Coconut oil has been in use for a long time due to its imposing benefits for your health, hair and skin. Coconut oil is largely used as cooking oil in the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and North America. This oil is extracted from coconut flesh. It comprises of 85% fatty acids, mainly medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). It is the presence of these fatty acids that makes it so beneficial. Coconut oil also possesses anti- inflammatory, anti- microbial, anti-fungal, anti- viral properties and stimulates nutrient absorption.
Types of Coconut Oil:
There are generally two types of coconut oil
- Unrefined or Virgin Coconut Oil: It has more coconut flavour and greater nutritional value than its refined counterpart as the fresh coconut flesh is pressed mechanically to extract coconut oil. It doesn’t contain any additive, chemicals, etc. Virgin coconut oil is mainly used in soaps, cosmetics and other skin and hair care products.
- Refined Coconut Oil: This type of coconut oil is most widely used though it is not the purest form of coconut oil. Refined coconut oil is extracted from the dried coconut flesh, known as copra. The process of refining involves bleaching and deodorizing. It is easily available, has a longer shelf life and is more hygienic and cheaper than virgin coconut oil.
Nutritional Value of Coconut Oil:
The benefits of coconut oil can be attributed to its rich nutritional value which encompasses fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Most of the calories in coconut oil come from fat. About 90% of the fat contained in coconut oil is saturated fat. Saturated fat does not have a good reputation when it comes to health benefits. But as far as coconut oil is concerned, about half of the saturated fat in it is lauric acid, which can actually improve your cholesterol levels by raising good high density lipo-protein. Since coconut oil is high in calories and fat, it is advisable to use it sparingly to get maximum benefits.
Health Benefits of Coconut Oil:
Most of us are unaware of the fact that coconut oil is great for your face. It can be applied topically to treat several skin problems. The benefits of coconut oil for your face are as follows.
1. Treatment of Acne:
Coconut oil is an effective remedy for acne. You can use extra virgin coconut oil for acne treatment. Applying coconut oil on acne can kill acne causing bacteria. You can also consume it. Regular consumption not only treats acne and pimples but also prevents their recurrence. You can also use coconut oil as an ingredient in your face packs.
2. Prevents Wrinkles:
No one likes to have wrinkled skin. Often people use various cosmetics to prevent or conceal wrinkles. Coconut oil is a natural way to treat wrinkles. Free radicals are one of the main causes of pre-mature ageing of skin, which is visible in the form of fine lines and wrinkles. The antioxidant property of coconut oil helps remove free radicals, thus slowing down the ageing process and preventing the occurrence of wrinkles. Coconut oil also helps in lifting dry skin, which can be a cause of wrinkles.
3. Adds Glow:
Massage with coconut oil can give you healthy and radiant skin. It increases blood circulation, removes dead skin and hydrates your skin. It is a natural moisturizer that adds a natural glow to your face.
4. Treats Dark Circles:
Coconut oil is effective in lightening under-eye dark circles. To get rid of dark circles, take some amount of coconut oil and massage on dark circles in circular motion. This should be done regularly. You will notice the difference within a week.
5. Cures Dark Dry Lips:
Coconut oil is a natural lip balm. Its application moisturizes lips, thus treating chapped, dry lips. Application of coconut oil overnight also lightens dark lips.
6. Removes Dry Patches on Face:
Skin dryness in patches is a common condition. Coconut oil is very effective in the treatment of dry skin due to its moisturizing qualities. It restores skin balance and makes your skin soft and smooth.
7. Treats Red, Tired Eyes and Puffy Eye Bags:
Red tired eyes with eye bags adversely affect the beauty of your eyes. Coconut oil massage around the eyes helps in treating eye bags. It also reduces eye redness and tiredness.
Coconut oil is a boon for your hair. Today it is commercially available on a large scale. But virgin coconut oil is the best as far as its benefits are concerned. Topical application of coconut oil can provide the following benefits to your hair.
8. Natural Conditioner:
Coconut oil is a natural conditioner. It improves hair texture and keeps it soft and shiny. Warm coconut oil massage before going to bed can give you healthy conditioned hair.
9. Repairs Damage:
The sun’s rays and environmental pollution can greatly damage your hair. But you can repair and prevent further damage with the use of coconut oil. Regular application nourishes hair and repairs the damage as it contains proteins and natural acids which are beneficial for your hair.
10. Treats Hair Loss:
Coconut oil is an age old treatment for hair loss. It stimulates hair growth by nourishing your scalp. If you are suffering from hair loss, massage your scalp properly with warm coconut oil at bedtime regularly. You will notice the difference within a few weeks.
11. Prevents Split Ends:
It is often believed that split ends have no solution except to trim them. But if you have fewer split ends, you can get rid of them with the use of coconut oil. This oil can help re-join them. It also prevents further split ends.
12. Treatment of Lice:
Presence of lice in your hair can be really embarrassing. Several products are available in the market to eliminate lice, but the chemicals in them can damage your hair. Coconut oil is a natural way of removing lice because it contains some fats, which suffocate them and prevent them from maintaining grip. You can apply coconut oil on wet hair and then use a fine comb to remove the lice.
Coconut oil provides amazing benefits to your skin. Some of the ways in which this oil can be beneficial for your skin are as follows.
Coconut oil is a great moisturizer. It gives soft, supple and smooth skin. Coconut oil can be used on body after shower or you can add coconut oil to warm bath water. It is also used as an ingredient in soaps available in the market.
14. Treatment of Bruises:
Bruises are caused by injuries when skin is not damaged, but blood vessels are damaged. Application of coconut oil on bruises can heal them faster. It helps repair the damaged tissues.
Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition characterized by dry, itchy rashes on skin. Coconut oil is an effective remedy to cure eczema. You can apply coconut oil on eczema patches or you can consume it. Its application moisturizes dry patches and reduces itching. The anti-fungal, anti- bacterial and anti- microbial properties of coconut oil help in treating eczema.
16.Treatment of Stretch Marks:
Stretch marks are pink or white lines which may be caused during pregnancy, at puberty or due to sudden weight gain. For treatment of stretch marks, you can apply warm virgin coconut oil at bedtime to fade them away. In case of stretch marks during pregnancy, you can apply it on your belly or can incorporate it in your diet.
The anti- bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties of coconut oil help in combating infectious diseases caused by fungus, virus and bacteria. It prevents the onset of cold, flu and infections. Its various health benefits are as follows.
17. Lowers Cholesterol Level:
Normal levels of cholesterol is vital for normal body functioning. Consumption of coconut oil lowers bad cholesterol and raises good cholesterol levels. As stated earlier, lauric acid present in coconut oil help increase good HDL cholesterol.
18. Helps Lose Weight and Belly Fat:
Losing weight is a difficult task, but coconut oil can help you with it. This oil contains unique medium- chain fatty acids, which do not get stored as fat in the body like other fats. Coconut oil helps speed up metabolism rate and burn calories. Consumption of coconut oil combats excess belly fat and reduces waist circumference.
19. Treatment of Digestive Disorders:
Coconut oil has been found beneficial in treating digestive disorders. It possesses anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties which kill harmful bacteria, fungi and parasites, and ease digestion. It also prevents indigestion and reduces heartburn.
20. Boosts Immune System:
Coconut oil boosts up immune system. It contains Lauric acid, which possesses anti-fungal, anti-microbial and antiviral properties that help in fighting harmful bacteria, thus preventing many health issues.
21.Regulates Blood Sugar Level:
Coconut oil helps in controlling blood sugar levels and increases insulin sensitivity. Regular use of coconut oil can also prevent diabetes.
22. Dental Care:
The anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties of coconut oil prevent oral infections. They fight tooth decay, plaque and bad breath. Coconut oil increases the absorption of minerals like calcium, thus helps in developing strong teeth.
23. Urinary System Infection:
Urinary system consists of kidney, uterus, bladder and urethra. Urinary tract infection is a common problem, especially among women. Consumption of coconut oil kills harmful bacteria, fungi and virus which causes infection. It also helps in dissolving kidney stones. Consumption of coconut oil on a regular basis prevents kidney and bladder diseases.
24. Prevents Osteoporosis:
Osteoporosis is a bone disease in which bones become weak. It is more common among women. Coconut oil increases the absorption of minerals like magnesium and calcium, which are important for bones development. Hence, it has been found beneficial in the treatment of osteoporosis.
25. Prevents Cancer:
Coconut oil has got anti- carcinogenic property which helps combat cancer causing bacteria. It contains fatty acid chain which prevents cancer cells from spreading and multiplying.
26. Fights Candida Yeast Infection:
Candida is a fungal infection caused by yeast. Generally yeasts are present in our body, but their overgrowth can cause candida. Symptoms are different depending upon the infected area. Consumption of coconut oil can help you in treating candida, thanks to its anti-fungal property.
27. Promotes Heart Health:
Studies have shown that people who consume coconut oil have less chances of encountering heart diseases. The anti-microbial property of coconut oil combats bacterial and viral infection of artery walls, which are responsible for causing heart diseases. It also prevents atherosclerosis.
28. Alzheimer’s Disease:
Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder in which brain cells start degenerating. Several studies have shown that coconut oil usage can help in boosting brain function in Alzheimer’s disease patient as it contains medium chain triglycerides.
29. Liver Protection:
Coconut oil prevents and treats liver damage. It helps the liver in removing toxins. Its antioxidant property helps remove free radicals, which can harm the liver. Studies have shown that coconut oil also helps in the treatment of Hepatitis C.
30. Other Benefits:
Research conducted in the Philippines has proved that lauric acid in coconut oil is effective against HIV/AIDS due to its anti-viral properties. So far breast milk is the only source of lauric acid, which lowers the incidence of infection in breast fed infants. Thus the regular consumption of coconut oil improves immunity and reduces the incidence of illness. Lauric acid is also a good alternative to modern drugs for treatment of bacterial and fungal infections.
Now that you are aware of the wondrous benefits coconut oil offers, treat your body with all the goodness it can bring upon.