Coconut oil is widely considered as a “True Superfood”. This is because there aren’t a lot of things that coconut oil can’t do. While talking about coconut oil benefits, it can be considered as “Do it all miracle oil”.
Coconut oil is derived from the lifeline of the health tree i.e., coconut tree. It is well known for its taste, health and other versatile benefits that you may not be even aware of. Over decades, coconut oil has gained its fame as a healthiest food for skin, hair and body and the benefits are beyond your expectations.
Let’s get aware of what all this hype is about with the science-backed health benefits of coconut oil for skin, hair, body, oral health and others.
Composition of coconut oil:
Coconut oil is rich in Medium Chain Fatty acids (MCT). These MCTs are easier to burn and harder for the body to convert into fats. It is a rich source of Vitamin E and almost 100% fat.
Fatty acids found in coconut oil include –
Saturated fatty acids: Lauric acid, Myristic acid, Palmitic acids, Caprylic acid, Stearic acid, Capric acid.
Unsaturated fatty acids: Oleic acid, Linoleic acid
Types of coconut oil:
Broadly speaking, Coconut oil is classified into two: refined coconut oil and virgin coconut oil.
Refined coconut oil is produced through heat exposure. It is refined, bleached, deodorized and made from dried coconut. Moreover, it is less expensive, has a neutral scent and higher smoke point. Usually recommended for cooking and have fewer nutritional properties.
Virgin coconut oil is a pure form of oil and is produced without heat exposure. It is made from cold pressing and is unbleached. Moreover, it retains all the natural aroma and has a lower smoke point. It tastes great and has numerous health and nutritional benefits. It is recommended to consume this raw like a dressing.
Cold pressed coconut oil is extremely pure and raw. It has a higher smoke point and is considered better for high temperature cooking. This is usually priced higher since the extraction process retains all the nutrients.
Benefits of coconut oil for skin:
Apart from cooking, coconut oil has some outstanding benefits for skin too. It shines in the beauty product sector too. Read below to explore more about coconut oil benefits for skin.
Treating dry skin:
Skin hydration is an issue faced by most of us. Coconut oil helps in protecting and retaining skin hydration with the help of fatty acids present in them. If you have oily face skin, then try to avoid its use. (Home remedies for dry skin)
Protection against UV radiation: Natural sunscreen
Coconut oil protects your skin from the harmful UV radiations by acting as a barrier between your skin and the radiations. This acts as a natural sunscreen as few studies have stated that it can block about 15-20% of the sun’s UV radiation. Although this may be true but it won’t work as a complete protection. (How to apply sunscreen)
The major reasons for skin inflammation include eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis. Since, coconut oil possess anti-inflammatory properties, it is a quick fix that penetrates the skin easily.
Coconut oil contains MCTs that help in reducing pimples or acne by killing the bacterias responsible for this. Therefore, application of a thin layer of coconut oil to the affected areas works. (Home remedies to reduce pimples)
Keeps you safe from infections:
As coconut oil contains lauric acid and other essential fatty acids too, it possesses antimicrobial, antifungal and antiviral properties. This helps in prevention of infection in the body. Consumption and application both work well. (Immunity boosting foods)
Coconut oil helps in wound healing by increasing the production of collagen. It is considered as an important wound healing protein.
Apart from soothing, smoothing and nourishing the skin, coconut oil acts as an anti-ageing serum. It is rich in vitamins, vitamin A and fatty acids that reduce wrinkles, fine lines, damaged skin and hyperpigmentation. Moreover, it improves the skin elasticity to a greater extent. (How sugar affects your skin)
Coconut oil can be an effective remedy to reduce stretch marks. Application of a mixture of warm coconut oil with pure kapoor (camphor) works best.
Treats baby rashes:
Baby’s skin is quite sensitive. Rashes caused by diapers and heat can be treated with the help of coconut oil. Since coconut oil has soothing and hydrating properties, it reduces the inflammation thus giving relief from itching and irritation. (Home remedies to treat heat rash)
Benefits of coconut oil for hair:
Coconut oil is not only beneficial for the skin but also plays an important role in hair nourishment. Mentioned below are few benefits of coconut oil for hair:
Your hair is more vulnerable when wet. When the hair is wet it undergoes structural changes by absorbing water. This results in hair damage and hair fall. Applying coconut oil before and after hair wash prevents damage by reducing protein loss. If applied before, it reduces the amount of damage during washing whereas application of the same after bath prevents damage caused by friction and styling. Moreover, it keeps your hair soft and smooth. (Hair fall home remedies)
Makes your hair shine:
Coconut oil helps in hair shine as it penetrates the scalp much better than other mineral oils. It protects the hair and locks the moisture thus, providing shine to the hair strands. This is the secret of long and shiny hairs.
Protects your hair:
Coconut oil contains essential properties that are important for revamping damaged hair. The nutrient in the oil nourishes the scalp thus protecting it from damage. Its chemical structure is so superior that it helps in protecting the hair from the environmental and cosmetic damages.
Aids hair growth:
Longer, thicker and shinier hair can be obtained from coconut oil. In addition, coconut oil helps in aiding hair growth by reducing breakage, moisturizing the hair, reducing protein loss and protection against environmental damage. It also promotes hair growth by removing excess sebum from the hair follicles. For this to work best, you need to make it a regular beauty regimen. (Reasons of hair fall in kids and remedies)
The initial step of lice prevention can be usage of coconut oil. Massaging coconut oil along with tea tree oil kills the lice. Alternatively, you can use apple cider vinegar to wash off the lice eggs after the coconut oil treatment.
Protects hair from sun UV radiations:
Studies state that application of coconut oil protects the hair from the sun’s harmful radiations. It may work as a weak sunscreen.
Coconut oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties. That is why frequent massage of warm coconut oil reduces dandruff. (Home remedies for dry and itchy scalp)
Benefits of coconut oil for oral hygiene:
Coconut oil for oral hygiene has been used since decades. Oil pulling is the natural way of preventing any oral health issues. It helps in maintaining the oral hygiene by
- Killing the harmful bacterias
- Reduce bad breaths
- Prevents dental plaque
- Prevents tooth decay (Importance of teeth brushing in kids)
- Preventing gum disease
- Reduce build-up of food debris
- Prevents formation of film on tongue
How to oil pull?
It’s simple! Oil pulling is more like an oil mouthwash. Swish coconut oil in your mouth for 15-20 minutes and spit out followed by brushing. The reason behind doing this is, every time you oil pull, the fatty acids present in the oil traps the bacteria and removes them from the mouth. Isn’t it an interesting fact about coconut oil benefits?
Coconut oil drinking benefits: Body care
Boost heart health:
Coconut oil may help in boosting heart health. It contains saturated fatty acids but these work differently as compared to the other saturated fats. It increases the healthy cholesterol (HDL, good fat) in the body while lowering the harmful effects of LDL. Additionally, the MCTs present in this oil are not involved in the cholesterol transport. On the whole, it may help boost heart health.
Quick source of energy:
MCTs present in the coconut oil are easily digested and go directly from your gut to the liver. The body uses them as a quick energy source without increasing the blood sugar levels. (Power foods all kids need)
Helps in fat burning:
Coconut oil helps in the proper functioning of the thyroid and endocrine system. It boosts the body’s metabolic rates which aids weight loss. The major fats from coconut oil are converted into energy rather than being stored as a fat. (Natural ways for weight loss)
Studies shows that coconut oil is responsible for satiety. It reduces hunger by producing ketones in the body. This aids to weight loss also as the intake of the calories reduces. (Tips to increase appetite in kids)
Improve Cognitive (Brain) Functions:
One of the lesser-known facts about coconut oil benefits is its role in improving brain function. The MCTs present in this oil break down into super rich ketones which act as an alternative energy source (fuel) for the brain. This helps in boosting memory. Moreover, it has been studied that it enhances the abilities of language and orientation in Alzheimer patients. (Foods for brain development in kids)
Controls blood sugar:
Recent work on the impact of coconut oil on the blood sugar level states that it helps in promoting insulin secretion. In addition to that, it helps in stabilizing the blood sugar levels and encourages effective use of blood glucose.
Boost Bone Health:
Coconut oil helps boost bone health in two ways. Firstly, being a rich source of antioxidants, it neutralizes the free radicals and reduces oxidative stress. Secondly, it helps in the absorption of calcium, magnesium and other fat-soluble vitamins and minerals. In addition, it is useful in reducing the symptoms of osteoporosis and arthritis. (Bone development in kids)
The combination of two properties of the virgin coconut oil helps in relaxing the body. This oil can be used in aromatherapy which helps in body and mind relaxation. Gentle massage of coconut oil eases the stress.
Hormonal imbalance is quite a matter of concern these days. Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid. It helps in balancing the hormones and may have a good effect on the estrogen levels. It is good to consume this during menopause. (Foods to manage hormone imbalance)
Everything is okay, but how much coconut oil per day?
Even though coconut oil serves abundant health benefits, moderate use of it is required. It should be treated like any other fat that you come across. You can enjoy all the benefits of coconut when consumed in adequate amounts.
Usually, it is best to limit yourself to about 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a day.
Health benefits of coconut water:
Not only coconut oil but also coconut water plays an important role in the body.
- Good source of hydration
- Great source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium (Calcium rich foods)
- Help in preventing kidney stones
- Instant energy source
- Reduce blood pressure
- Aids in digestion (Probiotic foods)
- Healthy skin
- Hangover cure
- Treats flatulence, stomach ulcer and gastrointestinal issues
- Prevention against infections
- Eliminates worms (Deworming in kids)
Other benefits of coconut oil:
Apart from having health benefits coconut oil helps in some non-health related issues too. This makes coconut oil a whole.
- Stain removal
- Natural deodorant
- Wood shine
- Makeup removal
- Base for exfoliants
- Natural highlighter
- Nasal drops
- Hygiene wash
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