Coconut oil is one of those rare natural resources with a long list of benefits, is readily accessible and easy to use. For consumption, it’s classified as a “superfood,” and it has an incredible adaptability to be used in everything from skin and hair care to health routines. Its benefits and uses are widely known, but here are a few things that may surprise you about everyone’s favorite all-natural all-star.
WHAT IS COCONUT OIL?
The oil that you can buy in grocery or health food stores, and that is used in many natural products, is the edible oil that is extracted from the meat of mature coconuts, harvested from the coconut palm tree. More than 1,500 studies have shown coconut oil to be one of the healthiest ingredients on the planet. It has a high healthy fat content (saturated fat, the good kind), which is not only beneficial to the body but is also slow to oxidize and resistant to spoilage. A jar can last up to six months without going bad!
THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT COCONUT OIL
1. IT CONTAINS FATTY ACIDS WITH HUGE HEALTH BENEFITS
Those good saturated fats in coconut oil? They are known as medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), and work differently than most other fats in the human diet. They can boost fat burning and raise good HDL cholesterol levels, which is linked to the reduced risk of heart disease. When metabolized, MCT fatty acids go straight to the liver, where they are used as a source of energy for the body and brain. They also produce ketones, a type of acid that the body uses for fuel and that has shown powerful benefits for the brain. So much so, that they’re being studied as treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease, epilepsy, and other conditions that affect brain function and memory.
Just take a look at some cultures living in the South Pacific, such as the Tokelauans and Kitavans. Coconut is one of their dietary staples, representing as much as 60% of their calories intake — and their populations enjoy excellent health with very low rates of heart disease.
2. IT KILLS OFF NASTY BACTERIA & MAY REDUCE SEIZURES
Those wonderful fatty acids found in coconut oil have another incredible function as well — they can kill harmful pathogens including bacteria, viruses and fungi. The lauric acid that makes up about half of coconut oil’s fatty acids is responsible for this, and can prevent infections.
Another powerful benefit is the ability of ketones in preventing seizures. A ketogenic diet (low in carbs and high in healthy fats like those found in coconut oil) has long been used to treat drug-resistant epilepsy in children, dramatically reducing their seizures.
3. IT MAKES A GREAT NATURAL DEODORANT
Those antibacterial properties are one of the things that make coconut oil such a powerful ingredient in natural deodorant. If you are trying to ditch the toxic nasties that are in traditional antiperspirants and deodorants, like aluminum, then finding a quality alternative like a natural deodorant made with coconut oil is the perfect alternative.
It’s not actually your sweat that makes you stink; it’s all the bacteria in your sweat interacting with it that causes body odor. The antibacterial properties of coconut oil can neutralize this bacteria, thereby eliminating B.O. Even better, it moisturizes tender underarm skin at the same time, and helps keep perspiration at bay.
4. GOOD FOR YOUR SKIN, HAIR AND... TEETH? YEP!
A powerful moisturizer for dry skin, coconut oil can also play a part in reducing the symptoms of eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis. When used on the skin, it also blocks out about 20% of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. This also makes it an awesome ingredient in a lip balm to protect your pucker.
Coconut oil can also protect your hair against damage; it’s been an Indian “beauty secret” for centuries, and can also control dandruff. When incorporated into your dental routine, coconut oil makes an excellent natural mouthwash ingredient that helps kill harmful bacteria, reducing bad breath and improving oral health.
Coconut oil truly is a gift from Mother Nature: multi-purpose, natural, readily available and an easy way to live a healthier lifestyle.