Coconut oil is an edible oil extracted from the meat of mature coconuts. Studies done on coconut oil show that it is rich in vitamins, minerals and amino acids. This superfood oil is great for everyday uses, it can make your hair healthy, skin sensational, cure your indigestion, heal wounds and infections and is great for cooking as well. Coconut oil has been gaining popularity across the world because of its several health benefits. Let us look at some of the known health benefits of Coconut Oil.
1. Hair Care
Coconut oil helps in healthy growth of hair by penetrating the hair follicle better than many other oils. It promotes hair growth and gives strength and shine to strands by reducing ‘protein loss’. It provides the essential proteins required for nourishing and healing damaged hair. To get rid of itchy, dry scalp and dandruff, massage your head regularly with coconut oil or even you can apply coconut hair mask. It also helps in fighting the problem of lice in your hair and scalp. It’s an excellent conditioner that nourishes and moisturizes the scalp and hair. Its antibacterial properties are used to fight fungal infections of the scalp.
How to apply Coconut Oil to Your Hair
Use extra virgin and organic coconut oil. Do not heat directly as direct heating can degrade the quality of the oil, making it less beneficial. In order to correctly heat coconut oil, place the bowl of coconut oil into the bowl of warm water. Leave the cup in the bowl until the oil melts. Pure coconut oil is solid at cold temperatures but melts quickly at 76 degrees F or above. Massage the coconut oil into your scalp and throughout your hair.
For hair growth or scalp health, massage it into the roots of the hair. For conditioning benefits, apply the oil on hair, a few inches from the scalp. Comb your hair to distribute the coconut oil evenly. Then tuck all the hair inside a shower cap on your head. Leave it for at least 30 minutes or you can leave it overnight. Shampoo your hair and repeat if necessary to remove the coconut oil completely.
2. Skin Care
Coconut oil has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties which work great for skin. It has been safely used for thousands of years as a massage oil for hair and skin. It helps in treating various skin problems such as dryness and flaking of skin, psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, and other skin infections.
Coconut oil is an excellent moisturizer, absorbs quickly, which leaves skin smooth and silky. It is a fantastic makeup remover and works even on waterproof mascara. Coconut oil works in favour of reducing acne breakouts and helps to soothe inflammation caused due to acne. Its antioxidant properties delay the appearance of wrinkles and sagging of skin, which normally accompany ageing.
Coconut oil is a natural lip balm and an effective treatment for dry, chapped lips. It is natural and safe to consume. It nourishes the skin and protects it from irritations, itchiness and dryness.
3. Weight Loss
Coconut oil contains short and medium-chain fatty acids that help in taking off excessive weight. The polyunsaturated fats in the coconut oil have microbial properties which eliminate harmful bacteria and other parasites which cause indigestion. It increases the body’s metabolic rate by placing less strain on the pancreas, thereby, burning more energy and helping obese and overweight people lose weight.
People who use coconut oil every day as their primary cooking oil, are normally not overweight. If your objective is to lose weight, try replacing some of the oils that you currently use with organic coconut oil since it has a greater impact on boosting your metabolism and thus pushing you one step closer to your weight loss goal.
4. Improves Immunity
Coconut oil strengthens the immune system. It contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid, which have antifungal, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties.
Coconut oil is 48% lauric acid. The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin. Monolaurin is a naturally occurring fat present in both coconut fat and breast milk. We all know breast milk is good for immunity and so is the coconut oil. It boosts immunity and treats bacterial, viral and fungal infections.
5. Boosts Digestion
Coconut is a rich source of fibre and nutrition. Its oil differs from other dietary types as it is largely made up of Medium Chain Triglycerides(MCT), as opposed to long chain triglycerides. Medium chain triglycerides transform into antimicrobial agents in the digestive tract. These antimicrobials help kill bad bacteria while leaving good bacteria intact, to re-establish balance in the digestive tract and promote colon health. That’s why it is also used as a colon cleanser.
Coconut oil is easy to digest, making it useful in digestion and absorption difficulties. The digestion process of medium chain triglycerides begins as soon as contact is made with the saliva and gastric juices. The saturated fats present in it have antimicrobial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, and parasites that can cause indigestion.
6. Dental Care
The lauric acid in coconut oil attacks harmful bacteria in the mouth that can cause bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease. Coconut oil can decrease plaque build-up on teeth and fight gum disease. Oil pulling with coconut oil helps decrease plaque build-up by attacking harmful mouth bacteria. It can also help fight gum disease. The fatty acid of coconut oil attacks Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus, which are the two groups of bacteria which cause cavities and tooth decay.
7. Speeds Up Healing
Coconut oil speeds up the healing process of open wounds, rashes and burns. When applied to infected areas, coconut oil forms a chemical layer that protects the infected body part from external dust, air, fungi, bacteria, and viruses. It is highly effective on bruises.
8. Keeping Organs Healthy
The presence of high antioxidant content in coconut oil protects the liver from the harmful effects of free radicals. Coconut oil can reduce the workload of the liver by preventing accumulation of fat. Coconut oil is rich in omega 3 fatty acids which are good for the kidneys.
The healthy fat in coconut oil plays an essential role in controlling blood sugar and improving the secretion of insulin. It also promotes the effective utilization of blood glucose, thereby, preventing and treating diabetes.
Coconut oil helps the body absorb calcium and magnesium, two essential nutrients required for developing and maintaining strong bones. The antioxidant compounds in coconut oil have the potential to maintain bone structure and prevent bone loss due to hormonal changes. Thus, it is very useful for women who are prone to osteoporosis after middle age. A recent study suggests that consuming three tablespoons of virgin coconut oil daily can help prevent osteoporosis and five tablespoons daily can help reverse it.
11. Carrier Oil
Coconut oil is one of the most popular carrier oils used to dilute essential oils. Carrier oils are those oils, which easily penetrate or absorb into the skin, facilitating absorption of other oils and herbal extracts when mixed into it.
Pure coconut oil benefits are immense. They are not restricted to a few. Coconut oil helps the body in so many ways. There are rarely any side effects of coconut oil. Occasionally, a contact allergy may occur for certain individuals that are allergic to coconuts. Store coconut oil in a cool, dark place. Like other saturated fats, it is solid when at room temperature and liquefies when heated.
12. Remove Glitter from Skin
Dip your fingers in the coconut oil and gently rub over the glitter in circular motions to remove it from the skin, followed by removal of oil and remaining glitter with water-soaked cotton over the same area of skin.