In many parts of the world, coconuts and coconut oil are a normal part of daily diets. The reasons for this, however, are not just for cooking and baking. Coconut oil has many health benefits, including several surprising ones.
Here are six of those surprising health benefits.
1. Promotes Weight Loss
Coconut Oil is now being shown to promote weight loss in more ways than one.
This is most likely because coconut oil contains Medium-chain triglycerides, commonly referred to as MCTs. These fatty acids expand the number of calories that the body can burn in comparison to other fats, such as those found in olive oil and avocados.
In addition to overall weight loss, the MCTs in coconut oil reduce your appetite, and also burn abdominal fat, which has increased links to chronic diseases.
2. Improves Heart Health
Unsaturated fats are touted as being extremely harmful to our health. Coconut oil, however, seems to have a beneficial effect on our HDL cholesterol (our good cholesterol), which aids in heart health.
3. Boosts Brain Functioning
Early research has shown that the MCTs found in coconut oil improve the brain functioning in many of those with mild forms of Alzheimer’s disease.
These MCTs could increase ketones in the blood, which supplies energy for the brain cells and relieves many of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
4. Improves Oral Health
Oil-pulling is an old Indian practice that many people still do today. And coconut oil is at the heart of it.
Oil-pulling is basically using the oil as a mouthwash to lessen the number of harmful bacteria in your mouth, leading to improved oral health. This can be by reducing gum inflammation, or gingivitis, removing plaque and eliminating bad breath.
With hundreds of different types of bacteria swimming around in our mouths, oil pulling may be a remedy worth trying. To do so, swish a tablespoon of oil around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes.
5. Provides Antimicrobial Effects
The fatty acids found in coconut oil include one called lauric acid. When digested, this lauric acid forms another substance, monolaurin. Both this monolaurin and the lauric acid kill off harmful pathogens in the body, including viruses, bacteria, and fungi. This can include the bacteria that cause staph infections, as well as many others.
6. Boosts the Health of Your Skin and Hair
Coconut oil is a proven skin moisturizer and has also been shown to reduce the severity of eczema.
Another advantage of coconut oil is its ability to reduce hair damage. Its fatty acids allow it to penetrate deep into the hair shaft, increasing your hair’s strength and growth. Use it as a deep conditioner or to control frizzy hair. Also, apply it to your hair before going outside to protect it from sun damage.
If you’re ready to give it a try for more than just cooking, try to stick to organic, virgin coconut oil for the best health benefits.