Some of the many health benefits of coconut oil include the following:
Bone Health Coconut oil improves the ability of the body to absorb important minerals like calcium and magnesium which are necessary for bone development. Coconut oil is very useful to men and women prone to osteoporosis.
Brain Health Unlike other saturated fats as in beef or cheese which contain long-chain fatty acids, coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), fatty acids of a medium length which are metabolized differently.
Because the acids in coconut oil go directly to the liver from the digestive tract, they are a source of quick energy by increasing blood levels of ketone bodies which can have therapeutic effects on brain disorders like Alzheimer’s or epilepsy. Studies show that the fatty acids in coconut oil can supply energy for the brain cells of Alzheimer’s patients and relieve symptoms.
Dental Health Coconut oil facilitates the absorption of nutrients. Not only amino acids and vitamins, but also of minerals that are needed to build strong teeth. Coconut oil can also help dental health by preventing periodontal disease and tooth decay.
Oil pulling is a method of dental maintenance that has been used for thousands of years. As an age-old folk remedy, cultures traditionally use sesame or sunflower oil for pulling but the use of coconut oil is rapidly becoming popular due to its anti-microbial effect (as well as anti-bacterial) in the mouth and its pleasant taste. Users claim that it whitens teeth, freshens the breath and even heals cavities.
Diabetes Because coconut oil does not need insulin to be absorbed by the cells as glucose does, it can easily utilized by diabetics as energy food and, thus, allows the pancreas to work less. Coconut oil can help control blood sugar levels and improve the secretion of insulin. It can help utilize blood glucose more effectively and, thereby prevent and help in the treatment of diabetes. Because of the nourishment it provides, some diabetics have been able to reduce or even eliminate their insulin medication.
Digestion When used in cooking and raw food preparation, coconut oil can help to improve digestion and prevent a variety of stomach and other digestion-related problems, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The anti-microbial properties present in coconut oil can help eliminate various microbes that cause indigestion such as bacteria, fungi, parasites and mold.
Healing When applied on skin infections, coconut oil forms a chemical layer which protects the infected body part from external dust, air, fungi, bacteria and virus. The curative properties of coconut oil are useful in healing as it speeds up damaged tissue repair.
Heart Disease There is a misconception among some people that coconut oil is not good for the heart because it contains saturated fats. However, because of the Lauric Acid content, coconut oil helps in preventing various heart problems including heart burn, high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. The saturated fats present in coconut oil are not harmful as it is in the case with vegetables oils. It does not lead to increase in LDL and HDL levels and it is effective in reducing the incidence of injury in arteries, which helps prevent the clogging of arteries known as atherosclerosis.
Immunity Coconut oil strengthens the immune system with its lipids of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid and their anti-fungal, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. One example of how they bolster the immune system is how the body converts lauric acid (the main lipid in coconut oil) into monolaurin, which can help heal viruses, bacteria and microbes such as mold/fungus (candida albicans) that can cause diseases like herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. It is believed by researchers that coconut oil plays an instrumental role in reducing the viral susceptibility in HIV and cancer patients.
Infections Because its anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties coconut oil is also very effective against a variety of infections. According to the Coconut Research Center, coconut oil kills viruses that cause diseases such as AIDS, influenza, measles, hepatitis C, herpes, SARS and other illnesses. It also kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and gonorrhea and other diseases. Coconut oil is also effective on fungi and yeast that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, diaper rash and other infections.
Liver The presence of coconut oil medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) can help in preventing liver disease in several ways: The anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties free the liver to deal with other issues than destroying microbes and reducing free radical formation, such as improving metabolism. The fatty acids in coconut oil also reduce the work load on the liver and are easily converted into energy when they reach the liver and also prevent the accumulation of fat.
Kidneys Coconut oil helps in preventing kidney and gall bladder diseases. It can also help in dissolving kidney stones.
Parasites Coconut oil is also useful in treating parasitic infections. According to the Coconut Research Center, it kills tapeworms, lice, giardia and other parasites.
Stress Relief Because it is very soothing, coconut oil can help remove stress. By applying coconut oil to the head, mental fatigue can be reduced.
Premature Aging Coconut oil helps in preventing premature aging and degenerative diseases due to its antioxidant properties.
Weight Control / Obesity Coconut oil is very useful in reducing weight. According to Naturopath Bruce Fife, the reason why millions of people struggle to lose weight is because they are not eating enough fat! Low fat diets do not work. People need to eat more fat in their diets but it must be the right kind of fat. Short and medium-chain fatty acids (as in coconut oil) help take off excessive weight.
Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil are smaller and will digest much more quickly than other fats and the body will use them as an immediate source of energy rather than pack them away inside our fat cells. Read more from Dr Fife and the Coconut Research Center.
These are just some of the benefits of integrating virgin, unrefined coconut oil into your diet and health regimen.
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