Coconut Oil - Everything You Wanted to Know
Most people have heard that coconut is good for us, but some still have doubts. They think of coconut as a saturated fat, and they have been taught that saturated fats are bad for them. This is very far from the truth on two different levels.
Although coconut oil matches the age old definition of a saturated fat in that it is solid at room temperature it defies that definition in other ways. Almost all saturated fats come from animals. Coconut oil comes from a nut. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, a substance that is converted to monolaurin. Monolaurin has powerful antiprotozoal, antiviral and antibacterial properties.
The fats in coconut oil are medium chain fatty acids. These are processed immediately by the liver into energy the body can use.
Another reason we donít need to shy away from coconut oil is that we should not be shying away from saturated fats. We have been taught to stay away from saturated fats because they will raise the cholesterol levels. Grains and other starches raise cholesterol levels higher than fats do. Grains and starches increase inflammation in the body. The body creates cholesterol in order to put out the fires of inflammation. Replacing other fats with coconut oil can improve your cholesterol ratios. Other functions of the body that needs saturated fats for are hormone production, brain function, cellular health, bone health, even immunity, among many others.
The other purpose for cholesterol is building and repairing brain and nerve cells. Many cases of dementia or nerve deteriorating disease could be slowed down or stopped by increasing the saturated fats in the diet. The fatty acids in coconut oil are called medium-chain triacylglycerols, which are much shorter and thus more soluble in water than the fatty acids found in other oils. For this reason, they are more readily burned for fuel. Replacing other oils, such as canola oil or olive oil with coconut oil can be the subtle change to making a big different in your body. Coconut oil offers the necessary building blocks for the production of hormones. Fat is very important in the rebuilding and repairing cells, but the wrong balance of polysaturated to saturated and monunsaturated fats can mean bad news for your health. The human body is 97 percent saturated and monounsaturated fats and 3 percent polyunsaturated fat. Most vegetable oils tip the balance towards polyunsaturated fats, which can wreak havoc on the body. Coconut oil keeps the ratio balanced.
Coconut oil can replace other fats in cooking. When eaten alone or with very mild flavors the nutty flavor of the coconut comes through. When mixed with highly flavored foods the coconut brings out the other flavors. Coconut oil can be used as a coffee creamer by whipping it into the coffee.
Coconut oil is a gentle and effective way to remove make-up. A little goes a long way and you ultimately get more for your buck by sticking to coconut oil and avoiding expensive brands with chemicals and artificial ingredients. Coconut oil provides a boost of antioxidants, which are linked to preventing signs of aging skin. Apply a smidgen of coconut oil to your face after cleansing at night and let it do its healing while you get your shut-eye.
Religiously rub coconut oil on your pregnant stomach as it grows and prevent stretch marks. Many women swear by this ritual. After the baby is born it can be used to keep your nipples soft, and it is good for the baby! Nursing moms can take 3-4 tablespoons a day (and Vitamin D) to increase milk supply and nutrients. Coconut oil is an effective, gentle, natural diaper cream that moisturizes and gets rid of bacteria without piling on the chemicals.
Itís never fun to shave without something creamy or soft to make the experience less harsh on your skin. Instead of reaching for a store-bought shaving cream, opt for coconut oil. It goes on smooth and works as both a shaving cream and an after-shave moisturizer. Introduce coconut oil to your daily moisturizing rituals. Apply it on your thighs and bum on a regular basis and youíll start to notice your cellulite disappearing. Coconut oil acts as a 4 SPF tanning oil that isnít cancerous like the brands grazing beauty shop shelves. Itís moisturizing as well, which prevents your skin from getting dry and flaky under the sun. Coconut oil is the main reason why people in the tropics can be in the sun and not experience skin cancer. Its healing antioxidant powers protect the skin from free radical damage. In addition, using coconut oil on the skin helps our bodies absorb other nutrients more effectively, such as vitamin E, which is another skin protecting antioxidant. Rubbing coconut oil on wrinkles and sagging skin can help rejuvenate it by strengthening the tissues, it can even help reduce the appearance of varicose veins.
Applying coconut oil to the skin is also a great way to fight off skin problems such as psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema. It can also be used topically for yeast infections. Rubbing it on the inside of your nose reduces sinus allergy symptoms. There is some evidence that coconut oil helps digestion and may even kill intestinal parasites or yeast. Oil pulling with coconut oil and a drop of oregano oil helps improve gum health.
All it takes is a small dab of coconut oil rubbed into your hands and then brushed through your hair to reduce frizz and leave your locks looking soft, healthy, and moisturized. Donít worry about the greasy look; as long as you apply only a dab, greasiness will be avoided. Rinse hair with vinegar and then brush in a generous amount of coconut oil so that the entire head is evenly coated. Put on a shower cap and let it sit for a few hours before rinsing off. The vinegar dissolves the sticking power of lice eggs and the coconut oil smothers and kills the lice.
In short, coconut can be substituted for any fat, on or in the body. It is anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal. Try it on anything. If in doubt give it a try. It is an all-purpose moisturizer whose benefits will never be completely explored or listed. People will continually be coming up with new ways to use it.