Wednesday, September 8, 2010
I love coconut oil. I first discovered it on accident (as so happens with most of my true loves: Troy,)
I was looking for a remedy to my white tongue (I hadn't yet realized it was thrush) and magically googled upon something called oil pulling. I think it's fabulous by the way, but again, that's another post. Along with helping my thrush. I soon discovered that oil pulling with coconut oil was also good for helping dental problems. I had been to the dentist a few month prior and he wanted to have me come back for the beginning stages of a cavity near the gum on one of my upper teeth. I didn't make the appointment. Go ahead and judge, I know I'm horrible. But after oil pulling off and on every day for a while, my tooth no longer hurt. When I went back to the dentist 6 months later, nothing showed up on the x-ray and the dentist never mentioned anything about the tooth...because there was now nothing wrong with it! It didn't...DOESN'T...hurt anymore. Pretty amazing.
The oil pulling with coconut oil led me to find other great reasons to use coconut oil.
For instance, did you know that coconut oil is good for your hair? It is also great for skin care, stress relief, weight loss, improving the immune system, helping digestion and metabolism, maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, remedying kidney problems, high blood pressure, cancer...are you getting sick of the list yet? Well, needless to say, it is a miracle oil!
The benefits of coconut oil are attributed to its being a source of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and its properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, soothing, etc.
The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which is claimed to help in dealing with viruses and bacteria causing diseases such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV.
and its properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, soothing, etc.
Coconut oil is made up of more than ninety percent of saturated fats (If you read my previous post you know not to panic!), with traces of few unsaturated fatty acids, such as monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. It also is a source of Vitamin-E, Vitamin K and important minerals such as Iron.
One of the best natural nutrition for hair, Coconut oil helps in healthy growth and shiny hair. By regularly massaging your head with coconut oil you can be rid of dandruff, lice, and lice eggs, even if your scalp is dry. It is an excellent conditioner and helps in the re-growth of damaged hair. It also provides the essential proteins required for nourishing damaged hair. Coconut oil is normally applied topically for hair care.
Skin Care: Coconut oil is excellent massage oil for the skin as well. It acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skins including dry skin. The benefit of coconut oil on the skin is comparable to that of mineral oil. . It also delays wrinkles, and sagging of skin which normally become prominent with age. Coconut oil also helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections. But I have found that merely ingesting coconut oil will improve the complexion.
Premature Aging: Coconut oil helps in preventing premature aging and degenerative diseases due to its antioxidant properties.
Heart Diseases: There is a misconception spread among many people that coconut oil is not good for the heart (because it contains a large quantity of saturated fats). However, coconut oil is beneficial for the heart. It contains about 50% lauric acid, which helps in preventing various heart problems including high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. The saturated fats present in coconut oil are not harmful as it happens in case of other vegetables oils. It does not lead to increase in LDL levels. It also reduces the incidence of injury in arteries and therefore helps in preventing atherosclerosis.
Weight Loss: Coconut oil is very useful in reducing weight. It contains short and medium-chain fatty acids that help in taking off excessive weight. It is also easy to digest and it helps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and enzymes systems. Further, it increases the body metabolism by removing stress on pancreases. Studies have been done with people just taking 1 tsp a day of coconut oil and not doing anything different in their diets and losing 3-5 lbs. per year.
Digestion: Internal use of coconut oil occurs primarily as cooking oil. Coconut oil helps in improving the digestive system and thus prevents various stomach and digestion related problems including irritable bowel syndrome. The saturated fats present in coconut oil have anti microbial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, parasites, etc., that cause indigestion. Coconut oil also helps in absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
Immunity: Coconut oil is also good for the immune system. It strengthens the immune system as it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which is claimed to help in dealing with viruses and bacteria causing diseases such as herpes, influenza, and even HIV. It helps in fighting harmful bacteria such as listeria and harmful protozoa such as giardia.
Healing: When applied on infections, it forms a chemical layer which protects the infected body part from external dust, air, fungi, bacteria and virus. Coconut oil is most effective on bruises as it speeds up the healing process by repairing damaged tissues.
Infections: Coconut oil is very effective against a variety of infections due to its antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. According to the Coconut Research Center, coconut oil kills viruses that cause influenza, measles, hepatitis, herpes, etc. It also kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and gonorrhea, etc. Coconut oil is also effective on fungi and yeast that cause candida, ringworm, athlete's foot, thrush, diaper rash, etc.
Liver: Coconut oil is easily converted into energy when it reaches the liver, thus reducing work load on the liver and also preventing accumulation of fat.
Kidney: Coconut oil helps in preventing kidney and gall bladder diseases. It also helps in dissolving kidney stones.
Diabetes: Coconut oil helps in controlling blood sugar, and improves the secretion of insulin. It also helps in effective utilization of blood glucose, thereby preventing and treating diabetes.
Bones: As mentioned earlier, coconut oil improves the ability of our body to absorb important minerals. These include calcium and magnesium which are necessary for development of bones. Thus coconut oil is very useful to women who are prone to osteoporosis after middle age.
Dental Care: Calcium is an important element in healthy teeth. Since coconut oil facilitates absorption of calcium by the body, it helps in getting strong teeth. Coconut oil also stops tooth decay.
HIV and Cancer: It is believed that coconut oil plays an instrumental role in reducing viral susceptibility of HIV and cancer patients.
Finally, coconut oil is often preferred by athletes and body builders and by those who are dieting. The reason behind this being that coconut oil contains lesser calories than other oils, its fat content is easily converted into energy and it does not lead to accumulation of fat in the heart and arteries. Coconut oil helps in boosting energy and endurance, and enhances the performance of athletes.
Personally, I love to add coconut oil when I make homemade granola, muffins, banana bread, or stir fry. It would be great in just about anything! Especially if you don't care for the sometimes overpowering taste of olive oil. Coconut oil is subtle and slightly nutty and sweet.
I am dying to try this no-bake cookie with coconut oil and a few others I have seen on various blogs. This lady loves to cook with it. And here is a big list of recipes. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, but doesn't like high heat. When cooking with coconut oil it is optimal to cook at a lower heat for a longer amount of time. But if that won't work...c'est la vie.