Though it is not a recent discovery, awareness of coconut oil benefits has increased over the years, making it a popular product found in every home. Not only does it have health benefits, but it is also used for skincare, hair care and can be a very common ingredient used in the kitchen.
Easily available on almost every shelf of every department store, it has a sweet smell to it. It maintains solid consistency while stored at cool temperatures but melts to liquid if temperatures are slightly warm.
Types of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is extracted from the white ‘meat’ or ‘flesh’ of the coconut and made into oil through two different methods. The first is by applying heat to the meat and extracting oil from the dried kernel, also known as the ‘copra.’ Through this process, refined coconut oil is extracted.
The second type of coconut oil is cold-pressed and unrefined. It is extracted through fresh, raw coconut meat and is considered pure or the raw form of this oil. Since this method is natural, the oil has a stronger scent and taste than the refined version. Cold-pressed coconut oil is considered more beneficial than refined coconut oil, as it retains all the vitamins and minerals present in the coconut.
Benefits of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil benefits are infinite, which is why we have picked a few of the important ones out for you.
Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
Prevents and treats Alzheimer’s disease
Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids, which can serve as a substitute energy source in helping improve brain dysfunctions in Alzheimer’s disease. They go to your liver and are converted into ketones, which have great advantages for the brain.
Increases ‘good’ cholesterol
Coconut oil is made up of a type of saturated fats that are high in medium-chain triglycerides. Research shows that this helps control blood pressure and also reduces the risk of heart disease.
Helps in weight loss
Studies prove that virgin coconut oil can help in weight reduction. It is said to be most effective when consumed daily as unrefined coconut oil burns fat and calories. It is also meant to reduce one’s appetite and make one feel full. When consumed with a balanced diet and regular exercise, drastic changes can be seen.
Anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties
Coconut oil is known to have lauric acid that kills harmful viruses and bacteria. It has also been proven to kill some dangerous types of pathogens and yeast infections. Due to its anti-bacterial properties, people often use it for oil pulling to kill the bacteria found in the mouth.
Skin Benefits of Coconut Oil
Can be used as a moisturizer
Coconut oil can definitely be a part of your skincare routine, especially if you have dry skin. Hydrating the skin, it locks in moisture. It is used on the face, but it can help reduce dryness all over the body. A popular remedy for cracked heels is applying coconut oil because of its moisturizing properties.
Helps with eczema and irritated skin
Virgin coconut oil is excellent for skin issues like eczema or irritated skin. It may not work as a cure for such a condition, but it will definitely help soothe the skin. Not only that, it provides pain relief as well.
Protects the skin from UV rays
Coconut oil helps protect the skin from around 20 percent of the sun’s UV rays, which can cause skin cancer. It also works as a barrier for the skin, protecting from dirt and toxins.
Has anti-aging benefits
Who needs expensive anti-aging serums when you have coconut oil? Regular application of it on your skin will help reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Rich in antioxidants, oral consumption also leads to anti-aging benefits.
Hair Benefits of Coconut Oil
Conditions and protects the hair
When applied to the hair, coconut oil moisturizes the scalp and the hair keeping it soft and shiny. It also works as a natural barrier for the hair and protects it from heat damage and other things such as chlorine.
A small amount of coconut oil applied to the hair can help prevent fizziness and nourish the hair at the same time.
One common hair issue that people face is dandruff. Coconut oil is proven to be anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, which helps prevent this issue. The fat in coconut oil has proven to moisturize and protect the hair, also preventing dryness of the hair and scalp.
Common Uses of Coconut Oil
A popular ingredient for home remedies, there are unlimited uses of coconut oil. Here are some common ones:
As a deodorant
Since it has anti-bacterial properties, it helps prevent bad odor, which is caused because of bacteria on the skin.
Treatment of wounds
When applied to wounds, coconut oil helps reduce inflammation and soothes the skin.
As a makeup remover
One of the common uses of coconut oil is for removing makeup, where it works wonders. Not only that, but it also helps get rid of any dirt or impurities that may have built upon the skin during the day.
Coconut oil is relatively safe as it does not oxidize when exposed to high temperatures. So it is commonly used for cooking and frying things.
Every tablespoon of coconut oil contains approximately 130 calories and 14 grams of fat. There are no carbohydrates or proteins present.
How to Consume Coconut Oil
While eating coconut oil in its raw form is possible, there are many other ways to consume it. Many people like to mix it in their coffee, tea, or smoothies. Others like to use it for cooking or baking purposes, while some mix it into their yogurt or oatmeal. People also add it to their homemade chocolate or protein bars as a form of nutrition and energy.
Interesting Facts about Coconut Oil
- Coconut oil helps curb sugar cravings.
- People who consume coconut oil are some of the healthiest people in the world.
- Regular application of coconut oil can help prevent grey hair.
Side Effects of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil should always be used in moderation. Excessive use can lead to certain side effects such as nausea, headaches, dizziness, an upset stomach, rashes, and other skin conditions. In certain cases, it can also lead to weight gain. If you have oily skin, applying coconut oil could lead to acne breakouts, clogged pores, or whiteheads.
The quantity of coconut oil consumed should be built up gradually with time while noticing whether the body experiences any side effects or not. While coconut oil works for some people, it may not work for others.
To sum it up, coconut oil is a must-have item in every household because of its beneficial properties and unlimited uses. Not only is it a great option for skin and hair care, but its anti-bacterial properties also make it commonly used for hygiene and health purposes. Due to its health benefits, many people consume it in different ways and for various purposes.
Though refined and unrefined coconut oils are both easily available and popularly used, the unrefined coconut oil version is more beneficial as it is in its pure and raw state. When consumed in moderation and in the right amounts, coconut oil can prove to have miraculous effects on your body.