My latest health food craze is non other than the much talked about and debated coconut oil.
I am a great fan of the coconut and I like everything about the coconut from the water to the coconut milk, the flesh to the oil. All my favorite desserts have elements of coconut in them. I am nuts over coconuts! 😀
Here are some of the ways on how I savour coconut oil…
I drizzle some extra virgin coconut oil into my hot cup of Hershey’s cocoa with milk or milk coffee.
I drizzle coconut oil onto my toast and slather maple syrup on it. Yums!
I also add coconut oil into curries and desserts like red bean soup.
Food For Though
Coconut oil has a multitude of health benefits, which include but are not limited to skin care, hair care, improving digestion and immunity against a host of infections and diseases.
Coconut oil was considered a bane for the human body due to its high saturated fat content until the last decade (2000s) when people began to question the claims of the propaganda. Let’s look into some more details of how coconut oil works in our body.
Coconut oil is used for diabetes, heart disease, chronic fatigue, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Alzheimer’s disease, thyroid conditions, energy, and boosting the immune system. Ironically, despite coconut oil’s high calorie and saturated fat content, some people use it to lose weight and lower cholesterol.
Coconut oil is sometimes applied to the skin as a moisturizer and to treat a skin condition called psoriasis.
Coconut Oil Health Benefits
1. The Lauric Acid in Coconut Oil Can Kill Bacteria, Viruses and Fungi, Helping to Stave Off Infections
Studies have show that intake of coconut oil can help our bodies mount resistance to both viruses and bacteria that can cause illness. Even more, it also can help to fight off yeast, fungus and candida.
2. Thyroid and Blood-sugar control
Coconut oil can also positively affect our hormones for thyroid and blood-sugar control. People who take coconut oil also tend to have improvements in how they handle blood sugar since coconut can help improve insulin use within the body.
Coconut oil can boost thyroid function helping to increase metabolism, energy and endurance. It increases digestion and helps to absorb fat-soluble vitamins.
3. Reduces cholesterol
Coconut oil has a saturated fat called lauric acid, a type of MCT. It has been shown that lauric acid increases the good HDL cholesterol in the blood to help improve cholesterol ratio levels. Coconut oil lowers cholesterol by promoting its conversion to pregnenolone, a molecule that is a precursor to many of the hormones our bodies need. Coconut can help restore normal thyroid function. When the thyroid does not function optimally, it can contribute to higher levels of bad cholesterol.
4. Coconut Oil Can Increase Your Energy Expenditure, Helping You Burn More Fat
The medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil can increase energy expenditure compared to the same amount of calories from longer chain fats. One study found that 15-30 grams of MCTs per day increased 24 hour energy expenditure by 5%, totalling about 120 calories per day.
Bottom Line: The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil have been shown to increase 24 hour energy expenditure by as much as 5%, potentially leading to significant weight loss over the long term.
5. Coconut Oil Can Improve Blood Cholesterol Levels and May Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease
Coconut oil is loaded with saturated fats, which actually do not harm the blood lipid profile like previously thought.
Saturated fats raise HDL (the good) cholesterol and change the LDL cholesterol to a benign subtype.
In one study in 40 women, coconut oil reduced Total and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL compared to soybean oil.
There are also rat studies showing that coconut oil reduces triglycerides, total and LDL cholesterol, increases HDL and improves blood coagulation factors and antioxidant status.
This improvement in cardiovascular risk factors should theoretically lead to a reduced risk of heart disease over the long term.
Bottom Line: Studies in both humans and rats show that coconut oil improves important risk factors like Total, LDL and HDL cholesterol, which may translate to a reduced risk of heart disease.
6. Hair conditioner
Coconut oil is a creamy solid at room temperature, and turns to liquid when heated to 76°F. While in the shower, melt your coconut oil by running the jar under the warm water. Then, after shampooing, apply a generous amount of the oil to wet strands and twist hair into a bun. Let it sit for at least five minutes before rinsing to add moisture and shine back into limp locks.
7. Body oil
As a solid, coconut oil’s creamy texture makes it the perfect light moisturizer to slather all over. Apply a quarter sized amount right after you get out of the shower so it can sink into your warm skin. The light tropical scent that lingers after it’s applied. Add in a few drops of peppermint or lavender oil for a massage mix. For me, I mix coconut oil with melaleuca oil and slather on my hands and feet each night. I use this concoction for body massage too.
8. Lip balm
Chapped lips don’t stand a chance against ultra-hydrating coconut oil. Scoop some into a spare contact lens holder and throw it in your purse so you can dab it on with your finger throughout the day.
9. Under-eye cream
The skin under your eyes is thin and delicate, making it prone to fine lines, puffiness, and dark circles. If you hate the idea of dropping big bucks on expensive eye cream, then sub in coconut oil. Just rub a pinch in between fingers to warm it up before patting it underneath your eyes.
10. Frizz fighter
Rub a pea size amount of coconut oil between your fingers to warm it up, and then apply it to the bottom couple inches of your hair for all day frizz protection. If you have thicker, coarser hair, apply the coconut oil from mid-shaft to ends for added frizz control. Bonus: It also leaves hair extra shiny and soft!
11. Makeup remover
Just a teaspoon (or less) can take off a day’s worth of makeup with ease, no matter the staying power.
Massage a dollop of warmed, liquified coconut oil straight onto skin and watch as makeup melts away, then rinse with warm water.
12. Shaving cream
Ran out of shaving cream? Coconut oil to the rescue! Just warm the jar under the water and smooth onto legs before shaving. Your razor will glide smoothly, allowing for a super-close shave, and your legs will be moisturized from the oil in the process.
Lastly, just because we think there are some health benefits doesn’t mean you can use a whole jar of coconut oil to cook. Key is moderation and do not lose sight of portion control.