The diversity of coconut oil and its benefits
Coconut oil is one of those things every household should own. Not only is it delicious to eat, it has also many health benefits! Did you know that coconut oil can also benefit in hair care, digestion problems, dental care and organ health? Continue reading and read more in-depth info about the diversity of coconut oil!
History & origin
The existence of the use of coconuts can be dated back to thousands of years. Marco Polo referred to coconuts in the year 1280 and in the 9th century, there are a lot of reports of coconut being used in China. However, it was only in the 1700’s that the name coconut was coined by the Portuguese! History says that coconut was cultivated in India along the Malabar Coast, before the time of Christ. Countries such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea were also into coconut cultivation. The coconut influences many lives of people from the tropical countries and it became so important that it is considered as one of the foods that shaped civilization. Nowadays the coconut tree provides so much diversity to all people around the world! Through the years people have used the leaves from the coconut to make baskets, mats or even roofs, the flowers on the trees produced sap which they used to make syrup, coconut water and milk to drink, the meat to eat and the shells as utensils, bowls, and musical instruments. And not to forget: coconut oil! Which is made by boiling the kernel from the coconut.
This amazing, nutritious and nourishing oil is antibacterial, hydrating and packed with antioxidants and vitamin E. Coconut oil has a unique structural makeup of the saturated fats which makes it easy to digest and improves absorption of nutrients. It is also high in saturated fat which is essential for human health! These fats will boost fat burning and provide your body and brain with quick energy. It can also raise good (HDL) cholesterol in your blood, which is linked to reduced heart disease risk. When you consume coconut oil, the types of fats you eat go straight to the liver, where they are used as a quick source of energy or turned into ketones (alternative fuel source to glucose).
The diversity of coconut oil
If I had to list all the benefits of using coconut oil, this article would go on for days. Below I will share the most important ones:
– Dental care (oil pulling)
Coconut oil facilitates the absorption of calcium by the body, and calcium is an important component of our teeth. The use of coconut oil for dental care is an age-old remedy. Many claim that it strengthens gums, whitens teeth, reduce bacteria in the mouth and eliminates plague. The ‘Streptococcus Mutans’ is one of the bacteria that is prominent in the mouth. It is responsible for tooth decay and gum disease. Oil pulling has been shown to reduce the number of Streptococcus mutans in the mouth. Bacteria are always present in our mouth but some are bad and some are good. By oil pulling daily you will eliminate a lot of bad ones that can cause a lot of problems, including bad breath, yellow teeth, gum inflammation, and cavities. Because the tongue is connected to many organs, oil pulling even can strengthen your immune system.
(Photo souce: organicolivia.com)
Ayurveda advises oil gargling to purify the entire system; as it holds that each section of the tongue is connected to a different organ such as to the kidneys, lungs, liver, heart, small intestines, stomach, colon, and spine, similarly to reflexology and TCM.
How it works
Oil pulling is basically swishing oil around the mouth, using it like a mouthwash. Simply put a tablespoon of oil (can be done with sesame or sunflower oil as well) in your mouth and swish it around for 20 minutes. Its best to do on an empty stomach, I like to do it when I wake up, before brushing my teeth. Spit out the oil in the trash can or the toilet, not the sink! It can clog!
Coconut oil is the solution for many things. So also, hair damage! It helps the re-growth process of damaged hair and provides the essential proteins required for nourishing and healing damaged hair. Coconut oil is composed of mainly smaller medium-chain fatty acids, the oil penetrates hair more deeply and faster than other conditioners. It is rich in antioxidants and has antibacterial properties. It can improve scalp health, fights infections, fungus and supports hair growth. All while adding shine without any harmful toxins! Use it to fight dandruff, detangle your hair, tame frizz, as conditioner or repair split ends.
– Digestive health
Coconut oil is rich in vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. The antimicrobial properties present in the oil helps improve symptoms associated with digestive orders, bacterial, fungal infections and viruses. Coconut oil does not cause digestive upset, it can slow inflammation poor nutrient absorption and can even help seal the lining of the digestive tract that sometimes can be inflamed from a leaky gut syndrome. Overdoing is never good (with anything!) but research shows that a tablespoon at meals can actually have a healing effect. It boosts your digestive health and will also boost your brain health and therefore your overall sense of well-being!
– Organ health
The presence of fatty acids in coconut oil helps to prevent liver diseases. Because those substances are easily converted into energy when they reach the liver, it reduces its workload and also prevents accumulation of fat. Research shows it also helps with preventing kidney and gallbladder diseases and can even dissolve kidney stones. It is also believed to be useful in keeping the pancreas healthy. Coconut oil can also help with urinary tract and is a great natural antibiotic.
– Bone health
As I mentioned before, coconut oil improves the ability of our body to absorb minerals. These include magnesium and calcium which are essential for the development of bones.
– Skin care!
If you didn’t already know, coconut oil is amazing for the skin. This nourishing and moisturizing oil can take care of many skin problems and let your skin shine. It can treat eczema, psoriasis, acne, diaper rash and many other skin infections and conditions. No wonder why coconut oil is the base ingredient of many body care products.
Coco for babies
Coconut oil is antifungal because it contains three antifungal fatty acids called lauric acid (also found in breastmilk), capric acid and caprylic acid. It protects the skin from potential pathogens and can reduce the risk of bacterial infections. So besides being moisturizing and deep cleansing, coconut oil can also keep bacterial populations under control. This makes it perfect to treat any (diaper) rash. Coconut oil is especially good for babies/children because of its tenderness and allergy is very uncommon. Coconut oil melts on the skin as soon as you apply it and due to
its small molecular structure, the oil absorbs easily through the skin and into the cell structure of the connective tissues, moisturizing deeply and thoroughly. In this way, coconut oil has the ability to actually restore diseased or damaged skin easily.
Safe & hypoallergenic
There’s a great misunderstanding that when one is allergic to nuts they cannot use coconut oil. It does come from the coconut trees but botanically speaking it is a dupe, not a nut! So there should be no reason why a person with peanut or nut allergies should have a similar reaction to coconut oil. It is scientifically proven that the protein in nuts cause allergic reactions and coconut oil doesn’t contain any proteins. Coconut oil is very safe for babies and people with sensitive skin. Though every case is different and an allergic reaction could occur. It could be sensitivity to on did the other fatty acids in the oil. Make sure to speak with your health care provider when in doubt.
When using coconut oil, make sure it is virgin or unrefined. Which means it is the purest and least refined form of coconut oil you can get. A lot of the oil on the market is refined, bleached and deodorized, and robbed of essential nutrients. So choose wisely and keep in mind that real, nutritious coconut oil is a little more expensive than the refined one.
Let me know how coconut affected your health. I would love to hear from you in the comment section!
I have to advise you that statements in this post have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products and/or information are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. Readers are advised to do their own research and make decisions in partnership with your healthcare provider. Nothing you read here should be relied upon to determine dietary changes, a medical diagnosis, or courses of treatment.