Coconut oil…you mean the hair oil?
Most people associate coconut oil with something to apply on the hair. If you fall under this category, then the benefits of this miraculous liquid will astonish you.
Benefits of coconut oil as hair oil is only the tip of the iceberg. When you look deeper, there is a mountain of health benefits hidden just beneath the surface.
Yes, coconut oil may give you silky, smooth and nourished hair but, it does wonders for your body and health as well.
Coconut oil is a staple cooking oil in southern India. But these days many health-conscious people are switching to the so-called ‘healthy vegetable oil.’ This switching to vegetable oil is like trading gold for copper.
After going through the 7 benefits of coconut oil, you are the judge to decide whether you want to add coconut oil in your diet or not.
1. 65% of Fat in Coconut Oil is Medium Chain Fatty acids
Fatty acids are a chain of carbon atoms linked together by chemical bonds. Based on the number of carbon atoms, it can either be long-chain fatty acids or medium-chain fatty acids.
Long-Chain Fatty Acids (LCFA) – C14 – 22 – Fatty acids, containing chains of 14 carbon atoms or higher.
Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFA) – C 6-12 – Fatty acids, containing chains of 6 to 12 carbon atoms.
Most types of oils and fats contain long-chain fatty acids. It takes a long and complex process to digest and absorb them in the body. Coconut oil is one of the few oils composed mainly of medium-chain fatty acids. They do not have to go through this long process.
The MCFA goes straight into the liver. In the liver, they are rapidly metabolized and become an instant source of energy for the body.
2. Coconut oil contains 50% Lauric Acid
50% of the MCFA present in coconut oil is in the form of lauric acid. Lauric acid is a medium-chain fatty acid with 12 carbon atoms.
Do you know the other rich source of lauric acid?
No one will argue about the importance of mother’s milk for a baby. Breast milk helps protect the baby from infections. This protection comes from the lauric acid present in breast milk.
Lauric acid has antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, and antiviral properties. Pregnant women should add more coconut oil in their diets to enhance the quantity of lauric acid during lactation.
Amongst all foods, coconut oil is the richest source of lauric acid on the planet.
Our body converts this lauric acid into monolaurin. The compound monolaurin can destroy bacterial infections and viruses like influenza, herpes, measles, HIV, and hepatitis C.
Without an adequate quantity of lauric acid, our body will not be able to make enough monolaurin. This makes lauric acid conditionally essential fatty acid.
3. Coconut oil can curb hunger and provide satiety
The human body is a giant colony of individual cells. These cells need the energy to carry out their functions.
Remember, you don’t feel hungry when your stomach is empty; you feel hungry when the cells are not getting enough energy. MCFA can provide the energy needed for these cells.
The MCFA present in coconut oil goes directly into the liver. The liver readily breaks down these medium-chain fatty acids into its basic component – free fatty acids. These free fatty acids are then released in the blood. Then the muscles and other body cells can use it as a source of energy.
The liver can also convert these free fatty acids into ketone bodies which can fuel your brain and heart.
With the presence of these free fatty acids and ketone bodies, your body doesn’t feel any dearth of energy. When your cells get adequate energy they will not go hungry and you will get a feeling of fullness.
4. It can improve your immunity system
Catching a cold or frequently falling sick are symptoms of a weak immune system. Your body becomes an easy target for disease-causing bacterias and viruses when your immune system is not strong enough.
Coconut oil is a strong natural aid to improve a weak immune system. It contains two immunity-boosting substances – lauric acid and caprylic acid.
Both, lauric acid and caprylic acid have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. These acids destroy a host of harmful bacterias, fungi, and viruses by creating a hostile environment for them in the body.
5. It increases good cholesterol
When it comes to any kind of fat, one concern that’s always raised is about its effect on our cholesterol levels.
Consuming coconut oil won’t just maintain but improves your cholesterol levels. A study, involving 40 women, was conducted to see the effect of coconut oil versus soybean oil.
Coconut oil showed an increase in the good cholesterol HDL and lowered the LDL to HDL ratio. But, soybean oil decreased HDL levels.
6. Coconut oil improves dental health
Lauric acid present in coconut oil has excellent antimicrobial properties. This makes it an exceptional tool to improve your dental health.
In a study of 30 different fatty acids, lauric acid proved to be the best to fight against the harmful bacterias. Lauric acid can destroy the malicious bacterias in the mouth that causes bad breath, tooth decay and gum diseases.
Plaque buildup and gum disease – The harmful bacterias cause plaque buildup which leads to the gum disease known as gingivitis – bleeding gum. Coconut oil protects your gums against gingivitis by impairing the plaque buildup on your teeth.
Tooth decay – Lauric acid is effective at killing the oral bacteria Streptococcus mutans – a leading cause for tooth decay.
7. Coconut oil is good for your skin
The goodness of coconut oil for skin is undisputed. Cosmetic industries have a range of beauty products boasting about their coconut oil content.
Coconut oil is an excellent moisturizer for your skin. It can also keep your skin hydrated. It can act as a lip balm for cracked or dry lips.
As coconut oil has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, it acts as a skin cleanser. It can also act as a sunscreen because coconut oil can block 20% of the harmful UV rays coming from the sun.
Coconut oil can treat eczema – red and itchy skin. A study showed that applying coconut oil twice a day reduces staph bacteria on the skin which causes redness, abrasion, and dryness.
I am sure after going through these benefits of coconut oil, your opinion about it will not be limited to hair oil.
One thing to remember –
When you are buying coconut oil always look for organic, virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil. You will find a wide selection of this on Amazon.