Ways Coconut Oil Improves Your Health
Coconut oil is amazing for us. It’s not yet gained the same level of popularity as extra virgin olive oil, flax seed oil, or omega oils, but it’s still a great product that is slowly revealing more and more of its benefits to us. I discovered coconut oil through reading about the Paleo diet, I added it to my meals and my life, and haven’t looked back since. These are my top ten uses for coconut oil that will give your health the boost it needs. They aren’t the only benefits, and by far not the only ways you can apply coconut oil to your life, but they’re a start.
Heart-healthy cooking oil.
Many of the cooking oils we use every day are ridiculously bad for us. They’re highly processed, loaded with omega 6 fatty acids, and contain trans fats. Animal fats are just as bad, as fat from animals fed on unnatural diets promotes disease in humans. So we’ve started looking for healthier cooking oils. Olive oil is still king of the healthy oil department, but coconut oil is being found to have amazing health properties too, such as protecting our hearts. But, like with olive oil, just any coconut oil won’t do: get cold-pressed, virgin, organic coconut oil for the real health benefits.
High smoke point.
One area where coconut oil has an edge over olive oil is its smoke point. What’s a smoke point? That’s the temperature at which the oil begins to boil and break down. Olive oil is very light and starts to turn rancid and break down into trans fats when we use it for high temperature frying. Meanwhile, coconut oil maintains its natural chemical composition at high temperatures, making it suitable even for deep frying without risking our health. So for salads, choose olives, but for eggs, choose coconut!
Coconut oil has been found to have many anti-inflammatory properties. Although it isn’t much good for chronic inflammation, its anti-inflammatory benefits have still been found to be highly beneficial. This oil alleviates the symptoms of hay fever and seasonal allergies, reduces blood pressure, helps to control fluid retention, prevents dementia and Alzheimer’s, among a whole host of other things. The key lies in its fat balance and rich vitamin content, which together fight unnecessary inflammation.
Great for your hair.
Many curly-haired women swear by coconut oil for fighting dryness and tangles. So, being curious, I decided to give it a go. With my natural straight hair I didn’t need it for the same reasons, but I swapped it for my usual conditioner. I washed my hair, did a coconut oil rinse, then washed again. After a few weeks of doing this I compared photos of my hair. It was looking thicker, richer, and shinier. But it was also clean, airy, and almost completely tangle-free. Unlike shea butter and other treatments for curly hair, coconut oil did wonders for me. Whatever your hair: coconut oil will help it heal and grow strong.
Helps you lose weight.
How can a fat help you to lose weight? Well, healthy fats act on two fronts to assist in weight loss. Firstly, they control appetite. As fat is so high in calories, a small amount of it is very satiating. An unhealthy fat is no good, but a small amount of healthy fat can really curb your appetite. And secondly, a bit of fat in your sweet and carby meals slows down digestion, reducing the blood sugar spike you get after eating. Controlling your blood sugar levels helps keep your energy topped up all day, reducing your urges to snack. Between the two of them, you should find yourself eating less.
Oil pulling is the best thing ever for your mouth and all-round health. It’s based off a traditional medicine remedy that states that toxins gather and accumulate near your mouth. So you want to collect them and get rid of them. You take a spoonful of oil and swish it around inside your mouth gently for several minutes until all the toxins are removed. Then you spit it away. I’m not sure it clears my body of toxins, but it has definitely improved my tooth and gum health, and made my breath loads better. My gums are tighter and my teeth are cleaner and whiter. So I’m gonna keep doing it.
Treating your nails.
Ever find that your nails get brittle depending on the time of the month? Or that they look dull and soft after removing some nail polish? If you want to restore life to your nails: put coconut oil on them. Just a teeny tiny drop rubbed into each nail until it is no longer greasy to the touch. This adds moisture to your nails, as well as vital minerals, and it also has an antiseptic effect, protecting you from when you cut your cuticles or pick at hang nails. In a few weeks you should notice stronger, shinier nails. For extra benefits, try applying the oil cold, so it forms a paste, and letting it sink in.
This is exfoliation… the way the Romans did it. In Ancient Rome men and women would, after their first wash but before finishing their bath, cover themselves in oil and scrape the oil off. This oil would dissolve the natural oils of their body, loosening dead skin and debris, clearing pores, and removing rough skin and embedded grime from their working day. Of course, they used olive oil. But I’ve done it with coconut oil and found the texture and scent are far more pleasant. Just rub the oil into your skin, then use a spoon to gently scrape it off, pressing down but not digging too hard. Rinse in warm water after. The best part? This works for all skin types, from oily to dry.
Swapping your cholesterols around.
Many things improve your total blood cholesterol, but I’m sure you’ve heard that recently the big news is good cholesterol versus bad cholesterol. Turns out there are many types of cholesterol in our blood, and that one type (LDL) is bad for you and another (HDL) is good for you. So someone with a low blood cholesterol count could be less healthy than someone with high cholesterol, all because of the balance! Enter coconut oil: not only does eating it regularly reduce your total cholesterol, but it swaps bad cholesterol for good cholesterol, improving your balance and, with it, your health.
Gives your brain a boost.
One of the amazing benefits of coconut oil is that it improves cognitive function. We’re still not sure exactly how, but it might have something to do with metabolism, energy, and our immune systems. Whatever the case, coconut oil makes your brain do amazing things. People with dementia experience improvement in their ability to function when they take coconut oil. People with depression and other mood disorders feel better and more balanced when they add it into their diets. And overtired, overworked students and everyday people perform better at memory tasks and IQ tests when they eat a little coconut oil each day.
With so much goodness, what’s not to love?