Coconut oil, or copra oil, is an edible oil extracted from the kernel or meat of mature coconuts harvested from the coconut and it has been consumed in tropical places for thousands of years. Studies done on native diets high in coconut oil consumption show that these populations are generally in good health, and don’t suffer as much from many of the modern diseases of western nations where coconut oil is seldom consumed anymore.
In the past, all saturated fats were thought to be bad for health and cause heart disease but many studies have proven the opposite. Coconut oil is one of the richest sources of saturated fats, with almost 90% of the fatty acids being saturated. Coconut oil contains primarily medium chain triglycerides unlike most other saturated fats which are long chain fatty acids. These medium chain fatty acids are different because they are processed differently in your body by going straight to the liver from the digestive tract where they are used as a quick energy source or turned into so-called ketone bodies, which can have therapeutic effects on brain disorders like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s.
Coconut oil has more than 50% lauric acid, and has been found to prevent high cholesterol and high blood pressure. It is healthier than a polyunsaturated oil, like vegetable oil, is because it is not prone to oxidisation and when it oil oxidises and we consume it, inflammation can increase in our bodies. It has also been shown to reduce atherosclerosis which is plaque damage to an artery causing the artery to reduce its size. Studies in both humans and rats show that coconut oil improves important risk factors like total, LDL and HDL cholesterol, which may translate to a reduced risk of heart disease.
Coconut oil can be applied topically as well, those suffering from various skin diseases are also seeing tremendous health benefits by applying coconut oil directly on the skin and studies showing it to be effective as a skin moisturiser and protecting against hair damage. It can also be used as a mild form of sunscreen, as mouthwash and for fighting off bacterial infections and viruses, it contains antimicrobial fats which have anti-fungal and antiviral effects as well, and increases the positive action of our immune system.
Digestive issues can be lessened by the antibacterial properties that also enhance digestion and absorption of fat soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K).
There have been studies done with coconut oil and it is said to have many health benefits. Some of the most recent research has come from people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, with reports of people improving or even reversing the effects of Alzheimer’s by using coconut oil.
Over recent years there have been positive results from people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes in using coconut oil. Also some reports of coconut oil health benefits from those suffering from hypothyroidism, as coconut oil helps boost metabolism and raise body temperatures to promote thyroid health.
There are different varieties of coconut oil, these being:
- Pure which is unprocessed and usually used for cosmetic and medical
- Refined which is processed and usually used for cosmetic and medical uses
- Virgin comes from the primary pressing and is used in foods
- Organically raised and has a variety of uses
- Organic Virgin which is organic raised and from the first separation of the coconut
- Extra Virgin is the premium oil and uses wet-milling fermentation or centrifuge for extraction
So how will you try it?
Maybe incorporating it in your daily diet to promote health benefits.
In your daily personal and beauty routine, for your skin, hair, oral health and general body cleansing
Use its anti fungal, anti viral properties to help with minor infections and skin irritations
Or perhaps in baking as it is ideal for all sorts of cooking and baking, as it can withstand higher temperatures without being damaged like many other oils olive oil. Try replacing your usual fat in cookies, delicious.
Whatever you do it uses are endless and it’s worth trying.