Coconut oil has become a health food and healthy beauty craze for some time now and for a good reason. This white oil that often appears solidified (but melts easily) is healthy for humans, inside and out. It's even good for your pets (most of them anyway).
If you've been considering buying some coconut oil the next time you're at the grocery store or health food store, there are many reasons to go ahead and do it.
What Is Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil, which is sometimes referred to as copra oil, is extracted from mature coconuts. It comes from the meat or the kernel of the coconut. It is high in saturated fats (which is what gets it a bad rap sometimes), which helps make it last longer. An open container of coconut oil can stay good for six months if kept at the right temperature (follow instructions on your container on how to store properly).
The Wonderful Health Benefits Of Coconut Oil
While you can find controversial articles out there that claim that coconut oil is bad for you because it's a fatty oil, plenty of people have used it for all sorts of things and come up with amazing results. This is a wonderful food item that has so many healthful benefits, even when you're not eating it.
1. Great Weight Loss Supplement
The fatty acids that are contained in unrefined coconut oil are actually good for the body, and they can help you take off excess weight. It may help decrease abdominal weight in women, which is one of those areas where ladies carry more fat when they gain weight.
Coconut oil is easily digestible, compared to other oils, which also helps with its ability to boost weight loss. It works to increase metabolic rate and lets you burn more energy (thus losing more weight).
In areas where coconut is used as a food staple in kitchens, as one of the primary oils for cooking, the rates of obesity are less than in other regions. Swap out your vegetable and canola oils for more healthful options, like coconut oil and olive oil. Coconut oil also makes a great butter substitute on sweet potatoes.
2. Immunity Boosting
The healthy fatty acids and other healing “ingredients” found in coconut oil can actually help boost your immune system. A healthy immune system fights off colds, infections, and viruses quicker. Coconut oil is rich in lipids, and healthy acids.
Not only can coconut oil help fight internal bacteria, but it also has healthful skin healing properties.
3. Good For Your Skin
Coconut oil has anti-aging properties, as well as being antibacterial and antioxidant. It helps relieve inflammation too.
Some of the skin ailments that coconut oil is perfect for include the following –
- Treatment of burns – Not only does coconut oil work to relieve sunburns, but if you have a burn from a kitchen mishap, it will help soothe and heal that as well.
- Healing wounds – Virgin olive oil can be used on cuts and scrapes (no matter how big or small) to help speed up healing time.
- Blemishes and other skin ailments – Whether you suffer from dermatitis, psoriasis, or eczema, coconut oil can help reduce the conditions, and soothe the skin.
- Treat dry skin – if your skin is dry, use coconut oil as a moisturizer.
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4. Helps With Good Cholesterol And Heart Health
Cholesterol and heart health go hand-in-hand. Coconut oil is said to help increase your good cholesterol (HDL), which is good for your heart and can decrease your risk of stroke and heart disease. It is the lauric acid content in coconut oil that makes it heart healthy.
5. Helps With Digestive Issues
If you have stomach issue, from illnesses like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), coconut oil may be able to help ease some of your symptoms. It's easy to digest, so it doesn't put a lot of strain on the digestive system. In this way, it greatly aids in digestion.
With its antifungal and antibacterial properties, it can help battle stomach bugs and parasites that can affect your digestion. It also aids in the absorption of many other nutrients.
6. Dental Care
Before the coconut oil even gets to your digestive system, it's doing healthful things in your mouth. People have been using coconut oil for dental oil pulling for centuries, and it's recently become popular again. Basically, for twenty minutes you swish coconut oil around in your mouth “pulling” it through your teeth to fight black and tooth decay.
Another way that coconut oil helps your teeth is the fact that it aids in the bodies ability to absorb calcium.
7. Bone Health
Because of this oil's ability to aid in the absorption of calcium, coconut oil is also a great dietary addition to help you keep your bones healthy. As you get older, especially in women, your risk of broken bones and osteoporosis increase. Help stave them off by adding this amazing oil to your diet.
8. Healthy Hair
Coconut oil has also gained much popularity as a healthy hair care aid – adding shine, fighting damage, and even softening your hair. If your hair seems to be looking a little dull, add some coconut oil to your shampoo. Make sure to rinse it , so you aren't left with a greasy looking head of hair.
You can use it with shampoo, during conditioning, and you can also use coconut oil as a hot oil or hair mask treatment. It gets into the hair shaft where it protects and heals, and moisturizes (no split ends here). It's even safe for chemically-treated and color treated hair.
Massage some oil into your scalp to help moisturize your skin. This will help you finally win against that fight with dandruff.
9. Get An Energy Boost
Coconut oil doesn't have as many calories as most of the other oils on the market. Because of this, the fat from it is converted into energy in your body faster – this gives you an energy boost. It is because of this trait that many athletes use coconut oil in the pre-workout meals instead of other oils.
Typical Ways To Use Coconut Oil
If you want to increase your usage of coconut oil and reap all of these wonderful health benefits, there are a few things that you can do.
- Add it to your diet – Use coconut oil to replace any cooking oil and even to replace butter. You can add this oil to almost anything, and it won't change the flavor much. It's even a healthy addition to air-popped popcorn.
- Use it as a carrier oil – Add some of your favorite essential oils to some melted coconut oil and use it for a relaxing and stress relieving massage. Not only will you get a moment of peace, but the oil will also soften your skin and be absorbed for inner healing.
- Mixed in hair care and skin care items – You will want to melt the oil when you use it for skin care, to keep it from being clumpy. When coconut oil is cold or in a cooler temp is partially solidifies.
How To Care For Your Coconut Oil
Coconut oil isn't cheap, so once you buy some, you want to make sure that you take care of it. Even if you only plan is to use it for skin or hair care, always use a clean utensil to remove the amount you need from the container (don't put your hands in there, even if you just cleaned them). Using your hands can spread bacteria into the oil which might make it go bad prematurely.
Keep your oil stored at room temperature; it will do fine on a shelf in your kitchen or bathroom cupboard. Even after the jar of oil has been opened, it will be fine on the counter. You don't need to (and shouldn't) refrigerate it. The consistency will change some if it gets hotter in your house during the summer, but that's OK.
When you need to warm some up, don't warm up the whole container. Transfer what you need into a bowl to warm it up.
Final Thoughts On Coconut Oil Benefits
While coconut oil is a beneficial whole body product, you don't want to miss out on the benefits of the products you're using it to replace. If it's the healthier choice, make it – but don't miss out on the calcium in butter if that's one of your only sources or the healthy benefits of oils like olive oil and grape seed oil.