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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 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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