Ten years ago, the use of a pure coconut oil for health and beauty wasn’t something that many people knew about or would have even considered. Today, coconut oil is in just about every grocery store and in every household cabinet.
Why it took the Western world so long to realize the many uses of coconuts is a mystery. The Eastern world, specifically Asia and the Pacific Islands, has been using coconuts for various reasons for hundreds of years. Regardless, since the Western countries discovered the uses of coconut oil, it has quickly taken the world by storm.
Some of the absolute best uses of coconuts come from its oil, which is extracted by compressing the fats out of the white part of the coconut’s flesh. While coconuts are high in saturated fats, with around 84% of the calories in coconut oil coming from saturated fats, the health benefits certainly seem to outweigh the detriments.
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Coconuts and coconut oil can be used and applied for health benefits in several ways. It can be used topically, as a lotion, melted and inhaled as a vapor, or used as a shampoo as well as being eaten.
Here are some of the top health benefits of using pure coconut oil:
1. Helps Skin Conditions
From burns to eczema, dandruff to psoriasis, dermatitis to acne, coconut oil is a healing and cleansing treatment, beneficial to all skin types and conditions. The idea of using an oil on one’s face and body to rid skin conditions such as acne may seem counterintuitive at first. Sure, it sounds like something that would clog pores and leave skin oily.
But, in practice, using coconut oil deeply cleanses clogged pores by clearing away dirt and dead skin cells. The cleansing and moisturizing effects of the oil leave you with bright and clear complexion.
Once applied, antioxidants assist in healing issues both on the surface as well as deep in the pores of the skin. The oil’s fatty acids (Caprylic and Lauric) work to reduce internal and external inflammation, leaving your skin feeling fresh and soothed while the microbial properties balance out the sources that cause several skin conditions.
2. Acts as a Sunscreen
The feeling of sunburnt skin has never been appealing. But who needs the overly-processed and expensive sunscreens stores like Wal-Mart and Target sell? Nature has provided us with several ways to keep our skin looking youthful, fresh, and unburned.
But we all know well that wrinkles aren’t the biggest danger the sun poses to our skin. Rather, because of the sun, skin cancer and diseases can ravage the body which is why it is imperative that you protect your skin with sunscreen whenever you go outside!
Scientists are just now looking into the uses of natural sunblocks such as coconut oil, and the results are looking positive. A recent study published by the Pharmacognosy Review stated that coconut oil, along with several other natural sunscreens, block out about 20% of UV rays from the sun.
It was concluded that coconut oil had the second highest SPF value just under olive oil, measuring out to be about 7.119 SPF, out of the 16 oils tested.
3. Has Anti-Aging Benefits
Along with keeping skin youthful by protecting against dangerous UV rays, coconut oil has been shown to stimulate collagen production and replacement. Rather than masking or drying up wrinkles, the collagen production stimulated by this oil connects and strengthen tissues. This leaves the face looking young with far less bagginess on the skin.
Like coconut oil, skin cells contain fatty acids and, when combined, naturally balance the skin’s saturated and unsaturated fatty acid levels. This process allows the skin to heal and repair itself to better prevent wrinkles and damage caused by sun exposure.
4. Keeps Hair Healthy, Strong, and Fabulous
No matter how many expensive washes and products you buy, nothing compares to what nature gave you. Keep your hair healthy, nourished, and beautiful by using coconut oil. The several properties in the oil help condition the scalp as well as strengthen and regrow hair. Vitamins E and K found in the oil boost shine and will help damaged and brittle hair come back to life.
There are several dandruff shampoos on the market containing chemicals and solutions, who can read that ingredient’s list? I know I can’t! But anyone can read this: coconut oil protects hair. The antibacterial properties in the oil protect the scalp against infections causing itching, dandruff, and dry or weak hair.
5. Prevents Dental Issues
Visits to the dentist can be both expensive and stressful, so it is important that you take proper care of your teeth. Coconut oil can help! Not only can coconut oil be used as a delicious alternative to mouthwash, thanks to its antibacterial properties, but it can also be used to prevent tooth decay, bleeding gums, and can strengthen teeth with a process called “oil pulling.”
Oil pulling is a proven and effective way to prevent future issues and maintain oral health. Researchers found that oil pulling strengthens teeth, gums, the jaw, and, in a 30-day matched-pair control trial, found a statistically significant decrease in plaque formation for the treatment group following the seventh day. Coconut oil treatments on teeth: not only delicious but extremely effective.
6. Protects Your Kidneys and Liver
Damage or sickness to any organs is, of course, very dangerous. It is essential to keep your organs protected and healthy, the kidneys and liver included. To assist you in this venture to keep a healthy body, coconut oil has effective preventative properties for the liver and kidneys specifically.
In a study testing for the oil’s ability to protect against intentional toxic drugs on the liver, scientists concluded that the active components in coconut oil were able to adequately protect the liver from incurring severe damage.
7. Reduces Inflammation and Arthritis
The pain and discomfort of anyone suffering from arthritis and inflammation must be taken into serious consideration when discussing health benefits and treatments. So, if you’re suffering from arthritis, if you have any sort of inflammation, look no further! This is exactly what you need!
A study conducted in India showed that the high levels of antioxidants in coconut oil actually reduce inflammation and pain related to arthritis. When compared to leading medications, coconut oil was shown to decrease inflammatory genes and increase antioxidant enzymes.
While this research was performed using rats that were induced with arthritis, the evidence is compelling.
The results of this study generally showed that virgin coconut oil has a beneficial effect on arthritis due to its abundance of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects.
8. Prevents and Treats Cancer
Perhaps a fascinating quality of coconut oil is its aid in the prevention and treatment of cancer which is due to the presence of ketones in the oil. In order to thrive and grow, tumor cells require glucose—this is where ketones come into play.
Ketones act as a barrier against tumor growth because, while the cells struggle to attain the glucose they so desperately need, ketones don’t allow them to get any.
A study demonstrated that when natural oils, such as coconut oil, are added to human colon adenocarcinoma cells, the growth of the cancer cells is significantly inhibited without affecting the healthy cells.
This study was performed with three oils: coconut, vegetable, and mineral; it was found that coconut oil inhibited the growth of the malignant colon cells more so than the other two oils. With this in mind, one can’t help but wonder if coconut oil can be considered a possible chemotherapeutic agent.
9. Heart Healthy
I know what you’re thinking, “How is this possibly heart healthy with such high levels of saturated fats?” Well, even though coconut oil is high in saturated fats, it is very beneficial to your heart and can actually help prevent various heart conditions.
Coconut oil contains about 50% lauric acid, this can help prevent conditions such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. This won’t lead to an increase in LDL levels either, and it reduces the risk of artery damage.
10. Can Eliminate Dangerous Microorganisms
As mentioned before, coconut oil has antimicrobial properties that can fight infections caused by microorganisms. Lauric acid is metabolized into a compound known as monolaurin—both of these compounds have been proven to kill microorganisms that can bring harm and cause bacterial, viral, or fungal infections.
11. Prevents Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis decreases bone volume and increases bone loss, this is why coconut oil is beneficial in assisting the body to properly absorb nutrients. The calcium in coconut oil specifically promotes absorption in the stomach and intestines which are essential for the prevention of osteoporosis considering the consumption and absorption of calcium lead to strong bones.
More than this, however, coconut oil allows more calcium to be taken up into the body, which diminishes the effect of osteoporosis.
Similarly, antioxidants in coconut oil assist in fighting free radicals which are notorious culprits leading to osteoporosis. The antioxidants then, will not allow as much harm to come to the bones and body.
Let’s be real…
Is there anything a pure coconut oil doesn’t do?
Coconut oil is no longer simply a delicious and healthy substitute in the kitchen! With all of its versatility, anyone can utilize coconut oil and reap its many benefits. We are only now beginning to realize just how many uses coconut oil has and all of the potential advantages it can bring to one’s life, just imagine what we’ll find out what it does for us in five years!
While the Western world is just now developing uses and adopting already developed practices, Asians and Pacific Islanders have been utilizing coconut for various needs for hundreds of years. They clearly had the right idea, especially considering the fact that their native population contains some of the healthiest people in the world.
It is clear that a pure coconut oil is a substance that is here to stay. The fact is, coconut oil has remarkable health and beauty advantages. It’s time that you check it out for yourself to see just how beneficial coconut oil really is!