Health Benefits of Coconut Oil: Health Uses and Benefits

coconut oil benefits

Coconut Oil is one of the few foods that people consider “superfood.” Its unique combination of medium chain fatty acids can result in immense benefits to your health.

These benefits include for example weight loss, improved brain function and a long list of effects you will not want to miss.

These are the top benefits of consuming Virgin Coconut Oil, and several scientific studies support these claims.

Coconut oil is used extensively in tropical countries, especially India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Philippines, etc., which have a good production of coconut oil.

Long ago, oil was also popular in Western countries like the United States and Canada, but there was a strong propaganda campaign in the 1970s by the corn and soybean oil industry against coconut oil.

Coconut oil was considered harmful to the human body because of its saturated fat content until the last decade (the 2000s) when people began to question the claims of the propaganda.

Next, let’s take a look at some more details on how coconut oil works in our body.

Coconut oil is a versatile substance, with many health benefits. There are two main types of coconut oil, virgin coconut oil, and refined coconut oil. Refined Coconut Oil is the usual commercial form of the oil.

The coconut flesh is first dried to give copra. The copra is extracted with a hot press to provide the oil.

Further refining and heating are carried out to produce an odorless oil. This fat melts at around 76˚C (24˚C).

Sometimes the oil is hydrogenated (reacted with hydrogen, which acts to raise the melting point of the oil), making it a solid at room temperature, even on hot days.

Cold pressing the coconut flesh or milk can produce virgin coconut oil. It is often considered the best form of the oil for various health and cosmetic applications.

Coconut oil is mostly composed of saturated fats, so some medical authorities recommend not overeating of it.

The question as to whether or not saturated fats are harmful to health is controversial; many people now consider that some exaggerated the risks in the past.

Coconut oil contains high levels of a particular type of fat, called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), not found to the same extent in most other vegetable oils. These MCTs may have a range of health benefits.

People often use coconut oil in cooking. It gets used for frying, particularly in various Asian countries.

It is also a common ingredient in some baked goods and popcorn. Many commercial cosmetics and skincare products contain coconut oil.

Health Uses of Coconut Oil

Weight Loss:

Some experts recommend the medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil as a useful aid to weight loss.

A study of daily energy expenditure in healthy volunteers showed that they expended more energy when on a diet of medium-chain triglycerides, compared to a dietary regime of long-chain triglycerides (the latter are in most fats and oils).

The medium-chain triglycerides may also suppress appetite to some extent when taken before a meal.

Obesity is one of the most significant problems we face at this age. While some people remain stuck in the false belief that everything is due to a sum and subtraction of calories, the reality is very different: it is just as important, if not more, to control the origin of calories.

It is not the same ten calories from carbohydrates, as from protein, or, as in the case of Coconut Oil, saturated fat.

It is a proven scientific fact that different foods have effects on our body and hormones differently. In this sense, a calorie is not “a calorie.”

The medium chain triglycerides present in coconut oil can increase the energy expenditure of the organism when compared to the same amount of calories from long chain fatty acids.

In addition to eating, Coconut Oil comes handy in other types of applications. Many people use it for cosmetic purposes, improving the health and appearance of their skin and hair.

Studies carried out on individuals with dry skin show that Coconut Oil improves the hydration of their skin and the lipid content of the flesh. Besides, Coconut Oil can tremendously protect hair and nourish it.

Other cosmetic applications of Coconut Oil include its use as toothpaste, and, above all, as mouthwash, which has been shown to kill bacteria in the mouth, improving dental health and eliminating bad breath.

Childhood Epilepsy:

Coconut is a frequent ingredient in the “ketogenic diet,” which is a particular kind of medical diet (low carbohydrate, high fat) given to epileptic children.

This dietary regime has been shown to decrease the number of seizures.

In this diet, very few carbohydrates and copious amounts of fat get ingested, which causes an increase in the concentration of ketone bodies in the blood.

For some reason this causes epileptic seizures to cease in the children who suffer them, even in those who have not obtained any benefit from the medication given.

As the medium chain triglycerides contained in coconut oil get transformed into ketone bodies in the liver, coconut oil is often used in these patients to induce ketosis.

Head Lice:

A coconut oil and anise spray have been shown to be an effective treatment for head lice, giving better results than the standard treatment (permethrin insecticide).

Skin Conditions:

Coconut oil is a moisturizing substance, and it’s usually found in many skincare products. It is a useful treatment for dry skin and chapped lips.

It can be used to help soothe the symptoms of eczema. A recent study has shown that virgin coconut oil was superior to mineral oil in the treatment of atopic eczema (atopic dermatitis) in children.

Hair Conditioner (dry hair and dandruff):

Coconut oil can be an efficient hair conditioner. It can relieve the symptoms of dry hair and dandruff.

Virgin coconut oil is usually used. You can melt the oil in the microwave (take care not to get it too hot, use a low setting), or by placing a container of oil in warm water.

You should keep the oil on the hair for around two hours; it can then be rinsed out.

Other Conditions:

Coconut oil has been suggested as a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and psoriasis.

To date, there is insufficient evidence that coconut oil is beneficial for these conditions.