As a health enthusiast, I love researching different superfoods. One of the most popular is coconut oil, which is widely recognized for its mid-chain fatty acids and versatile use. It is an ingredient that I use on a daily basis for cooking and as a part of my skincare routine.
In this article, I will be going through the properties, health benefits, and different applications of coconut oil. Let’s get to it!
The Properties of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is much different than olive oil and flaxseed oil, which are well-known for the omega-3 fatty acids.
After doing a bit of research, I found that coconut oil is mostly composed of saturated fats, which aren’t something that many health specialists will recommend.
There is one huge difference between the fat in coconut oil and beef.
The former comes in the form of mid-chain fatty acids that are heart-friendly and are directly converted into energy.
I was satisfied to find that eating coconut oil doesn’t increase the risk of hypertension and high levels of LDL.
One of the reasons why I enjoy coconut oil so much is its delicate taste.
To be completely honest, eating a spoonful of it makes me feel like I am on a tropical island enjoying a sunny day and a glass of pina colada.
The Coconut Oil Controversy
For many decades, coconut oil was disregarded by fitness freaks for the fact that it is rich in saturated fat.
Still, with more studies on the mid-chain fatty acids, the health industry is supporting a huge comeback for this tasty and versatile ingredient.
I found that coconut oil contains more micronutrients than any other part of this fruit.
Not only that, but it is much better for cooking than olive oil, as it can withstand high heat and maintains a butter-like consistency at room temperature.
Similarities with Butter
Considering my personal experience with coconut oil, I am so glad that both the health and the cooking industry are allowing it to shine.
Although healthier, it underwent the same controversy as butter, which is now proven to be a better choice than vegetable oils.
Now that I’ve covered the main properties of coconut oil, I want to discuss the effect that mid-chain triglycerides have on my body.
I found that I feel energized and more focused only 15 minutes after eating a spoon of this superfood. This isn’t surprising considering that the MCT is quickly converted into energy.
In addition to that, I read numerous studies suggesting that coconut oil increases good cholesterol (HDL), reducing the chance of a heart attack or hypertension.
The main difference between MCT and long-chain triglycerides is that the former doesn’t go straight into the liver and requires more conversion time.
Boosts Heart Health
After consulting with a health specialist, I was informed that the ketones provided by coconut oil initiate mental clarity and can prevent Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s in the long run.
One of the most discussed benefits is that coconut oil is an impressive agent for improving heart health.
Apart from my heart rate and blood pressure being lower since using coconut oil, researchers see low rates of heart disease in people living on native islands, such as Tokelau and Papua New Guinea.
Encourages Fat Loss
I’ve tried a variety of diet regimens in my lifetime, and most focus on lowering fat intake.
Naturally, I was surprised to find that MCT is effective in boosting my metabolism and burning visceral (abdominal) fat.
From dietary tests that I’ve performed, as well as looking into some studies, it seems that coconut oil improves fat burning by 10% (on average).
While you can expect improved weight loss after including coconut oil in your diet, it is necessary to limit your intake of this superfood.
At the end of the day, fat has 9 calories per gram, which means that you can easily enter a caloric surplus (especially because coconut oil tastes so good).
For the two years that I’ve eaten coconut oil on a daily basis, I have had the flu only once.
While MCT certainly isn’t the sole reason for this, the monolaurin formed by the lauric acid that coconut oil is rich in kills microbes, including fungi, bacteria, and other pathogens.
After trying different eating patterns and dietary regimens, I can say that the ketogenic diet is my personal favorite.
The main reason for that is that I don’t feel the same cravings that I do when on a high-carb, low-fat diet. It seems that the mid-chain triglycerides play an important role in terms of curbing hunger.
My favorite way to start the day is with a cup of coffee and a tablespoon of coconut oil. Although that is just around 150 kcal, I feel satisfied and energized for at least the next two hours.
Some even argue that ingesting coconut oil doesn’t break intermittent fasting due to the direct conversion into energy, but this isn’t supported by official studies.
Apart from benefiting the brain by supporting mental clarity and preventing Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, it also seems to treat epilepsy.
As I found out, health specialists are experimenting with the keto diet and coconut oil for treating seizures.
Protects Skin, Hair, and Teeth
As mentioned above, I don’t limit myself to only eating coconut oil. My personal favorite is to create a face and a hair mask by scrubbing in coconut oil and leaving it on for a couple of hours.
This makes my skin shinier and softer, and I also think that it improves hair growth.
In my opinion, coconut oil is an ideal moisturizer. It treats dry skin without the ill effects that are related to conventional cosmetic products.
I’ve read many studies suggesting that coconut oil reduces eczema and skin inflammation. In addition to that, it can be used as a mild sunscreen that blocks anywhere from 20-25% of UV rays.
The fact that coconut oil has such a delicate taste and microbial properties makes it just the perfect mouthwash, as it kills bacteria and puts an end to bad breath.
I’ve included it in my daily routine by washing, flossing my teeth, and then rinsing my mouth with a dissolved teaspoon of coconut oil.
Boost Your Bone Health
Apart from the fact that it is heart-friendly and improves brain function, coconut oil reduces oxidative stress.
This means that my immune system has a much easier time fighting off free radicals and removing waste material.
Numerous studies on animals suggest that daily use of coconut oil (10% of the diet) improves bone density and bone structure.
Not surprisingly, the people living on the islands native to coconuts have low rates of osteoporosis.
Heal Ridged Cuticles
To test this theory, I recommended to my friend who suffers from arthritis to start using coconut oil, and after six weeks, he is feeling much better.
I am prone to cuticles and hangnails, which is why I had to discover an effective home treatment.
Fortunately, massaging coconut oil on the targeted area seems to work just great for fixing this issue.
While a lot of people use lavender to protect themselves from mosquitos and other insects, I found that coconut oil works equally as well.
My recipe for a natural insect repellent is to combine a mix of essential oils with a few tablespoons of coconut oil and massage them into my skin.
Along with that, coconut oil seems to work as a stain remover. The best way to get rid of dirt and mud residue from your furniture is to combine coconut oil with baking soda
You end up with a paste that is simple to apply. Leave it for 15-30 minutes, then wipe it clean with a dry cloth.
Coconut oil can also act as a natural deodorant.
As mentioned above, it has microbial properties and thus kills bacteria that produce odor.
Once again, I recommend combining it with baking soda and applying a small amount to the areas that you are prone to sweat.
Fantastic for Cooking
Since I’ve discovered coconut oil, I stopped using both cheap vegetable oils and extra virgin olive oil/flaxseed oil.
The main reason for that is because coconut oil withstands much higher temperatures and is perfect for preparing scrambled eggs, risotto, fish, and meat dishes.
Not only that, but compared to olive oil, which has a somewhat bitter taste, coconut oil enhances the flavor of both sweet and savory dishes.
As an enthusiastic home cook, I seek to try all the different recipes in which coconut oil is both a flavor and health enhancer.
Doesn’t Go Rancid
Among the many advantages of coconut oil is the fact that it doesn’t break down when exposed to heat or light.
Thus, I don’t have to worry if it will go rancid after just a couple of months. In addition to that, it complements my morning coffee very well.
Innovative Coconut Oil Recipes
As mentioned above, coconut oil can be used for creating savory and sweet dishes.
My personal favorite is healthy mayonnaise that I make by combining coconut oil with some mustard, lemon juice, and salt/pepper, while avoiding vegetable oils or artificial sugar.
Another great recipe is sugar-free chocolate. I enjoy dark chocolate, and combining cocoa butter with coconut oil is one of the best ways to create a healthy and delicious snack.
Most importantly there is no need for sugar, as it is pretty tasty.
Last but not least is adding a tablespoon of coconut oil to my fruit and vegetable smoothies.
Apart from the healing and microbial properties, the tropical taste gives me an additional energy burst in the early morning.
Coconut oil is an impressive food that can be used for cooking, as a dietary supplement, and as a holistic cosmetic agent.
Remember, you can keep the doctor away with just a tablespoon of coconut oil a day!