If you’re reading this article, chances are that you might have heard one or two wonderful things about coconut oil but would like to get a better understanding of the oil before actually getting down to using it. Coconut oil is indeed classified as one of the world’s “superfoods” because of its highly respectable healing properties and benefits for our wellbeing.
And here’s why you shouldn’t stop exploring other powerful benefits of this “superfood”:
Proven Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
Studies have shown that coconut oil can kill harmful bacteria as its content makeup is 50% Lauric Acid, which is used medically for viral infections. This substance has also been proven to kill the bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus, which is a very dangerous pathogen.
Surprisingly, coconut oil can also be used as an effective hunger suppressant due to its high fatty acid content. Fatty acids such as the medium chain triglycerides (MCT) have an appetite-reducing effect. In one study, men who were given more MCTs ate 256 fewer calories than men who weren’t give as much. Although this study was conducted over a short period of time, increasing MCTs in your diet may be a long-term solution to weight loss.
Another one of the benefits of coconut oil is that it can also lower cholesterol as saturated fats helps increase good cholesterol (high density lipoprotein) while reducing bad cholesterol (low density lipoprotein). In one study, regular consumption of coconut oil in 40 women led to better cholesterol levels as compared to soybean oil.
Myths About Coconut Oil
As with many wonder foods out there, the internet is filled with claims that are scientifically backed up and those which are simply trumped up.
Due to the thick and solidified state of coconut oil, caused by its low solidifying point of 24 degrees celsius, there are many misconceptions of coconut oil being thick and difficult to be absorbed by the body. But little do people know that coconut oil is actually a very thin liquid and it is not greasy or sticky, hence it is very easily absorbed by the body and favoured to be used as a tanning or massage oil.
Many people avoid coconut oil mainly because of its high saturated fat content. As a result, they form the misconception that it will lead to obesity and heart diseases. In fact the opposite is true, as the saturated fats in coconut oil actually help to increase the body’s metabolism, thereby leading to higher energy consumption and faster fat burning.
Potential Risks of Using Coconut Oil
Due to the lack of extensive studies on the effects coconut oil has on cholesterol, the American Heart Association has maintained that we should limit our intake of all saturated fats, despite whether or not coconut oil contains MCTs.
However, all health institutions agree that the benefits of coconut oil make it a better alternative to using trans fat oil and commercial vegetable oils that are processed.
How to Use Coconut Oil
Coconut oil can be used for many ailments and skin issues. Its deep skin penetrating properties act as an extremely effective skin moisturiser which is perfect for dull or dry skin. Simply applying pure coconut oil to the skin and leaving it on overnight can be very beneficial for the skin, as reported by many users.
Coconut oil is also a good hair conditioner known to strengthen hair and give a healthy shine. Applying coconut oil to your roots can also prevent lice and dandruff as it has anti-microbial properties.
The Difference Between Pure Coconut Oil and Refined Coconut Oil
Refined coconut oil is oil that has been bleached and deodorised and is usually extracted from dried coconut meat. The deodorising process takes away the oil’s distinctive odour and flavour. Most refined coconut oils are hydrogenated and may contain trans-fats which raise the bad cholesterol levels in our body.
Pure coconut oil, sometimes referred to as virgin coconut oil, is oil that is extracted from fresh coconut meat. Pure coconut oil is not hydrogenated and has not been bleached or deodorised, thus retaining its natural flavours and odour.
Where to Buy Coconut Oil
Coconut oil can be purchased at your local supermarket. The oil should be clear and consumers should note not to by virgin coconut oil if there are impurities or if it is cloudy. One can also buy coconut oil online these days at online supplement stores or online specialty grocery stores.