For years, coconut oil has had a bad name, lumped in with unhealthy saturated fats. People steered away from it and other high fat foods. The problem with throwing coconut oil in the same category as butter, margarine, and shortening is this oil is far healthier than it appears. The saturated fats in coconut oil (90%) come from medium chain triglycerides. These shorter fat chains are easily put to use by the body and are not simply stored away as fat.
Coconut oil boosts energy levels, raises good cholesterol, and balances out blood sugar without the weight gain, cholesterol, and other health risks that come from other saturated or trans fats. Coconut oil doesn’t stop there – it’s antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, and antiviral. It also aids in the absorption of vitamins and minerals.
These immune boosting properties make it the perfect oil to use in a million ways. Here are just some of the uses for coconut oil:
A solid fat at room temperature, coconut oil’s rich flavour makes it a delicious substitute for butter or shortening. A small amount goes a long way in soups, curries, fish or adding a lovely tropical flavor to vegetables – try sweet potatoes roasted in coconut oil (yummy!).
Virgin coconut oil is high in lauric acid which is easier to digest than other fatty acids and coconut oil doesn’t form harmful by-products when heated like most other oils/animal fats so can be used to replace butter, ounce for ounce in recipes.
As with any fat use coconut oil sparingly as part of a healthy plant-based diet to achieve maximum benefit.
Other claims suggest coconut oil can:
Lower Your Cholesterol & Restore Thyroid Function
Lauric acid can increase the good HDL cholesterol in the blood and 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 also help restore normal thyroid function, which also contributes to healthier cholesterol.
Coconut oil can help strenthen resistance to viruses and bacteria. It can also help to fight off yeast, fungus and candida and if you suffer from skin infection (such as eczema), having adequate levels of lauric acid could prove useful in reducing the risk of a secondary bacterial infection.
Balance your weight
Coconut has special fats called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Breaking down these types of healthy fats in the liver leads to efficient burning of energy. One 2009 study found that women who consumed 30 ml (about 2 tablespoons) of coconut oil daily for 12 weeks not only did not gain weight, but actually had lowered amounts of abdominal fat, a type of fat that is difficult to lose.
Lessen the effects of diabetes
This is one fat that diabetics can eat without fear. Not only does it not contribute to diabetes, but it helps regulate blood sugar.
Strengthen your bones
Coconut oil improves calcium and magnesium absorption in the body. The improved calcium absorption created by coconut oil use ceases tooth decay and aids in the development of strong teeth. The combined increased calcium and magnesium absorption are of great benefit to middle-aged women at higher risk of osteoporosis.
Oils found in coconut have a positive antioxidant action in the body – they help our body stop the damage to other healthy fats and tissues in our body. Oxidation is considered a major contributor to cardiovascular problems and skin aging. Coconut oil can actually help our bodies reduce the need for antioxidant intake.
Hydrate your hair
The fatty acids in coconut oil conditions, strengthens, and repairs hair. Massage it in and rinse it out after ten minutes. A small amount can be rubbed in to dry hair to tame frizz.
Body oil, lip balm, makeup remover & cuticle softener
Coconut oil’s creamy texture removes oil based makeup such as mascara easily can be used as a light all over moisturizer – apply a 10p sized amount right after you get out of the shower so it can sink into your warm skin or add in a few drops of peppermint or lavender oil for a massage mix.