It seems as if you can’t go anywhere without seeing coconut oil or coconut water everywhere you go. Celebrities, athletes, and media praise the use of coconut oil and swear by it’s health benefits. So what exactly is coconut oil and what are the benefits of using it?
Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a saturated fat. But before you run and hide, it is a saturated fat that has healthy properties. The first reason is that it is made up of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT’s). MCT’s are more easily digested than the long chains found in other saturated fats and are immediately processed and burned by the liver. Another reason is that the saturated fat in coconut oil is comprised of Lauric Acid. There is a lot of research being conducted on coconut oil and early findings show that Lauric Acid can increase your HDL (healthy) cholesterol and lower your LDL (lethal) cholesterol. Once Lauric Acid is processed in the body it is turned in to monolaurin which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal as well as immune system strengthening properties
Like many oils and fats, coconut oil is high in calories so if you are on a calorie restricted diet you should be aware of how much you are consuming. Despite being high in calories, the heart healthy properties lead some to believe it is a better choice than olive oil. Because of the way the fatty acids are processed in the body coconut oil and help reduce appetite and increase metabolism leading to healthy weight loss. Coconut oil also does not cause a spike in blood sugar when consumed which makes it healthy for diabetics to consume on a regular basis.
More research is being conducted but preliminary results show that ketones in coconut oil can help reduce seizures in children with drug resistant epilepsy. In addition, ketones help supply the brain with energy and serve as an alternative energy source for the malfunctioning cells found in patients with Alzheimer’s.
There are so many uses of coconut. It makes a wonderful dairy substitute for those who are lactose intolerant. You can use coconut oil to make your own body care products and hair products. Below are some ways that you can you use coconut oil in your daily routine below.
12 Uses of Coconut Oil
- Because of its high smoke point coconut oil is good for use in baking and stir fries.
- Coconut oil can replace vegetable oil in any recipe.
- It is a good substitute for margarine or butter spreads (Vegan and Paleo friendly too).
- Can be used in smoothies to add healthy fat and a creamy, rich texture.
- Melt some in to a cup of hot tea to soothe a sore throat.
- Use during pregnancy to reduce appearance of stretch marks.
- Use as a natural diaper cream (won’t harm cloth diapers).
- Breastfeeding moms can use as a natural nipple cream to soothe cracked nipples.
- Coconut Oil has moisturizing properties that can penetrate in to the deeper layers of your skin making it an excellent moisturizing body cream. How to make homemade body lotion.
- Rub a small dab on hands and run through the hair to help de-frizz. You can also use it to make homemade shampoo.
- Mix with sugar to make a moisturizing scrub to use in the shower. How to make a sugar scrub.
- Combine it with backing soda and essential oils to make homemade toothpaste.
You can find more ways to use coconut oil here.
While some people may call the use of coconut oil a “fad” research is quickly supporting the health benefits that many people have been claiming for the last couple of years. There is still research to be done on the benefits of coconut oil but these early findings are promising. Coconut oil can be found at most large grocery store chains, health food stores, or other specialty health stores. As always, consult your doctor before trying any new diet or making any changes to your health routines.
More Healthy Foods to Add to your Diet:
Alicia can be found on her blog Moms Don’t Say That where she share recipes, tips, and musings from her life.