Coconut oil attracted a bad reputation years ago because it was sold as a refined and hydrogenated oil. This type of processed oil contains trans-fat and raises our ‘unhealthy’ cholesterol levels while lowering our ‘healthy’ cholesterol. Fortunately, times have changed and we now know that unprocessed raw, organic, extra virgin coconut oil not only helps with healthy cholesterol levels but has an array of other benefits too. Here are the top ten health benefits of coconut oil according to our naturopaths.
1. Immune support: Nearly 50% of the fat in coconut oil is a type of fat that’s rarely found in nature. It’s called lauric acid, which has many health promoting properties. Your body converts this into monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Because of this, there’s no better time than the present to start taking coconut oil now that winter is on the way.
2. Weight control: Believe it or not, coconut oil can be beneficial in weight loss programs. Coconut oil is high in Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT’s). MCT’s are transported straight to the liver and are metabolized quickly by the body into energy (unlike other fat) so they’re less likely to be stored as body fat. It actually helps to boost your metabolism, making it conducive to weight loss when used within a healthy diet and exercise plan.
3. Heart health: In the 1930’s it was found that South Pacific islanders whose diets were high in coconut had excellent cardiovascular health and heart disease was virtually non-existent. It wasn’t until they were introduced to other types of processed food and fats that heart disease symptoms developed. Unrefined coconut oil can be really beneficial to your heart health.
4. Healthy cooking: Coconut oil has a very high smoke point. This means that it can be heated to very high temperatures (up to 177 o Celsius) without getting converted to free radicals that promote disease. This means you can use it for frying and cooking, while retaining the health benefits rather than destroying them. Use coconut oil instead of butter or margarine on your toast in the morning. You can even put a dollop of it into a hot bowl of soup… It’s seriously delicious. Coconut oil can also be used in baking or for frying or even blended into smoothies for a creamy texture.
5. Alzheimer’s disease: There’s some really interesting research that’s being done on coconut oil and Alzheimer’s disease and how it can slow and even reverse some of the symptoms. Alzheimer’s is referred to as diabetes of the brain – where insulin prevents the brain cells from accepting glucose into the cells (primary fuel). Without it, the cells eventually die. But fortunately there is an alternative fuel. It’s called ketones. Ketones are a source of fuel that the brain easily accepts. They are metabolized in the liver after you eat MCT’s (Medium Chain Triglycerides), which are found in coconut oil. Check out this interesting clip if you’re after more information.their
6. Great skin: Dreading your winter skin? Not only can you take coconut oil internally, it’s also fine to put it ON your skin. This makes for a fabulous night cream or moisturizer (you only need a tiny bit) for your face and body. It can even be used as a natural eye makeup remover. It’s Paraben free and it’ll leave your skin feeling soft and smooth. It’s a win-win.
7. Healthy hair: Coconut oil makes for a brilliant hair repair treatment. Comb it through your hair and leave on overnight (or for a few hours) for a natural and nourishing treatment. Wash it out with shampoo and condition as normal. It leaves even the driest of locks feeling soft and silky. Plus, it’s got to be cheaper than a salon treatment, right?
8. Nappy cream: This one seems like a bit of a wild card. But, because of its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and the fact that it’s moisturizing yet gentle means it is a great alternative for an all-natural nappy cream.
9. Dental health: The ancient Ayurvedic practice of daily ‘oil pulling’ is thought to not only leave your teeth white and glossy but gives your gums a healthy pink colour. It will also kill any harmful bacteria that you might have in your mouth that may lead to disease. Simply take a spoonful of coconut oil and aim to swirl around in your mouth for up to 2 – 20 minutes. Spit out at the end and brush as usual.
10. Malabsorption: The unique properties of MCT’s (Medium Chain Triglycerides) makes coconut oil the ideal source of fat for those suffering from chronic illness where digestion and absorption is compromised. MCT’s only require a small amount of digestive enzymes and bile to breakdown and be absorbed unlike most other fats. Good Health Organic Extra Virgin Coconut oil is extracted from fresh organically grown coconuts. It is cold pressed and certified organic to preserve its nutritional goodness and flavour. It is not processed using added heat. Good Health Coconut oil has a mild and smooth taste and aroma, which enhances anything that you add it to.