Coconut oil has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for over 3,000 years. It has verified positive medical properties, but it also enjoys popular use in beauty regimes as a moisturizer, and in cooking, for its rich flavor.
It’s easy to use in your diet and topically, and many different varieties can be found at health food stores, as well as the grocery store. We’ll take a look at coconut oil, how you can benefit from taking it, and how you can start use it in your everyday life.
ALL OILS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL
There are amazing benefits to be gained from using coconut oil, but it matters greatly which type of oil you use.
The good kind of saturated fat can be found in unrefined, virgin, extra-virgin, pure, or raw coconut oil. They are processed without bleaches or chemicals. Depending on the processing technique, these oils taste and smell delicious, ranging from mild buttery coconut, to rich coconut with hints of vanilla.
Organic Coconut Oil contains organic coconuts, so the oil is non-GMO. The coconut palms are grown in organic manure, and no synthetic fertilizers or chemical insecticides are used.
Raw Coconut Oil contains oil that has been cold pressed. No heat is applied at any stage of the processing, which is said to help the oil keep all of its beneficial properties.
Pure Coconut Oil is extracted not from the meat, but from copra, which is dried coconut kernels. The oil is unrefined, and does not contain any additives.
Virgin Coconut Oil generally means that the milk from the first pressing of the coconut meat is used to make the oil.
The processing techniques may be mixed, so you could theoretically find yourself with a jar of Pure Coconut Oil, Pure Virgin Coconut Oil, Raw Pure Organic Coconut Oil, or anything in-between.
Refined Coconut Oil is the cheapest. The coconut is often injected with chemicals and hydrogenated oils to help processors extract the maximum amount of oil. Then, the oil is bleached. Because it contains hydrogenated oils, it contains trans fat, which is known to raise bad cholesterol levels, while lowering the good levels.
ABOUT GOOD FATS
Coconut oil does contain saturated fat, but it’s a very special kind of saturated fat. Coconut oil’s saturated fat contains medium-chain fatty acids called lauric acid, capric acid, caprylic acid, caproic acid, and myristic acid. These acids have many positive benefits, and have proven to have powerful antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiviral properties. They can help with weight loss by speeding down metabolism, can lower blood cholesterol, and they have even been beneficial in treating HIV/AIDS.
COCONUT OIL FOR YOUR HEALTH
Coconut oil has been dubbed a miracle food for good reason. Medical studies are still being conducted to gain further information on how this humble drupe manages to aid in everything from weight loss to heart disease, but coconut oil has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years.
AYURVEDIC AND MEDICAL BENEFITS
Coconut oil is considered a staple in ayurvedic medicine for its cooling properties on the mind and body. Ayurvedic practitioners know that coconut oil is soothing to skin and the body. Modern medicine also praises the oil, and studies have shown that its usage has immediate as well as long term benefits.
Studies have shown that coconut oil can help the heart. The healthy fats in coconut oil have antioxidants that can reduce inflammation in arteries. Virgin coconut oil contains enzymes which help to produce bile. This in turn helps to absorb and expel bad fats from the body. And lauric acid helps to regulate cholesterol levels.
Coconut oil can help with anti-aging. The powerful antioxidants in coconut oil attack free radicals. Free radicals attack the healthy cells and fats our body needs to stay young and viable. And applied topically, coconut oil smooths out wrinkles and helps improve skin’s elasticity.
Weight loss is possible by consuming about two tablespoons a day. The metabolism gets a boost from the medium chain triglycerides. They stimulate the thyroid, and assist the liver in breaking down fat, which in turn gives the body an overall boost of energy. Consuming coconut oil is also believed to suppress the appetite.
The antifungal properties in coconut oil have been proven to kill candida, a harmful fungus that can take root in the body, causing fatigue, stomach cramps, headaches, and other problems.
Coconut oil is taken by some diabetics because consuming it doesn’t result in an insulin spike.
Results from clinical trials have indicated that consumption of coconut oil may assist in maintaining healthy brain and cognitive function, and can even stave off or help cure neurodegenerative diseases when caught early.
Taking coconut oil internally and applying it topically helps cure skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, and dandruff. Simply warm the oil in your hands, and massage it into the skin or scalp.
Coconut oil has antibacterial properties. Pulling with coconut oil helps to improve mouth, teeth, and gum health.
And coconut oil has been recommended to men and women dealing with osteoporosis. Coconut oil’s antioxidants attack free radicals, which can be very damaging to bone health. Taking coconut oil also seems to increase the body’s ability to absorb calcium.
COCONUT OIL FOR BEAUTY
Coconut oil is found not just in the kitchen, but on many vanity counters as well. The lipids in coconut oil can delay the onset of wrinkles and improve skin elasticity.
Coconut oil can be applied topically to skin, lips and cuticles as a moisturizer, and to hair as a conditioner. And since coconut oil is considered a carrier oil, it blends well with essential oils. Essential oils contain additional health benefits, and are also used for their lovely scents. A drop or two of lavender oil can be added to a coconut oil carrier to create a luxurious skin or hair treatment.
A massage lotion can be made with coconut oil, by warming it slightly in a pan and then adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil. It’s not recommended that coconut oil be heated in the microwave because its temperature can spike quickly, making it too hot to handle.
Coconut oil can be used as a make-up remover. Apply the oil to the face, and gently wipe it away with a tissue or cotton swab.
Mouth pulling with coconut oil, or using coconut oil as a mouthwash, helps to destroy smelly bacteria that may be lingering in the mouth.
Coconut oil is a great substitute for shaving cream. It softens the hair on the face or body, making it easy to remove, while the oils moisturize the skin.
Some people have found coconut oil is effective as a natural deodorant. The antibacterial agents in the oil destroy odors. It can be mixed with cornstarch for easier application and even greater odor absorption.
Coconut oil can be used in many dishes, from main courses to desserts. It can be a nutritious and tasty replacement for other vegetable oils or butter. It can be stirred into coffee as a flavor enhancer and cream substitute, or spread on toast as a rich, healthy treat.
For a double-whammy, try spreading it on this Life-Changing Bread. http://www.mynewroots.org/site/2013/02/the-life-changing-loaf-of-bread/
Some people still avoid coconut oil, worrying about the calories or fat it contains. But as people become more interested in what’s in their food, how their food is processed, and how our bodies process food, it’s becoming common knowledge that coconut oil has all kinds of beneficial properties – and has an exquisite flavor to boot. Try incorporating it into your life today, and reap the benefits for yourself.