Proven Health Benefits & Uses Of Coconut Oil
Wondering what coconut oil is good for? Well, health benefits of coconut oil include improving heart health by increasing the HDL cholesterol levels, promoting weight loss, relieving symptoms of yeast infections, skin care, hair care, improving digestion, and boosting immunity against a host of infections and diseases. The oil is used not just in tropical countries, where coconut plantations are abundant, but also in the U.S.,Canada, Europe, and Australia. People are discovering the wonders this oil can create, and it is again gaining popularity throughout the world.
Let us look at some of the known benefits of this oil.
Coconut oil has several health benefits, the most important ones being its usefulness in hair care and skin care.
Increases levels of HDL Cholesterol
According to Walter C. Willett, M.D., Harvard Medical School, coconut oil helps to increase the levels of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) that aid in improving heart health. However, Willett has advised using coconut oil sparingly as most of the research conducted on coconut oil and its effect on cholesterol levels is based on short-term studies.
Promotes Weight Loss by Burning Fat
Research led by Dr. Assuncao, M.L. et al. at Faculdade de Nutrição, Universidade Federal de Alagoas, suggests that coconut oil appears to be useful for weight loss especially for reducing abdominal obesity.
It is also easy to digest as compared to other edible oils and helps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and endocrine system. Further, according to a study conducted by Dr. Liau Kai Ming et al. at Universiti SainsMalaysia, coconut oil increases the body’s metabolic rate by removing stress on the pancreas, thereby, burning more energy and helping obese and overweight people lose weight.
Improves Heart Health
A review study led by Laurene Boateng et al. states that 50% of fats found in coconut oil are MCTs such as lauric acid. These acids are absorbed easily by the intestine and can be used by the body to produce energy. Further, the MCTs do not participate in the transport or biosynthesis of cholesterol.
In a research study conducted on 116 coronary artery disease patients, it was observed that a diet rich in extra virgin coconut oil led to increase in good cholesterol levels (HDL cholesterol) and decrease in bad cholesterol levels.
A study led by Dr. Alan Feranil et al., University of San Carlos suggests that intake of this oil may help in maintaining healthy lipid profiles in pre-menopausal women. So, finally, is it good or bad for the heart?
Well, if you are using it for edible purposes, check your cholesterol levels regularly. If you find them increasing, it is better to stop consuming the oil. In any case, do consult a professional medical practitioner before you start consuming coconut oil extensively. Never play with your (and someone else’s) heart!
Do you know the reason for the long and shining hair of women in tropical coastal regions? Yes, it is coconut oil.
Women in tropical coastal regions of the world use this oil for their hair almost daily. This thick butter-like oil helps in the healthy growth of your hair and gives a shine to those strands. Aarti S. Rele and R. B. Mohile in their study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science found that coconut oil is also highly effective in reducing protein loss, which if unchecked can lead to various unhealthy qualities in your hair. Due to low molecular weight, it is able to penetrate the hair shaft and prevent hair damage.
This is the reason why it is used as a hair care oil, and in the manufacturing of various conditioners and dandruff relief creams. The best variety for healthy hair is organic extra virgin coconut oil. Just apply it topically to your hair or use a coconut oil hair mask.
Worried about damaged hair? Again coconut oil is the solution. It is an excellent conditioner and helps the re-growth process of damaged hair. It also provides the essential proteins required for nourishing and healing damaged hair. Another research study conducted by Ruetsch SB et al., TRI/Princeton indicates that coconut oil provides better protection to hair from damage caused by hygral fatigue.
By regularly massaging your head with it, you can 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.