It’s been called “the healthiest oil on earth,” and that just might be true. Coconut oil has been used for centuries in Ayurveda because of its healing properties and positive effects on the body and mind. And now, coconut oil is making its way into mainstream popularity as one of the ultimate superfoods.
By now the secret of coconut oil is nothing new, and coconut oil has become one of the most commonplace superfoods found in kitchens and cosmetic bags around the world. Unlike other health trends which have come and gone over the past few years, it’s evident that coconut oil is here to stay.
Although many of us may use it for maybe just one or two of its powerful benefits, perhaps now it’s time for us to review everything that coconut oil can offer us in terms of whole body health. Just because it’s used in our cooking, or in our skincare regime, doesn’t mean that we can’t spread the love and use it for many more of its revitalizing and healing characteristics.
Here are 7 benefits of coconut oil for your whole body to enjoy:
1. Contains Fatty Acids With Powerful Medicinal Properties
Coconut oil has been demonized in the past because it contains saturated fat. In fact, coconut oil is one of the richest sources of saturated fat known to man, with almost 90% of the fatty acids in it being saturated.
Coconut oil doesn't contain your average saturated fats, like the ones you would find in cheese or steak. They contain Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) - which are fatty acids of a medium length. Most of the fatty acids in the diet are long-chain fatty acids, but the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil are metabolized differently.
They go straight to the liver from the digestive tract, where they are used as a quick source of energy or turned into so-called ketones, which can have therapeutic effects on brain disorders like epilepsy and Alzheimer's.
2. Dental Hygiene
Coconut oil has been traditionally used in oral health for centuries in India. After-all, coconut oil is both anti-fungal and antibacterial. When used three times a week during 20-minute oil-pulling sessions, it helps fight common ailments such as tooth decay and gum disease.
Oil pulling is the technique of swishing one spoonful of oil around the mouth. This method polishes and whitens teeth, heals gums and promotes overall oral health. The theory behind oil pulling revolves around the idea that oral bacteria and buildup is fat-soluble, not water soluble, and therefore will bind to the oil as it swishes throughout the mouth.
3. Digestive Health
Coconut oil is a strong digestive lubricant, stimulating better absorption of vitamins and minerals by the digestive tract. When taken at the same time as omega-3 fatty acids, it doubles their potency by simply allowing them to be more readily absorbed. It also increases energy immediately without stimulating fat storage. This is partly because one of the MCFAs found within coconut oil, capric acid, encourages healthy thyroid function, lowers resting heart rate, and encourages your body to burn fat rather than store it. It has powerful antibacterial properties and also is a good way to reduce candida growth, both of which can impact digestive health.
4. Can Help You Burn More Fat
Obesity is currently one of the biggest health problems in the world. While some people think obesity is only a matter of calories, others believe that the sources of those calories are important too. It is a fact that different foods affect our bodies and hormones in different ways. In this regard, a calorie is not a calorie.
The medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil can increase how many calories you burn compared to the same amount of other fats. One study found that 15-30 grams of MCTs per day increased 24-hour energy expenditure by 5%, totaling about 120 calories per day.
5. Coconut Oil Can Kill Harmful Microorganisms
Almost 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil is the 12-carbon Lauric Acid. When lauric acid is digested, it forms a substance called monolaurin. Both lauric acid and monolaurin can kill harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and fungi. For example, these substances have been shown to kill the bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus (a very dangerous pathogen) and the yeast Candida Albicans, a common source of yeast infections in humans.
6. Hair Care
Not surprisingly, just as coconut oil promotes healthy skin, it also promotes healthy hair and scalp. Using it much like you would deep conditioners or hair masks, a little goes a long way to rejuvenating dry and damaged hair, and soothing irritated scalp. In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, coconut oil has long been used to treat lice, dandruff, and cradle cap. When used in a scalp massage, it also helps stimulate hair growth, increases blood flow and helps kill any unwanted bacteria in the area.
7. Skin Health
Coconut oil has been used in India for generations to help with overall skin health. It can be used as a moisturizer to improve complexion, suppleness, and elasticity. It can also be used to treat an array of skin problems such as psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, dry or flaky skin, scars, and burns.
Ayurvedically speaking, coconut oil has a cooling property. Therefore, it can be used as a full body and face moisturizer, particularly in the summer for its cooling effects and SPF properties. It’s also extremely beneficial for the Pitta dosha, which is associated with the fire element, to treat symptoms associated with Pitta imbalance including anger, inflammation, and high blood pressure.
Coconut oil is one of the few foods that can be classified as a "superfood” and it has a lot of benefits for the body. In this post, I shared with you 7 benefits of coconut oil for your whole body to enjoy.
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