Coconut oil has come under a lot of scrutiny over the years. For at least a decade or so, people were blaming it for high cholesterol levels and heart disease. This is ironic considering that coconut oil is a natural product and most natural foods are beneficial to one’s health. There are amazing benefits of coconut oil. Research shows that coconut oil is beneficial to one’s health, but many people are still wary about consuming it. Let’s try and understand why people are confused and misinformed about coconut oil. To get to the root of the problem, it’s important to understand the 2 different types of fats. The entire debate boils down to this.
1. What’s the debate about?
One camp says the coconut oil is high in cholesterol and causes blocked arteries and heart attacks, while the other camp says that it’s very beneficial to one’s health and actually prevents atherosclerosis. So, who is right?
2. Understanding fats
There are 2 types of fats – saturated and unsaturated fats. The most important point to note is that saturated fat is the harmful one.
Most saturated fat is derived from animal products such as meat, cheese, milk, etc. and it’s these fats that raise the blood cholesterol levels in your body. Even this point is debatable because research and studies recently are showing that dietary cholesterol doesn’t play a role in your cholesterol levels.
Coconut oil is a saturated fat, and this is the reason it got a bad reputation. However, if we’re following the argument that consuming saturated fats elevates your blood levels, it would still not hold true because coconut oil does NOT have the same cholesterol effect on your blood that animal fat has.
Coconut oil raises the high-density lipoproteins (good fat) in your body and this helps to reduce the low-density lipoproteins (LDL) which are the bad fats.
That is the difference. Coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid that actually helps combat the harmful cholesterol levels in your body. Since it is digested and assimilated by the body easily, it helps the body burn fat for fuel more efficiently.
There are other misconceptions such as coconut oil being sweet and harmful to diabetes sufferers. This is false too. Coconut oil actually helps diabetes patients by assisting the pancreas to produce insulin. So, this is another myth dispelled.
Your body loves coconut oil. It looks chunky because of the condensation but when you place a little in your hand or a warm spoon, it will become oil and it’s perfectly healthy and safe.
Common sense will also tell us that most natural foods derived from fruit and vegetables are beneficial. Extra virgin olive oil is fantastic for one’s health. In a similar vein, cold pressed coconut oil is wonderful too. As long as it’s not processed, you can’t go wrong with it.
Amazing Benefits of Coconut Oil
Millions of people have come to realize that coconut oil is one of the healthiest and most versatile foods on the planet with a plethora of benefits. Let’s look at them.
1. Aids in weight loss
After having a bad rep for so long, people are starting to finally realize that coconut oil is not the enemy – processed foods are. Coconut oil is a healthy fat that helps your body get leaner.
When you consume a tablespoon of coconut oil daily, your body realizes that it has an ample supply of good fat coming in. It will then burn your fat stores more readily.
You’ll get leaner by consuming some coconut oil daily. Do not consume too much though. It is high in calories. You want it in your diet for its ketogenic properties.
2. Helps prevent strokes
The palmitic acid in coconut oil helps to prevent strokes by preventing atherosclerosis. If that’s not a good enough reason to take coconut oil, nothing is.
3. It’s an antioxidant and anti-viral in nature
Coconut oil contains lauric acid that is very effective for killing bacteria and viruses in the body. Yeast infections and other viral health problems will have a tough time taking root in your body when you consume coconut oil.
The phenolic compounds in compounds in coconut oil have antioxidants which arrest the damage caused by free radicals within the body. Rarely can you find an oil with anti-aging properties, but coconut oil is one of them.
4. Helps lower bad cholesterol levels
Contrary to popular belief, coconut oil is NOT the reason why people get heart attacks or have high cholesterol levels. Processed foods, sugar and other additives in our food cause inflammation within the body that results in elevated cholesterol levels.
Coconut oil does quite the opposite. It lowers the triglyceride and bad cholesterol levels (LDL) in the body. In fact, cold-pressed coconut oil is healthier than most of the hydrogenated food oils that line supermarket shelves. You’d be better off replacing those oils with coconut oil.
5. Increases your metabolism
Studies have shown that when consumed over the long-term, coconut oil raises your metabolism. This not only means you have more energy, but you’ll also lose weight more effectively.
The visceral fat (which is the dangerous fat around your organs) will reduce too. When combined with a daily caloric deficit and a good exercise program, coconut oil can accelerate your weight loss.
6. Curbs your appetite
Trying to lose weight, but struggling with hunger pangs and cravings? We’ve all been there… and it’s tough. Consuming a spoon of coconut oil or mixing it into your coffee will help you to curb your appetite.
The fatty acids in the coconut oil will leave your body feeling sated and it will be easier to stay on track with your weight loss.
7. Helps prevent Alzheimer’s
Coconut oil has a very powerful benefit. It improves memory and helps with many cognitive functions. The ketones derived from coconut oil are useful for improving brain function in Alzheimer’s patients.
After reading these 7 benefits, there’s only one thing left to do – make coconut oil a part of your diet and reap the benefits of this miracle food. Get cold pressed coconut oil that has no additives and use it daily.
Ways to use Coconut Oil in your daily life
If you’re consuming coconut oil for health reasons, one tablespoon a day will do. This is a calorie-dense food and can lead to weight gain if you’re not careful. Mixing one tablespoon of coconut oil in your morning coffee and drinking it will more than suffice.
Coconut oil can be used for baking too. In fact, it can be used to replace the oil that you normally use. The only time you may wish to use another oil like virgin olive oil is if you’re making pasta or salad and the coconut oil may have too strong a taste.
Once again, it all depends on your personal preferences. Initially, some people may find the smell of the coconut oil pungent or the taste too strong for their liking. To develop an acquired taste for it will require them to take very small doses daily. Over time, they will like it.
This is a miracle food with so many benefits that you have everything to gain and nothing to lose by consuming it. Some people may wonder if they need to get coconut oil that’s organic.
A hard coconut is generally much safer, and you don’t need to be overly concerned about whether it’s organic. What matters is that it’s cold-pressed and you consume the required amount daily (1 or 2 tablespoons). Make coconut oil a part of your diet and you’ll never look back.
These are the quick ways you can use coconut oil in your daily life. You’d be amazed at how useful it is.
1. Use it as a moisturizer
It’s great for skin care. Rubbing some coconut oil on your skin will keep it supple and moisturized. It’s great for treating dry skin, cracked heels, etc.
2. To boost your energy levels
Mix a tablespoon of coconut oil in your morning coffee and you’ll have more energy throughout the day. Your body quickly assimilates coconut oil and converts it into energy.
3. Lip balm
Have dry lips? Rub some coconut oil on them and your lips will feel better.
4. Make your own toothpaste
Mix coconut oil and baking soda in equal portions and you’ll have an all-natural and effective toothpaste that doesn’t contain the chemicals that normal store-bought toothpaste has.
5. Treat acne
Rubbing coconut oil on pimples will help to prevent acne scarring. The lauric acid will kill the bacteria that causes pimples. If you have oily skin, this remedy is not for you.
6. Use it as shaving cream
Want to shave with something natural? Coconut oil to the rescue. Not only will it make shaving a breeze, but it will soothe your skin and prevent irritation.
7. Use to treat insect bites
If the mosquitoes are getting on your nerves and their bites are itchy, rubbing some coconut oil will help treat the insect bites because of its anti-inflammatory nature.
8. Use as a makeup remover
Women will never need to pay unnecessarily for makeup removers that are mostly comprised of chemicals. Coconut oil does the job just as well. Not only will it remove your makeup, but it’s great for your skin too.
9. Improve the health of your hair
Women in India have been using coconut oil for centuries to have thick, strong hair. Not only does coconut oil strengthen your hair, but it also combats dandruff. People with head lice can use coconut oil to kill the lice and solve the problem. It’s that powerful.
10. Baby ointment
If your baby has diaper rash, applying a thin layer of coconut oil on their affected areas will help soothe the irritation and swelling.
11. Shine your shoes
Who would have thought that you could use coconut oil to shine your leather shoes? And yet, it’s very effective for this purpose. Coconut oil doesn’t just have health benefits. You can use it for other tasks too.
How to Store Coconut Oil
The most important point to remember when purchasing coconut oil is that it should ONLY be cold-pressed coconut oil. There are several methods of oil extraction that uses heat and other chemical processes. None of those are beneficial to you.
Go for the cold-pressed oil. Oil that’s extracted using this method is safe, healthy and relatively pristine. Just like the name suggests, the oil is extracted by forcefully pressing the coconut using a machine. This will give you pure, virgin coconut oil.
So how do you store it?
Easily, that’s how. All levity aside, all you need to do is place it in a cool, dry place. You do not need to refrigerate it. However, if you don’t think that you could consume it all within 60 days of opening the bottle, you may refrigerate it to prevent it from going rancid. Just a suggestion, but not necessary.
Depending on where you bought the coconut oil from, it could either be in liquid form or have a white chunky appearance. This is due to oxidation.
Many people get confused when they expect to see an oil, but the coconut oil appears thick. This is normal. When you use a heated spoon or even place a bit of the thick oil on your palm, it will become a liquid and resemble any other oil.
Do your research and take note of the different ways you can use it in your life. Coconut oil will become your best friend before you know it.