Image by Phú Thịnh Co
By Lynette, Contributing Writer
Coconut oil is a wonderful thing. For centuries, traditional, tropical cultures have used it to improve and maintain their health. In America, coconut oil has fallen out of favor because it is high in saturated fats. Medical professionals decry the health benefits as a way for coconut oil producers to sell more coconut oil with little evidence to back up the claims. But the evidence is overwhelming. There are literally thousands of studies that detail the health benefits of coconut oil. To list all of them would be nearly impossible. What are some of the health benefits of coconut oil?
Anti- bacterial, Anti- viral and Anti- fungal
Coconut oil has anti- bacterial and anti- fungal properties. These properties are due largely to the presence of lauric acid. Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which has been shown to control the activity of bacteria, viruses and fungi.
According to the Coconut Research Center, coconut oil can prevent infections caused by various bacteria, viruses and fungi. When applied to wounds, it forms a protective barrier that helps speed healing and keeps the wound clean. Coconut oil can also be used to treat yeast infections, diaper rash and athlete’s foot.
How to take advantage of coconut oil’s anti- bacterial, anti- viral and anti- fungal properties:
- Apply coconut oil to your baby’s bottom to prevent and heal diaper rash. The bonus is that coconut oil is safe for cloth diapers.
- Take coconut oil daily to help boost your immune system.
- Apply as a protective barrier on cuts, scrapes and rashes to keep out infection and speed healing.
- Apply *down there* to help treat and prevent yeast infections and UTI’s.
Studies conducted in the 30’s and 40″s showed that coconut oil helped the body absorb vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Even in vitamin deficient diets, the coconut oil helped the body make better use of the nutrients that were in the diet.
Other studies point to the benefits of using coconut oil to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome and constipation.
Coconut oil has also been found to help thyroid function. In cases of hypothyroidism, coconut oil has been shown to boost slots and to help regulate your metabolism and to increase body temperature. If the thyroid is running low (hypo), a person can experience weight gain, fatigue and hair loss.
Skin and Hair Care
Because coconut oil is better able to retain moisture, it makes a great skin care product. It can be used to treat eczema, psoriasis, cradle cap, dandruff and many other skin conditions.
How can you use coconut oil to improve your skin?
- Use as a lotion when you”re done bathing. Leaving water on the skin improves the effectiveness of the coconut oil.
- Smooth over dry, itchy patches on your skin.
- Rub on your baby”s cradle cap and then gently brush out.
- Add essential oils to or simmer dried herbs in coconut oil to create a delicious smelling and healing massage lotion.
- Coconut oil can be mixed with corn starch to make a natural deodorant.
- Use coconut oil as a belly balm to help reduce the chances of stretch marks
- Use coconut oil as a nipple cream when nursing
How can you use coconut oil to improve your hair?
- After washing your hair, apply coconut oil from your scalp to the ends of your hair. Comb through with a fine tooth comb. Cover with a shower cap or plastic bag (you want to *heat* your hair) and leave for 30 minutes. Rinse hair.
- Coconut oil can also be used in place of your daily conditioner.
- Coconut oil can be used to treat head lice. Rinse your hair with apple cider vinegar (let air dry) then coat with coconut oil and cover with a shower cap. Leave on for a few hours. Comb through to remove the lice and eggs. Wash as normal.
Benefits for Fitness
Coconut oil has been shown to boost athletic performance. This is due to the thermogenic effect (the amount of energy it takes to digest coconut oil) and the ability of the body to produce ketones (a high energy source) from fat. The body can produce ketones more efficiently from medium chain fatty acids than any other type of fatty acid chain. Coconut oil is almost entirely composed of medium chain fatty acids. Consuming coconut oil can decrease the rate of perceived exertion and suppress the increase of lactic acid in the body.
Only the Tip
To write about everything coconut oil can be used for and all it”s health benefits would be nearly impossible. There are so many studies that show how coconut oil can improve diabetes, Alzheimer”s, cancer, cholesterol levels, cardio- vascular health and weight loss. Hopefully this post gives you a place to start your own research and a few ideas on how to start using coconut oil now.