Coconut Oil Uses and Health Benefits – Healthy Positive Mind –
The health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, cholesterol level maintenance, weight loss, boosted immune system, proper digestion and metabolism regulated. It also provides relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV, and cancer, while helping to improve quality dental and bone strength.
Coconut oil has a high melting point – about 24 to 25 degrees Celsius or 76-78 Fahrenheit. Therefore it is solid at room temperature and melts only when the temperature rises considerably. If you buy a bottle of coconut oil and find it solid, do not immediately assume that there is some problem with it. Coconut oil is often in this form, and obviously, do not keep it in your refrigerator.
Composition of Coconut Oil
More than ninety percent of coconut oil consists of saturated fats, along with traces of few unsaturated fatty acids, such as monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Virgin coconut oil is no different from this.
Saturated fatty acids: Most of them are medium chain triglycerides, which are supposed to assimilate well in the body’s systems. Lauric acid is the chief contributor, representing more than forty percent of the total, followed by capric acid, caprylic acid, myristic acid and palmitic.
Also contains polyunsaturated fatty acids (Linoleic acid) and monounsaturated fatty acids (oleic acid).
Poly-phenols: Coconut contains gallic acid, which is also known as phenolic acid. These polyphenols are responsible for the fragrance and the taste of Coconut Oil and Virgin Coconut Oil is rich in these polyphenols.
Coconut contains vitamin E, vitamin C and minerals such as iron.
Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
Coconut Oil moisturizer on all types of skin, including dry skin. The benefit of coconut oil on the skin is comparable to that of mineral oil. It also delays the appearance of wrinkles. Coconut oil also helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections. For that exact reason, coconut oil forms the base ingredient of various body care products like soaps, lotions, and creams that are used for skin care. Coconut oil also helps in preventing premature aging and degenerative diseases due to its well-known antioxidant properties.
Coconut oil is one of the best natural nutrients for your hair. It helps in healthy growth of hair and gives your hair a shiny quality. It is an excellent conditioner and helps the process of re-growth of damaged hair. It also provides the essential proteins required for nourishing and healing damaged hair.
Coconut oil, you can help your scalp to be free of dandruff, even if your scalp is chronically dry.
There is a misconception spread among many people that coconut oil is not good for heart health. This is because it contains a large quantity of saturated fats. In reality, coconut oil is beneficial for the heart. It contains about 50% lauric acid, which helps in actively preventing various heart problems like high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.
The saturated fats present in coconut oil are not harmful as you commonly find in vegetable oils. Coconut oil does not lead to increase in LDL levels, and it reduces the incidence of injury and damage to arteries and therefore helps in preventing atherosclerosis.
Coconut oil is very useful for weight loss. It contains short and medium-chain fatty acids that help in taking off excessive weight. It is also easy to digest and it helps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and endocrine system. Further, it increases the body’s metabolic rate by removing stress on the pancreas; thereby burning more energy and helping obese and overweight people lose the weight.
It strengthens the immune system because it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which research has supported as an effective way to deal with viruses and bacteria that cause diseases like herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. Coconut oil helps in fighting harmful bacteria like listeria monocytogenes and helicobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia.
Internal functions of coconut oil occur primarily due to it being used as cooking oil. Coconut oil helps to improve the digestive system and thus prevents various stomach and digestion-related problems including irritable bowel syndrome. The saturated fats present in coconut oil have antimicrobial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, and parasites that can cause indigestion. Coconut oil also helps in absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
Coconut has been shown to prevent and even cure Candida. It provides relief from the inflammation caused by Candida, both externally and internally. Candida, also known as Systemic Candidiasis, is a tragic disease caused from excessive and uncontrolled growth of yeast called Candida albicans in the stomach.
Capric acid is a medium chain fatty acid (a saturated fat) present in coconut oil has antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal properties. This is the same fatty acid present in breast milk and it protects the baby from bacterial, viral and fungal infections.
When applied to infected areas, coconut oil forms a chemical layer that protects the infected body part from external dust, air, fungi, bacteria and viruses. Coconut oil is very effective against a variety of infections due to its antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. According to the Coconut Research Center, coconut oil kills the viruses that cause influenza, measles, hepatitis, herpes, SARS, and other serious health risks. It also kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and gonorrhoea. Coconut oil is also effective in the elimination of fungi and yeast that cause ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, and diaper rash.
Other Health Benefits
Coconut oil helps in preventing liver diseases because those substances are easily converted into energy when they reach the liver, thus reducing the work load of the liver and also preventing the accumulation of fat.
Coconut oil helps in preventing kidney and gall bladder diseases. It also helps to dissolve kidney stones.
Coconut oil is also believed to be useful in treating pancreatitis.
Coconut oil is very soothing and hence it helps in removing stress. Applying coconut oil to the head, followed by a gentle massage, helps to eliminate mental fatigue.
Coconut oil helps in controlling blood sugar, and improves the secretion of insulin. It also promotes the effective utilization of blood glucose, thereby preventing and treating diabetes.
As mentioned earlier, coconut oil improves the ability of our body to absorb important minerals. These include calcium and magnesium which are necessary for the development of bones and are very useful to women who are prone to osteoporosis after middle age.
Calcium is an important component of our teeth. Since coconut oil facilitates absorption of calcium by the body, it helps in developing strong teeth. Coconut oil also stops tooth decay.
HIV and Cancer
It is believed that coconut oil plays an instrumental role in reducing a person’s viral susceptibility for HIV and cancer patients. Preliminary research has shown an indication of this effect of coconut oil on reducing the viral load of HIV patients.
Coconut oil and Alzheimer’s disease
The research conducted by Dr. Newport states that coconut oil is useful in treating Alzheimer’s disease. Coconut oil helps in boosting the function of the brain in any form.
How to use coconut oil
If you are using coconut oil for topical purposes, especially hair care, just melt the oil (if it is solid) by keeping the bottle in the sun or soaking it in warm water (do not use a microwave).
If you want to use it for internal consumption, simply replace butter or vegetable oils with coconut oil in your recipes. Remember, you do not need to completely switch to coconut oil, because then you will lose the other benefits of more traditional oils and dairy products.
However, if you get nauseated after eating coconut oil, do not force yourself to eat it. As can happen with any food item, your body may be allergic to coconut oil and it is best not to consume it.
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