Health benefits of coconut oil
After decades of bad publicity due to its high saturated fat content, coconut oil is finally gaining the respect it deserves.
Researchers have found that while coconut oil is loaded with saturated fats, not all saturated fats are the same and coconut oil is unique due to the medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) it contains. The most important is lauric acid – which in the body has strong immune boosting effects. Another high source of lauric acid is mother’s milk.
So what is all the fuss about? Here are some of the unique health benefits of this good-for-you oil:
- Digestive health – MCFAs are easily digested and therefore put less strain on your digestive system, making this oil an ideal cooking oil for those with digestive problems.
- Immune health – high levels of lauric acid help promote a healthy immune system.
- Weight management – coconut oil is slightly lower in calories than other fats and oils and the MCFAs are processed directly in your liver where they are immediately converted into energy rather than being stored as fat. Because it increases the body’s metabolism helping you burn more energy it is also popular with athletes.
But don’t think this oil is only for internal use – anecdotal reports are singing coconut oil’s praises as a nourishing topical oil too!
- Soft, shiny dandruff-free hair – regular hair massage with coconut oil ensures your scalp is dandruff free. It is also a nourishing conditioner for dry and damaged hair.
- Smooth, youthful skin – apply directly to the skin as a daily moisturiser for dry skin. Many users report diminished wrinkles and smoother skin after using coconut oil. Great as a gentle eye make-up remover or after shave lotion.
Note: this article refers to virgin coconut oil as compared to hydrogenated coconut oil – which incidentally was how coconut oil came to earn its bad reputation – the past negative research was done on hydrogenated (processed) coconut oil.