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Surprising Benefits of Coconut Oil That Make You Healthy And Beautiful

Surprising Benefits of Coconut Oil That Make You Healthy And Beautiful

Most of us love and are familiar with the delicious taste and smell of coconut when it is eaten raw or cooked. But did you know that coconut oil can be beneficial for health and beauty, and that it is being considered the next “superfood”?

In Ayurveda, the ancient Indian medical system, coconut oil has is used as a key element for well-being. The benefits of coconut oil are endless. It has been considered the healthiest oil on earth, and there is a ton of evidence to back this up!

Scientific background

In the 50s, coconut oil was already being called “the drugstore in a bottle”. According to Dr. Millet from the Harvard School of Public Health, coconut oil has 92% of saturated fat, which is far more than most other edible oils. Unlike other oils, coconut oil is solid at room temperature because of all those saturated chemical bonds. It is also quite unique because it contains a high percentage of medium-chain fatty triglycerides–MCTs.

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After coconut oil has been ingested, MCTs go directly from the intestine to the liver, where they are converted into ketone bodies, and used as fuel which is burned off to produce energy. Therefore metabolic activity is higher, there is less fat is circulating in the blood stream, and less fat accumulates in the body. The list of benefits of coconut oil goes on and on but here are a few to get you started.

Coconut oil acts as a natural antibiotic and antioxidant

Lauric acid, the MCT present in coconut oil, has antimicrobial activity against bacteria, many fungi, and viruses. Lauric acid found in coconut oil has proven to kill the bacteria that causes staphylococcus aureus (responsible for many skin infections and bloodstream infections) and the yeast Candida Albicans (a common yeast). Because of this many commercial products use lauric acid as an antimicrobial agent.

A recent study published by the Royal Society of Chemistry, 2013, conducted at the University of Kerala, India, showed that a diet enriched with virgin coconut oil is beneficial in reducing oxidative stress (which causes cell damage and is responsible for a wide variety of disorders ranging from Alzheimer’s disease to cancer) and that it is a powerful antioxidant.

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Coconut oil combats brain disease

Coconut oil has therapeutic effects in brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. This is supported by several studies. One study stated that consumption of MCTs led to immediate improvement in patients with milder forms of the disease. The fatty acids found in coconut oil are being intensively studied as potential therapeutic agents in Alzheimer’s disease.

Besides Alzheimer’s disease, another important therapeutic application of coconut oil is the treatment of childhood epilepsy. The ketogenic diet (diet high in ketone bodies) is a high-fat, adequate protein, low carbohydrate diet that has been used for the treatment of intractable childhood epilepsy since the 1920s. In 2008, The Lancet, Neurology published that there was a 75% decrease in seizures. The MCTs found in coconut oil increase the concentration of ketone bodies, which has helped to reduce seizures.

Coconut oil helps with weight loss and decreases metabolic syndrome

We all want to be in shape, and with obesity being the largest public health problem on the planet today, this is the time to take action. In 1996, researchers from the Faculty of Medicine in Geneva, Switzerland stated that MCTs in coconut oil can increase 24-hour energy expenditure by as much as 5%–which means about 120 calories per day. This will definitely lead to weight loss. Metabolic syndrome is defined by the National Institute of Health (NIH) as a group of risk factors that raise your risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes and stroke.

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Coconut oil is a natural moisturizer and great for your skin

Coconut oil is used in many natural beauty products. Coconut oil is a wonderful, natural way to make your skin soft, radiant and healthy. It penetrates hair better than other oils and smells like heaven! This luscious oil is naturally antimicrobial, moisturizing and, according to research, great for eczema and psoriasis.You can use it as a moisturizer for your whole body.

Coconut oil can also be used as a face wash. Instead of spending a lot of money on beauty products, all you need is raw (virgin is better) coconut oil. The double-cleansing method is extremely simple: rub the oil in circular motions all over your face and neck, giving yourself a gentle massage as you go. When you’re done, wash off the residue with your favorite cleanser.

You don’t need those expensive body scrubs anymore. This DYI beauty secret is inexpensive and free of chemicals you find in most store-bought body scrubs! Pour half a cup of slightly warm coconut oil over one cup of brown sugar or salt and stir well. If you have some on hand, add in five drops of your favorite essential oil or pure vanilla extract. This scrub will work wonders and will smell so amazing that you will want to eat it! You can use coconut oil as a natural cheekbone highlighter, many natural makeup brands use it in their formulas already. All you have to do is gently apply a small amount of coconut oil on top of your make up and leave it alone.

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Coconut oil makes hair beautiful

Coconut oil is the perfect hair conditioner. It will leave your hair silky and with a healthy shine. Lauric acid in coconut oil has a high affinity for hair protein and easily enters the hair shaft (the non-growing part of a hair that extends from the follicle on the skin).

A study published in 2003 by the Nature Care Division of Marico Industries in Mumbai, India found coconut oil reduces the protein loss in both undamaged and damaged hair when used as a pre-wash and post-wash grooming product. The study explains that because of its low molecular weight and linear chain composition, it can penetrate inside the hair shaft–attaching onto the hair protein and preventing damage.

Try applying warm coconut oil on your head and washing your hair the next morning. Make sure to sleep with a towel over your pillow. When you wake up, wash it off and feel the difference. Your scalp will feel nourished and your hair will look silkier than ever! Extra virgin coconut oil is available in local supermarkets or in health food shops as cooking oil in jars, bottles or tubs, or as soft gel capsules containing 1000mg or 2000mg. You may also find coconut oil in your local Indian supermarket.

Natural coconut-producing countries, like India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and parts of the Caribbean, have always used coconut oil as their oil of preference. Try it out for yourself and embrace this surprisingly miraculous oil!    

Featured photo credit: MaraZe via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

More About Boosting Brain Power

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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