Mad About Coconut
We've all heard of the many benefits of coconut oil. It is rich in fatty acids and antioxidants making it full of anti-aging properties. Coconut oil is also full of antifungal and antibacterial properties making it an excellent agent for fighting skin allergies and yeast infections. If you've ever doubted the power of coconut oil, this will change your mind.
What is Coconut Oil?
Simply put, coconut oil is the extracted oil from the meaty part of a coconut. There are multiple methods of extraction, and in turn you can find many different types of coconut available to buy. Coconut oil is generally a solid substance with a melting point of 76 degrees F. It is shelf stable, which makes it a great product to have on hand.
If we go into the scientific details, coconut oil is a saturated fat classified as a medium-chain fatty acid. This means that the fatty acid chains are between 6 and 12 carbons long. This is what creates a difference between regular fats and oils and coconut oil. Almost all other oils consumed are long-chain fatty acids.
Why are medium-chain fatty acids more beneficial than long-chain fatty acids? Research shows that these fats can provide energy because they go straight to the liver to be used up while other fats are processed or stored within our bodies. This is important in being able to burn the oils we are consuming quickly, and in turn not allowing them to be stored in our waistline.
Another property of coconut oil that's worth mentioning is lauric acid. It has antimicrobial properties that can help reduce inflammation and increase immune function. Lauric acid can also help with skin conditions topically.
What are the Benefits of Using Coconut Oil Topically?
There is a whole list of amazing properties coconut oil has that help with skin and hair. It has been touted as one of the most natural ways to provide benefits to your body topically.
It has Antimicrobial Properties
A lot of skin health conditions are caused by bacteria or fungi. Coconut oil has been found to contain antimicrobial properties that can actually prevent the growth of these microorganisms. This property is made possible due to the content of lauric acid within coconut oil.
It Can Reduce Inflammation
Another benefit of coconut oil is that it can reduce inflammation by stabilizing free radicals within your body through antioxidants. This is important for your skin's health and helps keep your skin looking young.
Coconut Oil Can Add Hydration to Hair
Using a shampoo that has coconut oil in them is really beneficial to your hair. It can help strengthen your hair as well as nourish your scalp. Your shiny locks will thank you for the hydration. Coconut has also been proven to help reduce breakage in hair, keeping it healthier overall.
Coconut oil can be a great way to manage dandruff. It can help lower the levels of yeast on the skin that cause inflammation and ultimately, flaking. To create a coconut oil treatment for the scalp, try heating a few tablespoons up until it's liquified and then massage the oil onto your scalp. Let it sit for about 30 minutes and then rinse and wash with shampoo.
Another way to use coconut oil in the hair is to apply virgin coconut oil to your hair at night as a deep conditioning mask and letting it penetrate and soak through the night. The best way to apply is to warm it so it's liquid in form and then rub in hands to lather on the ends of your hair. Apply in sections so that every hair is coated with oil.
Coconut Oil Can Add Shine and Tame Hair Frizz
You heard that right. You can use coconut oil as hair care. Rub a small amount of coconut oil between your fingers and run through frizzy areas in your hair. You can also use a serum containing coconut oil which works great to tame frizz. If you want to add a little touch of shine to your hair, you can also add a tiny bit of coconut oil to the ends of your hair. Don't over-do it to avoid making your hair look greasy, but a small amount will give you some shine.
Coconut Oil Can Moisturize Your Skin
One of the best benefits of coconut oil is its ability to be used as skincare. It has been found to help with eczema and dry skin. Coconut oil can be used as a body moisturizer or a face moisturizer. It has intense, quick absorption so it hydrates skin quickly and effectively. Keeping your skin hydrated is so important as it reduces signs of aging and keeps a protective barrier to keep out bacteria.
Many even swear by the benefits of using coconut oil on the face, especially in your nighttime routine. A good way to use it this way is to apply and wash face with coconut oil to take advantage of the antifungal, antibacterial, and moisturizing properties and then to cleanse with your favorite gentle wash so that your pores won't clog with the intense moisture of coconut oil.
One area you may not have thought about moisturizing with coconut oil is the lips. Using a sugar scrub before to make lips extremely smooth, you can apply a bit of coconut oil for some shine and intense moisture. You can even make your own unique blend of lip balm made with coconut oil and carry it in a small container in your purse. Just don't let it melt in higher temperatures.
It May Help with Healing Wounds
Coconut oil has been found to speed up healing and increase levels of collagen in the skin. Along with this, the antimicrobial properties it contains can also aid in preventing infections, which is one of the most hindering risks in the healing process.
What are the benefits of eating coconut oil?
First off, we hear a lot of buzz about consuming coconut oil. It can be classified as a "superfood" with a whole list of benefits that it can provide to your body when consumed.
- Coconut Oil can Increase Fat Burn
While calories are very important in losing and gaining weight, so are the sources of those calories. Different types of foods impact our bodies in a variety of ways.
Because of the medium-chain fatty acids mentioned above, coconut oil can actually increase the number of calories you can burn compared to other oils with longer chain fats.
- Coconut Oil Can Reduce Hunger
Because of the way coconut oil is metabolized, it can have an appetite-reducing effect, overall helping you to eat less. If this is the case for a long period of time, this could actually help with weight loss.
- Coconut Oil Can Raise Your Good Cholesterol
Your good HDL cholesterol is increased by the natural saturated fats that coconut oil contains. It has also been found to help turn your LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) into a less harmful form.
- Coconut Oil Appears to Effectively Reduce Dangerous Belly Fat
Coconut oil, when replaced with other cooking oils, in small quantities could have a weight loss benefit. It's been found to help with abdominal weight loss in particular.
How much should you eat?
Now you know all of the amazing benefits that coconut oil can provide. So how much should you consume?
Coconut oil is still very high in calories, so it definitely should be consumed sparingly. Each tablespoon of coconut oil contains 130 calories.
It's been shown that replacing other oils you are using throughout the day with coconut oil can be beneficial. This amount should be around 2 tablespoons, depending on your caloric intake.
You may need to work up to 2 tablespoons a day. Gradually start with 1 and work up from there if you are experiencing any nausea or bathroom issues.
How should you eat coconut oil?
The most common way to use coconut oil is for cooking. Because it has a high amount of saturated fat, it makes it extremely stable for high temperatures. Another benefit is that it has a high smoke point of 350 degrees F.
Using a few tablespoons for cooking vegetables or eggs, coating meats before applying a rub, or drizzling on popcorn are some ideas on how to use coconut oil when cooking.
You can also substitute butter with coconut oil in a lot of recipes. The ratio is actually 1:1 so it makes for a really easy substitute. If you are using it in cold ingredients, be sure to bring them to room temperature before adding coconut oil. For smoothies, it is best to melt the oil before adding.
Another popular way to add coconut oil into your diet is to put it in your coffee or tea. A small amount of coconut oil can add richness.
Other Ways to Consume Coconut Oil
Another option in adding coconut oil to your diet is to purchase and consume it in capsule form. Some people find this more convenient, but in order to get 2 tablespoons as recommended, you may have to take a high amount of capsules.
Which Type of Coconut Oil is Best?
It's important to know what you are purchasing when you go to buy coconut oil. It is not all created equally.
Dry processing is when coconut meat is dried out and cut into smaller pieces, and from this point, it is pressed to extract the oil and bleached. This forms a refined coconut oil.
Wet processing is when the oil is extracted from the meat when it is raw (instead of dried). This process creates virgin coconut oil.
Overall, virgin coconut oil is a better choice for its health benefits. It has a higher antioxidant status and is better suited for skin health and application.