For years now, doctors have warned us against the use of saturated fat saying it is bad for our heart, cholesterol and weight management. But did you know that even though coconut oil has 90% saturated fat, it gives good cholesterol (HDL) a boost and in recent studies, it has actually been proven to even help in weight loss? Infact studies indicate that compared to butter and olive oil, the coconut oil diet increases the HDL cholesterol far better. And it didn’t increase the LDL cholesterol. Another study in women with abdominal obesity found that coconut oil increased HDL and lowered the LDL to HDL ratio, while soybean oil increased total and LDL cholesterol and decreased HDL. So bear in mind - not all saturated fats are the same!
What is Virgin Coconut Oil?
Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) is the most healthy and versatile of all vegetable oils. It is extracted from freshly shredded and first-pressed coconut meat and mature coconuts. It was termed Virgin because it is pure, as in white, it does not undergo any hydro-generation or any heating process, it is unrefined, unbleached and has not under gone any deodorizing process. Virgin Coconut Oil has been hailed as the miracle oil since it can be used internally as well as externally since the benefits range across skin, hair and overall health. These days, virgin coconut oil is proving to be even better for health. It has been proven that any bad data on coconut oil are due to hydrogenation, and virgin coconut oil is not hydrogenated.
Here are top 15 benefits of this miracle oil that you probably didn't know about or were not sure about:
Benefits for your Health:
1. Helps in Weight Loss - Using virgin coconut oil for weight loss is beneficial because the oil consists primarily of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), the kind that are not only good for you, but essential for brain function, muscle function (including heart muscle), healing, energy and more. Coconut oil doesn't raise blood glucose levels and it is processed immediately by the body and turned into energy. It isn't stored in the body where it can be turned into fat. The MCFA's don't even require pancreatic digestive enzymes to break them down. Coconut oil thus stimulates metabolism therefore promoting weight loss.
2. Helps in Thyroid Issues - Unsaturated oils block protein digestion in the stomach which can leave us malnourished even while eating healthy foods striving for weight loss. Changes in hormones caused by unsaturated fats can damage the thyroid. They can also block thyroid hormone secretion and its regular functions through the circulatory system, and tissues in the body. Refined unsaturated vegetable oils suppress thyroid function and can cause weight gain. Coconut oil is not unsaturated and doesn't have these negative effects on thyroid function. Instead, coconut oil helps the thyroid gland to function normally, and it helps people meet and stay at their ideal weight.
3. Builds Immunity – Extra Virgin Coconut Oil helps you prepare antibodies and therefore improves your immunity system. It has antibacterial, antifungal properties and also anti inflammatory properties.
4. Helps Your Heart – Virgin coconut oil has high saturated fatty acids but these are not “Bad” for the body. In fact Studies show that virgin coconut oil raises the levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, lessens the bad cholesterol and thus improves overall cholesterol ratio. This saves you from heart diseases and lessens the risk of heart attacks.
5. Helps Prevent Memory Loss & Alzheimer’s – Our brain usually gets most of its energy from glucose, but brain cells also use ketone bodies. During Alzheimer’s disease, brain scans show that there appears to be a reduced ability to use glucose for energy in certain parts of the brain. Ketone bodies, provided by coconut oil give the brain the energy it needs to function properly and helps prevent memory loss.
6. Helps Protect Joints - The lubrication provided by consuming the good fats in coconut oil keep our joints lubricated and help against joint pain and other related issues such as arhritis and osteoperosis.
7. Protect against cancer, diabetes and many other degenerative diseases - The MCT’s in coconut oil help balance the insulin reactions in the cells because of ketones our bodies produce when we consume it. These ketones take off the strain on the pancreas by giving the body a consistent energy source that is not dependent on glucose reactions.
8. Improves digestion - Coconut oil improves digestion by helping the body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, calcium, and magnesium. If coconut oil is taken at the same time as omega-3 fatty acids, it can make them doubly effective. Coconut oil can also help improve bacteria and gut health by destroying bad bacteria and candida.
9. Kills Bacteria, Virus & Fungi - Virgin Coconut oil has lauric acid which is particularly good at kiling bacteria, viruses and fungi. So it is great at fighting infections.
Benefits for your Skin:
10. Excellent in treating eczema, dermatitis & other skin conditions - Studies on individuals with dry skin show that coconut oil can improve the moisture content of the skin. It has also been shown to reduce symptoms of eczema.
11. Prevents premature aging of skin - Coconut oil works as a topical lotion with no added chemicals or preservatives. Vitamin E in the oil keeps skin healthy and provides anti-aging benefits.
Benefits for your Hair:
12. Natural Conditioner - Coconut oil acts as a natural healthy conditioner to keep your hair healthy, tangle free, soft and manageable. You can apply it for an hour before shampoo or mix it with water in a spritz bottle and use it as a leave-in conditioner after shampoo (after your hair is 50% dry).
13. Improves Quality of Hair – Mix coconut oil with a small amount of castor oil and apply to your hair once or twice a week an hour before shampoo. You will notice the quality of your hair strands thickening and improving in 3 to 6 months of regular use. By regularly massaging your head with coconut oil, you can also ensure that your scalp is dandruff free, even if your scalp is chronically dry. It also helps in keeping your hair and scalp free from lice infestation.
Benefits for Oral Health:
14. Great for Oil Pulling - Extra virgin coconut oil is great to be used as mouthwash in an ayurvedic process of mouth cleansing called oil pulling, which kills the harmful bacteria in the mouth, improve dental health and reduce bad breath. This also draws out toxins from within your body.
15. Great for Chapped Lips - The minerals in this coconut oil add plenty of moisture to cure the dryness and make your lips soft, smooth and free of chaps.