Did you know that this simple, fragrant, white (or transparent) oil from the humble coconut tree has numerous benefits for your health? Here are ten reasons why you should consider incorporating more coconut oil into your diet and skincare regime.
1. COCONUT OIL IS A SAFER SOURCE OF SATURATED FATS THAN MEAT OR CHEESE
Anyone who does even a little research into the properties of coconut oil will know that it is a rich source of saturated fat. These fats should not be used too much in our diet, but they are a valuable source of energy. If you want some fatty energy, coconut oil is a much safer choice for your body than steak, pork, other meats or cheese, What is more, the saturated fats in coconut oil have been suggested by some studies to have therapeutic effects for sufferers of epilepsy.
2. CULTURES THAT EAT A LOT OF COCONUT OIL TEND TO HAVE LOW INCIDENCES OF HEART DISEASE
Studies of communities in the South Pacific that eat a lot of coconut oil has shown that they (like other populations that eat a lot of coconut oil) tend to have lower incidences of heart disease and other illnesses (such as cancer) than populations that consume other oils and fats. This is most likely a question of where you are getting your calories. We all need to consume a certain number of calories in our diets, but getting calories from coconut oil rather than fatty meats and butter is likely to be better for your heart.
3. COCONUT OIL IS A FATTY OIL THAT ACTUALLY HELPS YOU TO BURN FAT
Coconut oil is rich in MCTs (i.e. Medium Chain Triglycerides), a type of fat that actually encourages your body to burn around 10% more fat than it usually does. Thus, choosing this type of oil (and using it sparingly) will boost your body’s fat burning capacity.
4. COCONUT OIL IS ANTIBACTERIAL AND KILLS OTHER GERMS, TOO
Coconut oil contains a substance known as Lauric Acid. Lauric Acid makes up around half of the fatty acids to be found in coconut oil. When the human body digests this acid it created monolaurin, a substance which is antibacterial and antiviral. Thus, consuming coconut oil can help you to ward off bugs like flu, the common cold, or other germs and pathogens. Many cultures use coconut oil to kill bacteria in the mouth, too, by swishing it around their teeth and gums. Killing oral bacteria in this way is called ‘mouth pulling’ or ‘oil pulling’ and it can lead to a bright and shiny smile.
5. COCONUT OIL STEMS YOUR APPETITE
Those MCTs (mentioned in point 3 above) are behind this effect, too. It was found in a recent study that people who consumed a diet rich in MCTs had a smaller appetite, and consumed around 250 calories less per day, than people who had a diet low in MCTs. Thus, incorporating coconut oil into your diet could help you to feel fuller for longer and even to lose weight.
6. COCONUT OIL BOOSTS YOUR BODY’S KETONE LEVELS, CALMING SEIZURES
Higher levels of ketones have been shown to reduce the incidence of seizures in patients with epilepsy. Coconut oil’s fatty acids, when consumed, are broken down by the human body to produce high levels of ketones in the liver and blood, having a highly therapeutic effect on seizure sufferers.
7. COCONUT OIL CAN LOWER CHOLESTEROL
High cholesterol can lead to higher blood pressure and heart problems. Studies have suggested that the healthier saturated fats in coconut oil stimulate lower cholesterol levels when compared to other types of oil (notably soybean oil, which is strongly associated with higher cholesterol in the female body).
8. COCONUT OIL IS GREAT FOR SKIN AND HAIR
Highly moisturising, great as an aftersun, and useful as a light sunscreen too (though no substitute for a medically approved high factor sunscreen for people with pale skin when the sun is very strong), coconut oil leaves the skin plump, smooth, hydrated and radiant. Apply it sparingly to your hair as a conditioner, or coat your hair thickly in it as an overnight hair mask.
9. COCONUT OIL CAN HELP ALZHEIMER’S PATIENTS TO SAFEGUARD THEIR MEMORIES
As the fatty acids in this lovely vegan oil have been shown to boost brain function, there are currently several studies underway to check whether or not it helps Alzheimer’s patients to slow down, or even halt, their symptoms. Studies are currently tentative about this matter, but so far the results look positive.
10. COCONUT OIL IS PARTICULARLY GOOD FOR COMBATING ABDOMINAL OBESITY
You may have heard that belly fat is the most dangerous type of fat to have, and many people find that no matter how much they shift fat from other areas of their body using diet and exercise, their abdominal fat stays put. Coconut oil’s fat burning properties, which have already been discussed in a few points above, are particularly effective when it comes to burning belly fat. Swapping that butter, groundnut oil or sunflower oil out for coconut oil when you’re cooking could be the best thing you ever did if you want to be able to cut belly fat effectively.
Ready to incorporate some coconut oil into your diet and skin and hair care regimes? Here’s a bonus point to get you more in the mood for this oil: it tastes delicious, too! It’s perfect in everything from curries to crumbles, and from flapjacks to home made moisturizers. So if you don’t do it for the health benefits, you could always do it for the taste!