There has been a lot of talk and controversy over the benefits of coconut oil, but when you think about it, it should be up to the individual as to whether they find its use beneficial or not. Coconut oil has been a big part of tropical regions’ and the Philippine’s dietary menu for thousands of years and was a prominent source in the United States until recent years.
Coconut oil is an edible oil that comes from the meat of matured coconuts which are harvested from the coconut palm. Coconut oil can be used as a food and/or medicine. It has a long shelf life because it is heat stable and slow to oxidize because it is so high in saturated fats.
Coconut oil contains a high content of saturated fats and is why the United States Food and Drug Administration along with other health groups recommended limiting the use of coconut oil. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, coconut oil breaks down to the following fats: 92% saturated fats, 6% mono-unsaturated fats and 2% of poly-unsaturated fats, so its no wonder they believed that coconut oil would do more harm than good to individuals. But what they do not inform people of is the break down of the composition of coconut oil’s fats or their benefits.
The Composition Breakdown
The Saturated Fats, which are mostly comprising Medium Chain Triglycerides are Lauric Acid, Capric Acid, Caprylic Acid, Myristic Acid, and Palmitic. It should be noted that Lauric Acid accounts for 40% of the Saturated Fats.
Linoleic Acid is the Poly-Unsaturated Fatty Acid.
Oleic Acid accounts for the Mono-Unsaturated Fatty Acid count.
Some other components found in coconut oil are Poly-phenols which give Coconut Oil and Virgin Coconut Oil its fragrance and taste. There are also Betaines, Ethanolamide, Ethoxylates, Fatty Plysorbates and Esters, Polyol Esters, and Monoglycerides. There are Fatty Alcohol derivatives such as Fatty Chlorides, Fatty Alcohol Sulphate and Ether Sulphate. You can expect there to be Vitamins E and K and minerals like Iron.
Coconut oil’s benefits can be attributed to the saturated fats and its properties also include such things as antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and it can be soothing.
The Uses of Coconut Oil
Hair Care – When it comes to hair care coconut oil is one of the best nutrients for hair. With a regular head message with the oil your scalp is safe guarded against dandruff, lice, and lice eggs. Coconut oil also provides the essential oils to help repair damaged hair and helps it regrow. Coconut oil can be found in dandruff shampoos, conditioners and hot oil treatments.
Skin Care – Compared to mineral oil, coconut oil is a very effective moisturizer for all types of skin. However, coconut oil does not have any adverse side effects. It also can help improve skin conditions like psoriasis and dermatitis, as well as, help delay wrinkling and sagging skin that comes with age. Its antioxidant properties help prevent degenerative diseases.
Weight Loss – Coconut oil can help take off excess weight. It is easy to digest and aids in the thyroid and enzyme systems functioning more efficiently. It can be very useful in reducing weight because of its medium-chain fatty acids. It also increases the metabolism, which helps burn out more energy and helping reduces weight.
Cooking – Coconut oil is a baker’s dream. It has a long shelf life and a melting point around 75 degrees. There are many recipes that can be found to include coconut oil so individuals can receive the health benefits this oil can bring. It can be found that coconut oil may be a solid which it normally is. It should not be refrigerated or used in the microwave.
The Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
The human body takes the Lauric Acid and converts it into Monolaurin. Monolaurin helps deal with bacteria causing diseases like herpes, influenza, and many others, as well as, dealing with viruses. Along with the hair and skin care benefits of coconut oil it has added health benefits as well. Some of these health benefits can include stress relief, relief from kidney problems, diabetes, as well as, dental care. Coconut oil can help improve bone strength too. Some other health benefits can include the following:
Heart Disease – The Lauric Acid found in coconut oil helps to prevent various heart problems including high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Coconut oil is not as harmful as other vegetable oils. It also aids in the reduction of artery injury which is associated with atherosclerosis.
Healing – Coconut oil helps improve the healing process and protects the tissue by forming a chemical layer. This helps keep out dust, air, fungi, and other viruses and bacteria. It is very effective on healing bruises as well.
Digestion – When coconut oil is used as a cooking oil, it helps improve the digestive system. It also aids the body in absorbing other nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It can help prevent bowel and stomach problems like indigestion and irritable bowel syndrome.
Immunity – Due to its large concentration of saturated fats, coconut oil strengthens the immune system. These acids have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties which can aid in boosting the body’s immunity.
The controversy will continue, and whether coconut oil is beneficial for any reason seems like it should be up to the individual. Studies have shown that places where coconut oil is still prominent in diets, the majority of the population is in generally good health unlike the Western Nations where it is seldom consumed any longer. Those diets higher in coconut oil consumption, according to the study, do not suffer from many of the modern diseases of the Western Nations and those who do suffer less. Most of the population in tropical areas and the Philippines isn’t fat, over weight or suffer from obesity. So you decide, should you go without using coconut oil or are there real benefits of coconut oil which demands its use.