Coconut is a superfood that comes with plenty of health and beauty benefits. Apart from eating raw coconut or adding them to your culinary delights, you can use its oil for more uses. Here, we will specifically focus on the benefits of coconut oil and why you must add it to daily use. These not only include cooking for coconut oil but also health and beauty benefits.
What is Coconut Oil?
If we have to define coconut oil in simple words, we’d say that’s it is a body-friendly foodstuff. It is hearty and healthy and gives you plenty of ways to use it. Structurally, coconut oil is extracted from the coconut kernels. It looks colorless and is tasteless. You will find several forms of oil categorized for cooking, hair, body, and more. The raw form of coconut oil can be used in several ways and covers almost all categories you can need it for.
According to the composites, coconut oil comprises of cornucopia full of protein and fatty acids. These hold antioxidants and offer several health benefits. It has rich medium-chain fatty acids, which are comprised of Lauric acid, Caprylic acid, and Capric acid.
Almost 60% of any coconut oil type includes these three fatty acids. 90% of coconut oil fats are comprised of hearty saturated fats. This is also the reason why you need to ask your doctors before consuming coconut oil. For instance, 14% of calories in olive oil comes from saturated fats, while 63% of calories in butter comes from the same. Coconut oil has high fats and you need to know if at all your body needs it.
As per rule, nutritionists like the MCFA approval that suggests coconut oil is easy to digest and processed by our liver. Our body can convert the oil into energy in no time but it doesn’t turn into fat. However, you need to know what type of coconut oil can give you this benefit over others and why.
Nutritional value of coconut oil
You need to know about the nutritional value of coconut oil to understand why it is useful. As per one tablespoon of coconut oil, the nutritional value will be:
- 120 calories
- 14 gm of fat – 12 gm of saturated fat, 1 gm of monounsaturated fat, and 1 gm or 0.5 gm of polyunsaturated fat
- 0 gm on protein
- 0 gm of cholesterol
Note, when the component of the oil is different from one to another, the nutritional value will also be different. This further affects the level of benefits of coconut oil you’d obtain. For instance, a bottle of partially hydrogenated coconut oil will not have much nutritional value just like other processed oil with trans fats. Virgin coconut oil that you might frequently find in the market includes coconut fruit components and doesn’t include chemicals. This is the reason why people prefer virgin coconut oil compared to the latter.
Caution on using coconut oil
Before you read the benefits and start applying the remedies, you need to know about the cautions. There are many investigations that have proven the possible benefits of coconut oil. But not every benefit has been carried out by humans or have proper reviews and suggestions. Also, every high-fat food contains high calories. When you add more calories to your food, you are more prone to weight gain instead of the opposite.
Before trying a remedy, make sure you go through some YouTube videos and see how much people actually recommend it. Most home remedies have suggestions and there are plenty of videos of coconut oil. You should also be sure of the type of coconut oil you should use and then buy the product.
Types of coconut oil
Every coconut oil is not the same, and some are more helpful than others. Check out the types you might or might not need:
1. Partially hydrogenated oil
This type of oil is as harmful because it is processed and includes a high level of trans fats. These are not healthy and we don’t recommend you to use it for cooking.
2. Refined oil
A deodorized coconut meat is chemically bleached and then extracted to create refined coconut oil. Most people use it for cooking and baking.
3. Virgin oil
Virgin coconut oil is the purest form of the oil and extracted from the fresh fruit. You need mature coconuts to produce such oil instead of chemicals or high temperature. This type of oil is unrefined and can offer you major coconut oil benefits.
Healthy and beauty benefits of coconut oil
There are plenty of benefits of coconut oil for hair, skin, and most importantly overall health. Find out how you can make use of this wonder potion:
1. Increases level of good cholesterol
Coconut oil helps increase the level of HDL or good cholesterol and that promotes heart health. You can add a few recipes to your diet and cook it with coconut oil for edible use. There isn’t much research to determine this benefit, but it definitely doesn’t increase bad cholesterol.
2. Improves heart health
Around 50% of fat in coconut oil are MCTs or medium-chain triglycerides like lauric acid. These acids get easily absorbed by our intestine and produce energy in our body. The MTCs doesn’t participate in the biosynthesis of cholesterol.
There was a study researched on 116 patients with coronary artery disease. It observed that a diet high in extra virgin coconut oil increased good cholesterol level and reduced bad cholesterol level.
If you add coconut oil to your diet you should check your cholesterol level regularly. If you find it increasing, you should cut it down or stop using the oil. You need to consult a professional medical practitioner before you add it to your diet and use it extensively.
There are innumerable benefits of coconut oil for hair. You can take cues from women who live in coastal regions. Since most of them use coconut oil almost on a daily basis, they have thick and long hair.
According to a study published by the Journal of Cosmetic Science, coconut oil helps our hair have the protein you lose. If you face hair loss problems or lose the natural texture, coconut oil can bring back hair health. Due to its low molecular weight, the oil penetrates deep into the hair shaft and prevents it from damage.
Benefits of coconut oil on skin are more varied than it is for hair. According to a study taken in 2018, coconut oil has been found to have rich antibacterial properties. It works like an antioxidant agent, anti-inflammatory property, and also for anti-aging. Coconut oil treats skin problem that includes:
- Psoriasis and eczema: if you apply virgin coconut oil topically, you can reduce conditions as serious as these.
- UV radiation: you can protect your skin from harmful rays of the sun. Use the oil as a moisturizer and get benefits of sunscreen too.
- Dermatitis: according to a study conducted in 2015, coconut oil can relieve signs of atopic dermatitis. Another research suggested using virgin coconut oil for managing atopic dermatitis.
- Skin wound: applying coconut oil can speed up the healing of a wound. It has the right skincare properties that help grow fresh skin. If you apply it to infected body parts, this oil creates a chemical layer which prevents the affected area from air, dust, bacteria, virus, or fungi.
- Xerosis: this condition happens to people who have dry skin. Coconut oil works as a moisturizer for your skin. You need to use organic cold-pressed coconut oil and massage it on your skin. Not only dry skin, but this remedy also works for every skin type.
- Antimicrobial activity: coconut oil has monolaurin content that offers antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. It protects your skin from harmful bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause skin infections and pimples.
- Burns: coconut oil can help you heal burns and soothe the area quickly. Benefits of coconut oil on skin everyday shows up by repairing the skin barrier as well.
5. Can prevent yeast infection
Candida also is known as candidiasis, is a tragic disease caused by uncontrolled growth of yeast. This is called Candida Albicans and grow in your stomach. Coconut oil offers relief from an inflammation caused due to candida.
The oil has a great capacity to keep your skin moisturized and doesn’t make it crack or peel off on the outside. On the inside, the combination of caprylic, caproic, myristic, lauric, and capric acid help fight the candida.
6. Dental care
There are many studies that suggest that coconut oil can effectively fight against dental problems like halitosis and plaque. Recent research showed that oil pulling with coconut oil is an effective way to reduce plaque formation and gingivitis.
7. Seizure control
According to a study, a MCT ketogenic diet helps treat refractory childhood epilepsy. While another research showed its use to treat drug-resistant epilepsy. This diet has proven to leave a positive effect of Thai children who had intractable epilepsy. Although a larger study is needed, we can’t deny the results already shown.
8. Liver and kidney health
With the presence of fatty acids and medium-chain triglycerides in the wonder oil, you can prevent your kidney from gallbladder disease. The oil is known to keep your pancreas healthy and give relief from pancreatitis. But there is more scientific research needed to establish the benefit.
9. Immune system and digestive health
The level of saturated fat made of monolaurin and lauric acid in coconut oil helps it have antimicrobial, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. These help to deal with several bacteria, parasites, and fungi causing health problems.
10. Stress relief
You can use carrier oil of pure coconut for aromatherapy. It is soothing and reduces stress. You need to apply it on your head and massage it gently. It reduces mental fatigue and gives you peace. Even virgin oil relieves you from stress and has lots of antioxidant properties.
Adding pure coconut oil to your diet can help you prevent blood sugar and improve the secretion of insulin. The oil improves the effective utilization of blood glucose. This helps manage or prevent diabetes.
Since coconut oil can easily absorb minerals, they work well for our bones. The oil includes a high level of magnesium and calcium that you need for the development of your bones. Women have higher chances to have osteoporosis as they age. They must add coconut oil to their diet to reverse the condition.
Side effects and safety of using coconut oil
There are many controversies related to the usage of coconut oil. While many people have got benefits, there are lots of complaints about it too. We would recommend you to take a doctor’s recommendation when planning to use coconut oil for your health. For skin and beauty purposes, you can blindly follow coconut oil remedies. For now, let us check the side effect and safety concerns about coconut oil:
1. When to take by mouth
Coconut oil is safe when consumed by mouth and in right food amounts. It contains a type of fat that increases cholesterol levels. So, people will avoid eating it in excess. The oil is safe when you use it for a short time. The accurate measurement is using 10 ml of coconut oil, thrice a day, for three months.
2. Pregnant and breast-feeding women
There isn’t much information about how well coconut oil can work on pregnant or lactating mothers. It is better to avoid using it to be on the safe side or ask the doctor to recommend.
The oil is safe to apply topically on a child’s skin for a month. Although there isn’t much information, you should ask a doctor if you have doubts. He might suggest you the right brand of oil to buy for a child. You must also ask him before feeding edible coconut oil to the child.
4. High cholesterol
Although coconut oil reduces bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol, too much of it is not good. The type of fat present in the oil can increase cholesterol along with the bad low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. It will be a problem for people who have high cholesterol already as it will simply increase the level.
There are endless coconut oil benefits that make you want to use this natural remedy. Just be sure of the brand, type, and amount you use and you’ll get only the good side of it.