The health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, maintaining cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer, dental care, and bone strength. These benefits of coconut oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and its properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, soothing, etc.
How Is Lauric Acid Used by Our Body?
The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which is claimed to help in dealing with viruses and bacteria causing diseases such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. It helps in fighting harmful bacteria such as listeria monocytogenes and heliobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia. As a result of these various health benefits of coconut oil, though its exact mechanism of action was unknown, it has been extensively used in Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicinal system. The Coconut Research Center has compiled various references on scientific research done on coconut oil.
Composition of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil consists of more than ninety percent of saturated fats (Don’t panic! First read to the last word. Your opinion may change), with traces of few unsaturated fatty acids, such as monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Virgin Coconut Oil is no different from this. Let us have a bit detailed study of this.
● The Saturated Fatty Acids: Most of them are Medium Chain Triglycerides, which are supposed to assimilate well. Lauric Acid is the chief contributor, with more than forty percent of the share, followed by Capric Acid, Caprylic Acid, Myristic Acid and Palmitic.
● The Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: Linoleic Acid.
● The Monounsaturated Fatty Acids: Oleic Acid.
● The Poly-phenols: Gallic Acid, which is phenolic acid. These poly-phenols are supposed to be responsible for the fragrance and the taste of Coconut Oil and Virgin Coconut Oil is rich in these poly-phenols.
● Certain derivatives of fatty acid like Betaines, Ethanolamide, Ethoxylates, Fatty Esters, Fatty Polysorbates, Monoglycerides and Polyol Esters.
● Fatty Chlorides, Fatty Alcohol Sulphate and Fatty Alcohol Ether Sulphate, all of which are derivatives of Fatty Alcohols.
● Vitamin-E and Vitamin K and minerals such as Iron.
The Benefits of Coconut Oil in Detail
Coconut oil is one of the best natural nutrition for hair. It helps in healthy growth of hair providing them a shiny complexion. Regular massage of the head with coconut oil ensures that your scalp is free of dandruff, lice, and lice eggs, even if your scalp is dry. Coconut oil is extensively used in the Indian sub-continent for hair care. Most of the people in these countries apply coconut oil on their hair daily after bath. It is an excellent conditioner and helps in the re-growth of damaged hair. It also provides the essential proteins required for nourishing damaged hair. It is therefore used as hair care oil and used in manufacturing various conditioners, and dandruff relief creams. Coconut oil is normally applied topically for hair care.
Coconut oil is excellent massage oil for the skin as well. It acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skins including dry skin. The benefit of coconut oil on the skin is comparable to that of mineral oil. Further, unlike mineral oil, there is no chance of having any adverse side effects on the skin with the application of coconut oil. Coconut oil therefore is a safe solution for preventing dryness and flaking of skin. It also delays wrinkles, and sagging of skin which normally become prominent with age. Coconut oil also helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections. Therefore coconut oil forms the basic ingredient of various body care products such as soaps, lotions, creams, etc., used for skin care. Coconut oil also helps in preventing premature aging and degenerative diseases due to its antioxidant properties.
There is a misconception spread among many people that coconut oil is not good for the heart. This is because it contains a large quantity of saturated fats. However, coconut oil is beneficial for the heart. It contains about 50% lauric acid, which helps in preventing various heart problems including high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. The saturated fats present in coconut oil are not harmful as it happens in case of other vegetables oils. It does not lead to increase in LDL levels. It also reduces the incidence of injury in arteries and therefore helps in preventing atherosclerosis.
Coconut oil is very useful in reducing weight. It contains short and medium-chain fatty acids that help in taking off excessive weight. It is also easy to digest and it helps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and enzymes systems. Further, it increases the body metabolism by removing stress on pancreases, thereby burning out more energy and helping obese and overweight people reduce their weight. Hence, people living in tropical coastal areas, who eat coconut oil daily as their primary cooking oil, are normally not fat, obese or overweight.
Internal use of coconut oil occurs primarily as cooking oil. Coconut oil helps in improving the digestive system and thus prevents various stomach and digestion related problems including irritable bowel syndrome. The saturated fats present in coconut oil have anti microbial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, parasites, etc., that cause indigestion. Coconut oil also helps in absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
Coconut Oil for Acid Reflux and Ulcers
Coconut oil has been used by large numbers of people to treat things like acid reflux and ulcers. The word is, taking two to three tablespoons of coconut oil a day (which you can put in coffee or tea if you can’t fathom eating straight coconut oil) has really helped a large number of people. You can begin drinking 3 cups of tea daily, each with 1 Tbsp virgin coconut oil melted in it. Tastes delicious!
Coconut oil is also good for the immune system. It strengthens the immune system as it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which is claimed to help in dealing with viruses and bacteria causing diseases such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. It helps in fighting harmful bacteria such as listeria monocytogenes and heliobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia.
Healing and Infections
When applied on infections, it forms a chemical layer which protects the infected body part from external dust, air, fungi, bacteria and virus. Coconut oil is most effective on bruises as it speeds up the healing process by repairing damaged tissues.
Infections: Coconut oil is very effective against a variety of infections due to its antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. According to the Coconut Research Center, coconut oil kills viruses that cause influenza, measles, hepatitis, herpes, SARS, etc. It also kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and gonorrhea, etc. Coconut oil is also effective on fungi and yeast that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, diaper rash, etc.
Dental Care: Calcium is an important element present in teeth. Since coconut oil facilitates absorption of calcium by the body, it helps in getting strong teeth. Coconut oil also stops tooth decay.
Liver: The presence of medium chain triglycerides and fatty acids helps in preventing liver diseases as they substances are easily converted into energy when they reach the liver, thus reducing work load on the liver and also preventing accumulation of fat.
Kidney: Coconut oil helps in preventing kidney and gall bladder diseases. It also helps in dissolving kidney stones.
Pancreatitis: Coconut oil is also believed to be useful in treating pancreatitis.
Stress Relief: Coconut oil is very soothing and hence it helps in removing stress. Applying coconut oil to the head followed with a gentle massage helps in removing mental fatigue.
Diabetes: Coconut oil helps in controlling blood sugar, and improves the secretion of insulin. It also helps in effective utilization of blood glucose, thereby preventing and treating diabetes.
Bones: As mentioned earlier, coconut oil improves the ability of our body to absorb important minerals. These include calcium and magnesium which are necessary for development of bones. Thus coconut oil is very useful to women who are prone to osteoporosis after middle age.
HIV and Cancer: It is believed that coconut oil plays an instrumental role in reducing viral susceptibility of HIV and cancer patients. Preliminary research has shown indications of the effect of coconut oil on reducing the viral load of HIV patients.
Alzheimer’s Disease: There are reports of research conducted by Dr. Newport stating that coconut oil is useful for treating Alzheimer’s disease. Apart from this there is no scientific evidence or traditional knowledge or coconut oil being used for treating Alzheimer’s. It was also not known traditionally that coconut oil helps in the brain function.
Finally, coconut oil is often preferred by athletes and body builders and by those who are dieting. The reason behind this being that coconut oil contains lesser calories than other oils, its fat and arteries. Coconut oil helps in boosting energy and endurance, and enhances the performance of athletes.
Why is Coconut Oil Solid?: Unlike most other oils, coconut oil has a high melting point – about 24 to 25 degress Celcius or 76-78 Farenheit. Therefore it is solid at room temperature and melts only when the temperatures go high. Hence, if you buy a bottle of coconut oil and find it solid, don’t think that there is some problem with it. Coconut oil is like this only. And of course, don’t keep it in your refrigerator.
How to Use Coconut Oil: If you are using coconut oil for topical purposes, especially hair care, just melt the oil (if it is solid) by keeping the bottle in the sun or warm water. You can also take some coconut oil out and put it in a small bowl and heat the bowl over a flame (do not use microwave). Then take the oil on your palm and apply it to your hair. If you want to use it for internal consumption, simply replace butter or vegetable oils with coconut oil in your recipes. Remember, you need not switch to coconut oil completely, as you will miss the benefits of other oils and dairy products.
Can I Use Coconut Oil for Cooking?: Yes, in most of the tropical coastal regions, people use coconut oil for coooking.
I Don’t Like the Taste of Coconut Oil. What Should I do?: Try using coconut oil in some different recipe. That may help. If you get nauseated after eating coconut oil, don’t force yourself. As it happens with any other food item, your body may be allergic to coconut oil and it is best not to consume it.
Here is a chart outlining the recommended daily dosage of virgin coconut oil for persons over the age of 12. Coconut oil may be consumed by children under 12 but it is advisable to check with a healthcare practitioner on the proper dosage. Any good naturopath will have the information at the ready.
Type to use:
· Expeller pressed coconut oil can be used for anything. It does not have a coconutty smell or taste.
· Virgin coconut oil tastes coconutty and is great for cooking and baking where you want that flavor.
· Food grade should always be used.
80 Common Uses for Coconut Oil
1. Moisturizer – simply scoop some out of the jar and apply all over your body, including neck and face.
2. Eye cream – apply under the eyes to reduce puffiness, bags, and wrinkles. Use on the lids in the evening.
3. Preshave – coconut oil will prep skin for the pending damage caused by shaving.
4. Aftershave – coconut oil will help heal your skin after shaving without clogging pores.
5. Deodorant – coconut oil alone can be used as a deodorant, but even more effective in combination with cornstarch/arrowroot. Like 20k powder and baking soda!
6. Hair Conditioner/Deep Treatment – use as a leave in hair conditioner by applying a teaspoon of coconut oil to your ends and then running your fingers through your hair to distribute the rest! For a deeper treatment, rub in a tablespoon of coconut oil onto your dry scalp and gently work through to the ends. Put a shower cap on to prevent transfer onto bed linens and leave on overnight.
7. Hair Gel/Defrizzer – rub a little between your palms and either scrunch into hair (for curly hair) or finger comb in through from scalp to ends (for wavy/straight hair).
8. Toothpaste – there are numerous recipes out there but you can just mix coconut oil and baking soda and dab a little of the mix on your toothbrush.
9. Make up remover – use a cotton swab and a dab of coconut oil and you would be amazed at how well it works!
10. Chapstick – just rub a little into lips and it not only acts as a softening agent but it also has an SPF of about 4 so you get a little protection!
11. Massage Oil – pretty simple; grab some and rub!
12. Lubricant – it is an all natural, perfectly safe personal lubricant. Not compatible with latex!
13. Sunscreen – see my post on natural sunscreen for more detailed information.
14. Stretch Mark Cream – coconut oil is great at nourishing damaged skin. It may not be the magic stretch mark cure but it will help.
15. Nipple Cream – works great to nourish cracked, sore, or dry nipples. Apply to a cotton ball and leave on your nipples between feedings.
16. Diaper salve – very comforting on a rashy bottom with no harsh chemicals. Also safe for cloth diapers.
17. Cradle cap – having issues with dry skin on your baby’s scalp? Coconut oil will not only nourish your baby’s skin, it also helps eliminate cradle cap. Just rub a teaspoon onto scalp daily.
18. Body scrub – mix coconut oil and sugar together and rub all over! Rinse off and your skin will be super soft! You can add in essential oils if you would like a specific smell.
19. Healing – when applied on scrapes and cuts, coconut oil forms a thin, chemical layer which protects the wound from outside dust, bacteria and viruses. Coconut oil speeds up the healing process of bruises by repairing damaged tissues. Plus, it smells a heck-of-a-lot better than anything from the pharmacy.
20. Bug Bites – when applied directly to a bug bite, coconut oil can stop the itching and burning sensation as well as hasten the healing process.
21. Skin problems – coconut oil relieves skin problems such as psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema.
22. Swimmers Ear – mix garlic oil and coconut oil and put a few drops in affected ear for about 10 minutes. Do this 2-3 times a day and it usually works within one or two days.
General Health and Wellness
23. Stress Relief – relieve mental fatigue by applying coconut oil to the head in a circular, massaging motion. The natural aroma of coconuts is extremely soothing thus helping to lower your stress level.
24. Digestion – the saturated fats in coconut oil have anti-bacterial properties that help control, parasites, and fungi that cause indigestion and other digestion related problems such as irritable bowel syndrome. The fat in coconut oil also aids in the absorption of vitamins, minerals and amino acids, making you healthier all around.
25. Fitness – coconut oil has been proven to stimulate your metabolism, improve thyroid function, and escalate energy levels, all of which help decrease your unwanted fat, while increasing muscle.
26. Nose bleeds – coconut oil can prevent nose bleeding that is caused by sensitivity to weather such as extreme hotness and extreme coldness. This condition happens when the nasal passages become dry because of cold or dry air resulting to burns and cracks in the mucus membranes so bleeding happens. To prevent this just put coconut oil in you nostrils. Coat your finger with coconut oil and then lie down and coat your finger inside your nose. Doing this will strengthen and protect the capillaries in the nasal passages. A Vitamin C supplement will also help prevent nose bleeding.
27. For breastfeeding moms, consuming 3 ½ tablespoons of coconut oil daily will enrich your milk supply.
28. Helps with weight loss & controlling cravings.
29. Helps keep blood sugar levels stable and/or helps with cravings in those with diabetes.
Health Problems (that coconut oil is known for aiding, relieving, or even curing when taken internally)
30. Eczema – in addition to taking it internally, many have success applying it externally, some don’t
31. Skin problems
32. Toenail fungus
33. Hot flashes
34. Bleeding hemorrhoids (can also be applied externally twice a day)
36. Head lice
37. Improvements in menstruation regarding pain/cramps and heavy blood flow
38. Migraines (with regular use)
42. Relieve gallbladder pain
43. Has helped some people improve symptoms of an underactive thyroid gland, results have shown subsequent thyroid blood tests becoming normal
44. Energy boost
45. Flaky, dry skin
46. May relieve acid reflux and indigestion when taken with each meal
47. Adrenal fatigue
49. H. pylori
50. Candida albicans
51. Asthma, even in children
53. Cholesterol – improves HDL (‘good’ cholesterol) to HDL (‘bad’ cholesterol
54. Chronic fatigue
55. Circulation/feeling cold all the time
56. Stronger immune system
57. Mental Clarity
59. Helps with inflammation in Crohns
Health Problems (that coconut oil is known for aiding, relieving, or even curing when applied topically)
60. Athletes footCoconut Oil
61. Back pain/sore muscles
62. Canker sores
65. Herpes (applied topically and taken internally)
66. Genital warts (through topical application over 6 weeks, and coconut oil enemas twice a day depending on the location of the warts)
67. Circumcision healing – I have read that coconut oil is a really great healer for this.
68. Use 1 cup to 1 cup ratio when replacing other oils/butter in recipes with coconut oil.
69. Replacement for butter/lard/Crisco/PAM in it’s solid form – greasing pans, pie crusts, etc.
70. Replacement for various oils in liquid form – baking, cooking, sautéing, etc.
71. Nutritional supplement – melt and add to smoothies.
72. Insect repellent – mix coconut oil with peppermint oil extract and rub it all over exposed skin. Keeps insects off better than anything with Deet! Tons safer too.
73. Great for dogs and cats for general wellness. Just add a teaspoon to their water bowl daily.
74. Goo Gone – just mix equal parts coconut oil and baking soda into a paste. Apply to the “sticky” area and let it set for a minute. Then scrub off with an old toothbrush or the scrubby side of a sponge.
75. Chewing Gum in Hair Remover – just rub some coconut oil over the stuck chewing gum, leave in for about 30 minutes, then roll the gum between your fingertip. Voila! It’s out!
76. Polish Furniture – coconut oil with a little bit of lemon juice to polish wood furniture. However, I recommend you test it first on a very small, unobtrusive part of your furniture to make sure it works the way you’d like.
77. Polishing Bronze – all you have to do is rub a little oil into a cotton towel and then wipe down the statue. It cleans and helps deepen the color of your bronze.
78. Seasoning animal hide drums
79. Seasoning cookware
80. Moisturizing and cleaning leather products
Legal CMA Disclaimer:
Although this article may contain factual information, the information contained in this article has probably not been evaluated by the FDA nor is it in any way intended to be medical advice.
Unfortunately I must recommend that for any change in medical or health behavior or for any change in the way you use prescribed drugs by your healthcare providers or before acting upon any of the advice given in this or any other article, that you consult with your licensed healthcare provider or physician.
Dr. Locker and his friendly, knowledgeable staff invite you to call
Gentle Family Dentistry in Duncansville, PA
for the greatest, most advanced, painless dental experience you have ever had.