Coconut oil has been classified as a “super food” – and with no surprise. The health benefits of coconut oil are almost limitless, supported by more than 1,500 medical studies.
Coconut oil contains healthy, saturated fats, called medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs). The MCFAs are quick to digest and metabolize differently than longer chain fats. Instead of going through a 26 step process, coconut oil only needs three steps to be digested and be turned into fuel. Since coconut oil is not stored in the body as fat, it is the perfect energy source.
Coconut oil has more than 85% medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). It also contains lauric acid, capric acid, caprylic acid, linoleic acid, oleic acid, phenolic acid, myristic acid, vitamin E, vitamin K, and iron.
Coconut oil is one of the most versatile health foods. It can be used for cooking, as a beauty product, and as a natural medicine.
Coconut Oil in Food
Coconut oil can be safely used in foods wherever you would usually use oil or butter, with a few additional surprises.
- Coconut oil can be used when frying or sautéing your food. While other oils oxidize when heated, coconut oil remains stable at high temperatures and does not smoke.
- When you bake, replace any unhealthy fats with coconut oil. Use the same amount you would use for butter or oil. If the recipe calls for cold fat, just freeze it before use. It can also be used to grease baking sheets.
- Coconut oil is a natural energy booster, especially when mixed with chia seeds. Mix 1 tablespoon of coconut oil with a ½ tablespoon of chia seeds.
- Instead of coffee creamer, add coconut oil to your coffee for an extra boost of energy. Mix the coffee and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a blender for a rich and creamy flavor. It’s dairy-free!
- Coconut oil can also be used in fruit smoothies. Just add 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil to activate the cholesterol fighting compounds in the oil. Not only is it healthy, but it gives the smoothie a nice texture and taste.
- Replace your sugary sports drink with a coconut oil drink. Sports drinks contain a lot of sugar which gives you a quick high that doesn’t last for very long. Mix coconut oil with chia seeds, water, and fresh fruit in a blender.
Coconut Oil for Your Beauty Routine
Coconut oil makes for a wonderful natural beauty treatment for any skin type. It not only moisturizes the skin but also treats many skin conditions. The caprylic and lauric acids in the oil reduce internal and external inflammation. The antioxidants heal the skin and the antimicrobial properties balance out fungal and candida sources, which cause many skin disorders.
- Coconut oil is a natural skin cleanser and moisturizer which can be used all over the body. It is absorbed quickly into your skin and is non-greasy. The oil is solid at room temperature, but as soon as it makes contact with your hands, it will melt. It can be used to clean your face, wash off makeup, and as a shaving cream.
- Exfoliate your skin by applying a combination of coconut oil with organic coconut sugar or ground coffee beans to your face. Do this treatment twice a week if you have acne, skin dullness, and/or blackheads.
- Fight premature aging and wrinkles with coconut oil. Dab a small amount around your eyes and other areas prone to wrinkles. Leave the oil on to soak in overnight.
- Make your own shampoo by combining coconut oil with apple cider vinegar. Since it contains no harsh chemicals, your color will stay intact, and your hair will be sleek and soft.
- Coconut oil can also be used as a natural hair conditioner since it strengthen hair and retain moisture. You will need between 1 and 2 tablespoons of oil, depending on the length of your hair. Warm the coconut oil in your palms and work it into your hair from the ends up. The coconut oil also prevents and treats dandruff successfully.
- Good news for the pregnant ladies – coconut oil reduces stretch marks! Rub the oil over your tummy to hydrate your skin, increase elasticity, and help your skin to heal quickly.
Medicinal Uses of Coconut Oil
According to extensive medical research coconut oil has many medicinal benefits. Here is a list of benefits from consuming coconut oil:
- Coconut oil boosts your immunity to fight off disease. It is rich in lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid which have strong antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties.
- Inflammation is the leading cause of many chronic diseases, including liver and kidney diseases. Regular consumption of coconut oil fights inflammation.
- A study found that the high polyphenols and antioxidant properties found in coconut oil can prevent bone loss and maintain the bone structure, making it a good supplement to prevent osteoporosis.
- Coconut oil is good for your heart health. The healthy fats in coconut oil balance cholesterol levels: it increases good HDL cholesterol and lowers bad LDL cholesterol, and reduces high blood pressure.
- Coconut oil supports your digestive system. It’s easy to digest, destroys bad bacteria, promotes the growth of good bugs, and heals a leaky gut. The antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties in coconut oil control parasites and fungi while promoting efficient absorption of nutrients.
- Coconut oil is a hormone balancer. The healthy fats in coconut oil support the thyroid and adrenal glands which directly help rebalance hormones. It also suppresses inflammation and supports a healthy metabolism.
- Coconut oil improves diabetes by encouraging the efficient secretion of insulin from the pancreas and re-balancing blood sugar levels.
- The MCTs in coconut oil support weight loss and burn fat effortlessly for energy.
With so many benefits, it’s easy to understand why coconut oil became so popular over the last few years. Try incorporating coconut oil into your diet and daily beauty routine to see what it can do for you.
If you need any further information on coconut oil benefits, or just need the help and advice of an integrative healthcare provider, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with Dr. Payal Bhandari M.D.