What is coconut oil?
Coconut oil is also known as copra oil. It is a famous type of oil that is used primarily for cooking at many households, which is extracted from the meat of matured coconuts and is usually reaped from coconut palm trees.
Coconut oil has several uses apart from being a type of cooking oil as it is rich in saturated fatty acids. While one benefit is that it can be stored up to 6 months when kept at a temperature of 24 degrees Celsius without getting spoiled, it also has a few other healthy benefits that everyone should be aware of.
The following are some of the main health benefits of using coconut oil:
- Moisturizes and nourishes your skin
- Reduces wrinkles
- Improves digestion
- Reduces cellulite
- An amazing source of healthy fats
- Balances hormonal levels
- Burns fat
- Kills Candida organisms and helpful in the prevention of candidiasis
- Balances the levels of blood sugar
- Improves energy
- A great source of fat for cooking
- Possesses antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties
Coconut oil has so many beneficial properties in it and this list goes on.
There are several types of coconut oils available and they include:
- Unrefined organic coconut oil
- Extra virgin oil
- Refined coconut oil
- Fractionated or MCT oils
Unrefined organic coconut oil is the gold standard among the different types because it offers most of the benefits mentioned above. The coconut oil is extracted from fresh coconuts using a fermentation method that preserves the beneficial properties. Although this process uses some amount of heat, studies have shown that they do not harm the coconut oil or affect its nutrient levels. On the other hand, refined coconut oils are usually tasteless, do not have that coconut oil smell, and do not have the benefits of unrefined coconut oils.
Coconut oil is good for your health because it is rich in saturated fatty acids. Most of the fats found in coconut oils are saturated but they are all in the form of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), which are also known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCFT).
So what is the secret behind medium-chain fatty acids?
Medium-chain fatty acids are made of several components: lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid. Lauric acid contributes to 40 percent of the total fat composition found in coconut oil. Lauric acid is then converted to monolaurin inside the body, which helps boost the immune functions of the body. The caprylic acid content of coconut oil also has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties while capric acid has both immune-boosting and antimicrobial functions.
Most of the foods that we consume consist of long-chain fatty acids that has to be broken down into medium-chain or short-chain fatty acids before they are absorbed in the intestines. The advantage with coconut oil is that it is already in the form of medium-chain fatty acids. Therefore, it can be readily absorbed by the intestines soon after ingestion. Right after absorption, the medium-chain fatty acids are taken to the liver for digestion. For its digestion, bile or pancreatic enzymes are not necessary, which makes coconut oil a healthy food for those with gallbladder problems as well as for those with type 2 diabetes.
Why is coconut oil used in cooking food?
Unlike other types of oils, coconut oil is a rather stable oil that can withstand high levels of temperature, which means that it does not easily break down when heated. Not only that, it has great nutritional effects as it does not get easily spoiled. Hence, coconut oil can be used for a longer period of time without any unpleasant smell or taste.
These are several other ways where you can utilize coconut oil in your foods:
- Directly spreading coconut oil on your toast. It will give an amazing smell as well as a wonderful taste to your breakfast.
- If you are in need of an energy boost after a tough workout, then a mix of coconut oil and some chia seeds is all that you need. This will give you a kick-start and boosts your energy, and all you have to do is mix 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and half a tablespoon of chia seeds.
- Coconut oil is also a good alternative for a nonstick cooking spray. If you are using a nonstick frying pan, the eggs will stick to it, so what you can do is add 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil and fry your eggs the way you desire it. Cleaning the pan will also be easy afterwards.
- Coconut oil is also an amazing topping for baked sweet potatoes. So, instead of using butter and then sprinkle a little bit of cinnamon over it to finish.
- Coconut oil can also be used as a replacement for butter in your baked goods. The advantage of using coconut oil in baking is that you are able to replace the unhealthy fat found in butter with some of the healthy fats in the coconut oil.
How can coconut oil help your skin?
1) Excellent moisturizer
Coconut oil moisturizes and nourishes your skin as well as gets rid of wrinkles, giving you a younger look. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature. However, it quickly liquefies when you get it onto your hands. Just before you go to bed, put a small amount of coconut oil onto your hand, rub it well, and apply in on your face. Let it dry for five minutes and then wipe it off. Coconut oil gets absorbed very quickly and is non-greasy. Therefore, it works well as a moisturizer. Coconut oil can also be incorporated in making natural face wash recipes.
2) Wrinkle remedy
Coconut oil is also well-known as a wrinkle reducer. You can just apply a little bit of coconut oil over the areas with wrinkles, especially around the eyes. Applying coconut oil will help avoid premature aging. Leave the oil overnight allowing it to soak in and you will wake up the next day feeling nice and fresh. Further anti-aging benefits can be obtained when you combine coconut oil with frankincense oil.
3) Makeup remover
Are you having trouble removing your makeup? Then, coconut oil is the best solution! You can just apply a small amount of coconut oil over your makeup and you will be able to remove it very easily. The non-irritating effect of coconut oil on your eyes and its ability to keep your eyes hydrated make it an amazing natural eye-makeup remover.
4) Lip moisturizer
Did you know that coconut oil is an excellent replacement for commercial lip balms? Dry cracked lips are something common that all of us experience and lip balms are our saviors. Most commercial lip balms contain a number of unhealthy ingredients, so why do we still use them? Especially when we could use something natural like coconut oil? Coconut oil has added health benefits unlike those commercial lip balms. It does not only help nourish your lips but also provides sun protection. At the same time, it is very safe to use.
To make a coconut lip balm, warm a non-stick pan and completely melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil mixed with 2 tablespoons of beeswax and 1 tablespoon of shea butter. You can put this mixture into a container by using a funnel and then leave it for a period of six hours. You can add color to this lip balm mixture by adding beetroot powder, turmeric, cinnamon, or cocoa powder. And, voila! You got yourself a naturally tinted lip balm.
5) Effective deodorant
Coconut oil can also be used as a natural deodorant. The natural antibacterial properties of coconut oil can help keep bacteria and bad odor away. It is an excellent deodorant alone. However, you can combine it with other substances such as baking soda and essential oils, but this combination will also produce an effective all-natural deodorant.
6) Massage oil
Coconut oil can also be used as a massage oil due to its soothing and conditioning properties.
Using coconut oil for hair
Coconut oil can also be used for your hair. It can be used for many different reasons and some of them are briefly described below.
1) Hair conditioner
Coconut oil can be used as a natural hair conditioner. It moisturizes your hair, helps the hair to retain moisture for a long period of time, and even helps strengthen your hair. The amount of coconut oil needed for hair care depends on the length and texture of your hair. The application of 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil is usually enough.
2) Gets rid of dandruff
Coconut oil is also known to prevent and treat dandruff. It improves hair growth and will avoid the formation of dandruff. Coconut oil will make your hair look healthy and shiny.
3) Styling hair
Coconut oil also helps you to style your hair just the way you want it. Thus, you can now avoid using commercial hair gels or creams, which are made of alcohol and other toxic substances that can make your hair dry. Apply a small amount of coconut oil on your palm and then rub it at the ends of your hair to style as you wish. In addition, coconut oil will make your hair look shinier.
Using coconut oil for teeth
Coconut oil is helpful in maintaining a beautiful set of teeth, and the best way to do this is coconut oil pulling. It removes bacteria on your teeth and promotes the health of both teeth and gums. It was initially used in Ayurveda practice. However, it has now become quite popular in the United States.
So how is coconut oil pulling done?
All you have to do is take 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and rinse your mouth using this oil for a period of at least 10-20 minutes. Oil pulling is an excellent oral detoxification method. The mechanism behind this method is just similar to how soap cleans dirty dishes. The oil pulls out the toxic substances or dirt out of your mouth leaving a clear and antiseptic environment. This process was a traditional method used for decades as a remedy for many conditions, such as tooth decay, throat dryness, bleeding gums, cavities, acne, and bad breath. It also helps in relieving inflammation, heals cracked lips, strengthens the gums and jaws, boosts the immune system, and helps prevent cardiac diseases.
Using coconut oil for sunburn
Coconut oil helps prevent sunburn and has a natural sunscreen effect, which can be used as a remedy for those being burned under the sun. The sun protecting factor or SPF is a measure of how good a sunscreen protects the skin from UV rays. Coconut oil has an SPF of 4, which is more than enough to protect the skin against sunburn. You can reapply the oil whenever you want to. However, if you were already exposed to the sun for a long period of time and got sunburnt, you can still apply some coconut oil over the area where you have sunburn and the coconut oil will do its job. It will speed up the process of healing, as well as relieve the pain.
- Coconut oil is good for your health because it is rich in saturated fatty acids.
- Coconut oil is helpful in maintaining a beautiful set of teeth.
- It can also be used as a massage oil due to its soothing and conditioning properties.