Coconut oil is one of the healthiest natural resources on the planet. This oil comes with benefits that, by far, surpass what most people know about it. It comes with very high nutritional values and can easily pass for another miracle food.
This article will expose the abundant goodness of coconut which you may not have thought exists and how you can use coconut to achieve its maximum benefits.
Coconut Oil Uses
1. Coconut oil for skin care
Naturally antibacterial and antifungal, coconut oil has amazing benefits for your skin. This oil bonds very well with proteins and also has very low molecular weight. This means that it can penetrate your skin on a deeper level than most of the other skin products you use. It works just fine, actually perfect if you choose to use coconut oil as your daily body cream.
And you can choose to mix it with other oils of your choice. The saturated fats in coconut oil will greatly ensure that your skin stays moisturized, smooth and healthy. And it can work against the dryness of skin.
Coconut oil also possesses the ability to speed up the healing of wounds as well as fight the risk of scarring while also reducing the pain you are prone to feel. This oil comes with capric, caprylic and lauric acids which can protect your skin against microbial infections and enhance healing on the event of them.
Coconut oil is also really great in the treatment of some skin infections like eczema. Using coconut oil regularly on the affected areas or all over can enhance healing. This is basically because coconut oil contains anti-inflammatory properties.
Even your nails are not exempted from the goodness of coconut. Rubbing coconut oil into your cuticles will especially help to keep germs away as well as make them easier to cut.
Generally, coconut oil can work against toxins in the body allowing for a smoother, healthier, suppler skin.
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2. Coconut oil for face
Did you know that you can also use coconut oil as a facial scrub by simply mixing the oil with coconut sugar? Well if you didn’t, now you know. Coconut oil scrub can help to eliminate those dead skin cells leaving you a smoother, more alluring face.
Acne, pimples, eczema, rashes, ringworm and all the other unpleasant facial experiences have nothing on you if you treat your face with coconut oil. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of coconut oil can lower the bacteria on the skin and hence, lower inflammations that can lead to facial worries. It’s best to start by using small amounts of oil on the face to see how well it works for you.
Coconut oil can also reduce the effects of aging and lower facial wrinkles. Coconut oil, if used regularly, can help keep your skin hydrated and boost the production of collagen. This would help make your face smoother and reduce wrinkles.
Using coconut oil as a shaving gel can also help to prevent burns and bumps. You simply need to apply it to your face before shaving. Its anti-inflammatory properties will prevent infection and also prevent the inflammation of hair follicles after shaving. If you apply coconut oil before shaving, it can help to soften the bristles.
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3. Coconut oil for hair
Coconut oil can serve as a great conditioner for your hair as well as help to combat dandruff. Just put some natural, undiluted coconut oil in a small bowl and soak it in a bigger bowl of hot water making sure it doesn’t take in the water from the bigger bowl.
Massage it into your hair when it is warm and work through with a comb. Wrap it in a shower cap after this and shampoo after about thirty minutes. You can choose to work a small amount into your hair after this without washing it out again so that the hair can shine.
You can also use coconut oil to heal your scalp and get rid of dandruff and to detangle your hair. Simply repeat the above process, only this time, you shouldn’t wash it off.
You will especially love that coconut oil can also help you grow longer, thicker hair. And it grows faster too. You need to to repeat the process above and leave it through the night, then you can wash it out and just apply a small amount to keep the shine.
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4. Coconut oil for weight loss
Coconut oil is by far one of the best foods that can help you shed some of that unwanted weight. Coconut oil mainly consists of the medium-chain triglyceride, MCT. Unlike other saturated fats, the body sends MCTs to the liver where they are turned into usable energy. This means that coconut oil can increase your energy levels by up to 5% for a whole day that is, twenty-four hours.
Additionally, coconut oil can reduce hunger and cravings which mean that you will eat less which can be a great advantage to your weight loss goal. Also, coconut oil enables the body in the digestion of food and absorption of nutrients. This would usually result in you eating less without feeling weak.
Coconut oil will also help your body burn more fats and help you achieve your weight loss goal. Coconut oil can help achieve this by the production of healthy hormones which will enhance digestion, improve energy and burn away the unhealthy fat that would usually be in healthy areas like the buttocks, the thighs, and the waist.
Another thing which is really necessary for maintaining a healthy weight is steady blood sugar levels. Coconut oil can be very instrumental in making sure that the body efficiently produces and uses insulin. This will provide more glucose to the body hence, producing usable energy which can help the loss of weight.
Use a daily serving of coconut oil to achieve these benefits. Eating it by the spoonful about three times a day is the easiest way to consume coconut oil and achieve weight loss.
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4. Cooking with coconut oil
Cooking with coconut oil is really not a big deal. And it still comes with the health benefits it is famous for. You simply need to use it in as much the same way as you use other oils to cook or fry or bake. You do not exactly need to change your cooking routine, you probably just need to change your oil, to coconut oil of course. Using coconut oil to cook can have great internal functions like aiding digestion.
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Coconut Oil Benefits
As already mentioned, coconut oil can conveniently pass for another miracle food. Here are some of the many benefits that coconut oil can offer:
1. Coconut oil can help to fix brain disorders
Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids which can be converted into ketones when transported to the liver. These ketones are a great energy source and can be very beneficial to people suffering from memory issues such as Alzheimer’s.
2. It reduces the risk of heart disease
Coconut oil is rich in antioxidants which can prevent oxidative stress in the heart and the blood vessels. Otherwise, when this oxidative stress occurs, it can cause plaques to develop in the arteries and this situation can lead to heart attacks.
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3. It helps to burn fat
Coconut oil enables the production of healthy hormones which can increase energy levels, enhance digestion and thus go on to burn fat around the buttocks, the waist, and the thighs. This will greatly help you lose unwanted body weight.
4. It kills harmful microorganisms
Coconut oil contains lauric acid which forms a substance called monolaurin when digested. Alongside lauric acid, monolaurin can kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses which can be harmful to the body. Killing these harmful pathogens will help to prevent any potential infections.
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5. Coconut oil reduces aging effects
Regular use of coconut oil will keep the body hydrated and hence fight against the drying of the skin. Coconut oil also enhances the production of collagen in the body. This will fight the effects of aging and exposure to the sun helping you to have a smoother, younger-looking skin.
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6. It is helpful to epileptic patients
Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglyceride, MCT. The MCTs are usually transported to the liver to be turned into usable energy. There, they are turned into ketones which can be used to prevent seizures in epileptic patients. Basically, MCTs increase the concentration of blood in the ketone bodies. It is this action that enables the reduction of seizures in people with epilepsy.
7. It boosts the body’s energy levels
Medium-chain triglyceride, MCT, present in coconut oil is usually transported to the liver where it is converted into usable energy. This would ensure that the body has a good supply of energy all through the day. As coconut oil also enables the efficient production and use of insulin, it ensures the production of glucose which will provide energy to the body.
8. It helps to reduce hunger
Coconut oil can help to keep you full and have fewer cravings for food. The metabolism of the fatty acids in coconut oil would usually produce ketones which can reduce appetite. Thus, coconut oil is a great aid to your weight loss goal.
9. It boosts immunity
Coconut oil contains antimicrobial lipids, capric acid, lauric acid and caprylic acid. These contain antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties. The body can also convert lauric acid into monolaurin which can fight against bacteria and viruses that are responsible for diseases like influenza, herpes and even the HIV.
10. Coconut oil aids digestion
Coconut oil can fight against bacteria and fungi as well as parasites that can cause indigestion via the saturated fats it contains. It also helps the body to absorb nutrients; vitamins, minerals and amino acids that can be greatly beneficial. Also coconut oil enables the building of healthy hormones which will enhance proper digestion.
11. It improves dental health
Another great function of coconut oil is its ability to help build strong teeth. Coconut oil enhances the absorption of calcium which is a very great nutrient for the healthy development of the teeth. It can also stop tooth decay and reduce the formation of plaque.
12. It improves blood cholesterol levels
Saturated fats present in coconut oil can help to increase good HDL cholesterol in the body it can also make the bad HDL less harmful. This action of coconut oil is the reduction of a risk factor that can lead to heart diseases.
13. It helps to relieve stress
Applying coconut oil to the head and gently massaging can help you get rid of mental fatigue. Coconut oil contains antioxidant properties which can be very soothing and can help you to relax your mind thereby relieving you of stress and even anxiety.
14. It fights diabetes
Coconut oil is very great for the maintenance of steady sugar blood levels. It also ensures that glucose is effectively utilized and this will prevent the occurrence of diabetes.
15. It enables the building of the muscle
Coconut oil enables the secretion of insulin which controls blood sugar levels. Additionally, insulin pumps nutrients into the muscles which can enable the increase of muscle mass.
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16. It is good for bone health
Coconut oil enhances the body’s ability to absorb important minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Both minerals are essential for the healthy formation and development of the bone.
17. It helps to cure constipation
The medium-chain fatty acids present in coconut oil help to boost the metabolism of the intestinal cells as well as stimulate bowel movements. This will in turn help to stop constipation and let you stool properly.
18. It helps to get rid of candida
Candida is a disease that usually arises from the excessive growth of yeast in the stomach. This condition can usually cause an inflammation. Coconut oil can, however, be excellent in providing relief from this inflammation.
Coconut oil can get rid of Candida by the action of caprylic acid, caproic acid, capric acid, myristic acid and lauric acid which are all present in coconut oil. It is advisable to start the treatment of Candida by taking small amounts of coconut oil and then increase the intake gradually, with the passing of time.
19. It has great benefits for the hair
Using coconut oil regularly on your hair can help detangle the hair if you have hair that tangles. It can also help to moisturize and condition your hair making it easier to manage especially if you have thick hair. Coconut oil can also help to prevent or cure scaly scalp and cure dandruff. Also, coconut oil can be really great at helping you to grow healthy, full hair in a shorter space of time than you may have been used to.
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Coconut Oil Side Effects
We have already seen how beneficial coconut oil can be to overall well-being and good health. It can, therefore, actually come as a surprise to even hear that coconut oil has any side effects. But it does.
In spite of the high goodness of coconut oil and how great it can be for the body, coconut oil can also have adverse effects if you do not use it in the right way. Here are some of the side effects that coconut oil can have:
1. It can cause diarrhea
The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil which help to cure constipation can also lead to diarrhea. If taken in excess, coconut oil will loosen the bowels and soften stool to an extent that may be unfavorable. So while it can be great to cure constipation, it can at the same time, lead the occurrence of diarrhea.
You should start by consuming the oil in smaller amounts and then gradually increase to check if diarrhea will occur.
Some people may be sensitive to coconut oil and so may begin to experience unpleasant reactions like the appearance of rashes, nausea, vomiting, eczema, and hives. Severe allergic reactions like fast heart rate, dizziness and swelling may occur in rare cases. On the event of any of these, you should see your doctor for medical advice.
3. Acne breakout
While coconut oil can be great for getting rid of acne, if your skin is very oily, coconut oil can end up causing an outbreak of acne instead of fighting it. Sometimes too, the breakout of acne is a stage in the healing of acne. Coconut oil can bring out layers of toxin from underneath the skin such that it causes acne.
This is, however, only a healing crisis and clears after a period.
Composition of Coconut Oil
The coconut tree, scientifically called Coco Nucifera, belongs to the palm family (Arecaceae) and the genus Cocos of which it is the only member. Its origin has, for a long time, been the subject of debates and for as long, the exact proof of its origin has been difficult to get. While some people believe that coconut first came from the south-east Asian peninsula, others believe it originated from the north-west of South America.
However, it can be said that the widespread of coconut is due to both human dispersal and natural dispersal. It is likely that people traveling overseas from one part of the world to another enabled the spread of the coconut tree across many parts of the world. Coconut may have also been spread across the world by the action of the ocean carrying them from shore to shore.
As for the name ‘coconut’, Portuguese explorers of the 15th century found this food growing on Indian Ocean Islands. When they did, they called its shell ‘coco’ which actually means the grinning face of a monkey. This was due to the three holes which coconuts have at their base.
It is, therefore, safe to say that while the specific origin of coconut still remains quite a speculation, human beings, as well as natural occurrence, have enabled the spread of coconut to different parts of the world.
Basically, there are two different varieties of coconut. There is the tall variety and there is the dwarf variety. Characteristically, the dwarf variety is shorter in stature and has a shorter lifespan than the tall variety.
The tall variety of coconut is usually as tall as 15 to 18m, and are long living with an average lifespan of about 80 or 90 years. The tall palms (as they are also called since they belong to the palm family) can also survive and blossom very well in different soil conditions. They thrive in red loams, littoral sands as well as laterites.
Usually, they begin to bear fruits after about 8 to 10 years of planting and these fruits are usually either medium or big and with varying shapes. They also have a fair capacity to resist diseases and pests. Types of coconut included in the tall variety include Tiptur tall, West coast tall, East coast tall and Aliyar Nagar 1.
The dwarf variety, on the other hand, is, as the name implies, small in stature, about 5-7m. Their average lifespan is 40 – 50 years and they usually begin to bear fruits faster than the tall variety. These fruits are usually quite small and come with about 65 % oil content. Types of coconut in this variety are the Chowghat Orange Dwarf (COD) and the Chowghat Green Dwarf (CGD).
Nutritional Profile of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil contains quite a large number of nutrients that are for overall health and wellbeing. It contains the following:
1. Fat and calories: A single tablespoon of coconut oil contains about 13.5 grams of fat. You will, therefore, get up to 120 calories from one tablespoon of coconut oil since each gram of fat contains 9 calories. The fat contained in coconut oil is however not the same as the saturated fat usually present in other animal products.
2. Coconut oil contains vitamin K to enable blood clot
3. Coconut oil contains iron which is relevant for the transportation of oxygen
4.It contains capric, caprylic and lauric acids which can fight against microbial infections
5. It contains phenolic compounds which are responsible for its antioxidant properties that can combat oxidative stress
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