, and lotions.

You can use coconut oil to help remove makeup. Just rub some of the oil all over your face, and the makeup will practically melt like butter. Rinse well afterwards, and your face will feel clean and soft. The oil also helps remove eye makeup as well, and makes a great eye cream to help reduce puffiness, bags, and wrinkles.

However, if by any chance you get some of the oil in your eyes it may cause some blurriness. If and when this happens to you do not panic. Speaking from experience, the blurriness and discomfort is only temporary. Coconut oil is completely safe and non-toxic, does not cause any pain whatsoever, and is in fact beneficial for your eyes. But the blurriness happens simply because eyes cannot absorb the oil (or any oil, really) like skin can. Simply add some eye drops to your eyes, or rinse with purified water, and wait it out. The blurriness will subside within minutes.

For shaving, you can use coconut oil to help prep skin for pending damage from shaving, and also as an aftershave to help skin heal without clogging pores. It even helps prevent any razor burn.

It’s great for lips, making it perfect for chapstick. Rub a little onto lips and it’ll soften and protect them against the sun.

Speaking of sun, coconut oil makes an awesome all-natural sunscreen. Wait… Oil for sunscreen?! It may sound counterintuitive, but trust me, it’s no joke. It protects against dangerous UV rays without blocking out needed vitamin D like many commercial sunblocks do. Depending on how long you plan on staying out in the sun, you may need to reapply every hour or so to prevent sunburn.

Coconut oil can also be used to help reduce stretch marks and scarring.

For treating cuts and scrapes, coconut oil can be applied to help speed up the healing process and protect against bacteria and debris.

Finally, for a body scrub, mix coconut oil with sugar and rub onto body. Rinse off and skin will be very soft. An essential oil can also be added to mixture for desired scent.

Other Benefits & Uses

Toothpaste – Since it facilitates the absorption of calcium, coconut oil is great for teeth by aiding in the development of strong teeth and preventing tooth decay. Numerous recipes exist for all natural, fluoride-free toothpaste. Coconut oil also contains a natural bleaching agent that can help lighten teeth without the harsh chemicals. Just mix coconut oil with baking soda. You can also add certain essential oils along with stevia for taste. Peppermint, frankincense, and grapefruit are just some of the few oils you can add to your homemade toothpaste.

Deodorant – You can use the oil alone or create a potent combination with arrowroot powder and baking soda.

Treats Bug Bites – Apply directly onto bug bite and it’ll take care of any itching or burning. Plus, it helps speed up healing.

Swimmers Ear – Mix garlic and coconut oil and put a few drops of the mixture in the affected ear for 10 minutes. Do this 2-3 times daily for about two days.

Stress Relief – Ease mental fatigue by applying coconut oil to forehead in a circular motion. The natural coconut scent is quite soothing, and helps reduce stress.

Nose Bleeds – Normally caused by sensitivity to extreme hot or cold conditions, nose bleeds can be prevented by the use of coconut oil. Bleeding occurs when the nasal passages become dry due to temperatures resulting in burns and cracks in the mucus membranes. To prevent this, just place some coconut oil in nostrils. Doing this will reinforce and protect capillaries in the nasal passages.

Breastfeeding – For breastfeeding mothers, consuming 3 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil daily will enrich milk supply.

Insect Repellant – Mix coconut oil with peppermint oil and rub all over exposed skin.

Pet Health – Great for both dogs and cats’ overall health. Add a teaspoon to drinking water.

Removes Sticker Residue (Goo Gone) – Mix equal parts coconut oil and baking soda into a paste. Apply to sticky area and let it set for about a minute, then roll between fingers.

Polishing – Mix coconut oil and lemon juice to polish wood furniture. For bronze items, a little oil on a cotton towel will clean and enrich bronze items. The same can be done also for leather products in need of some cleaning and moisturizing.

If you’re shopping around for coconut oil be sure to pick up certified organic, cold-pressed virgin coconut oil for the best results!

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