Virgin coconut oil appears to be enjoying increasing popularity in the world market even as advocates attest to its health benefits. Some in sports or body building claim that taking coconut oil gives them increased energy and that makes them feel good. There are others who take coconut oil as a health supplement and claim they have lost weight or had a boost of energy after consumption. Coconut oil producers are also reporting increased demand from the United States and European markets.
Just what are the proven benefits or curative properties of virgin coconut oil that so many people have been talking about?!
The coconut has been known to be one of the greatest sources of saturated fat. Not all saturated fat is bad for you as studies have found. The fat in coconut oil is different and has many health giving properties. Most of the fats and oils we consume are long chain fatty acids which, when taken in excess does more harm than good.
Coconut oil is also rich in medium chain fatty acids, which can boost the body’s metabolism and promote weight loss.
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Other proven health benefits of virgin coconut oil, with its high medium chain fatty acids include:
- Boosting immunity and antioxidant properties: Coconut oil contains rich levels of lauric acid which has proven anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and anti-viral properties. Dr Bruce Fife, a certified nutritionist and naturopath in Colorado Springs, who is widely recognized as one of the leading authorities on the health benefits of coconut oil, has done extensive research on the nutritional aspects of coconut. He uses coconut oil to treat common infectious diseases, fungal infections, degenerative diseases, digestive and thyroid problems. Lauric acid can be found in breast milk and research studies have indicated that babies who are breast-fed for long periods of time develop higher levels of immunity.
- Treatment of eczema and other skin problems which has been used in traditional cultures.
- Useful in treating drug resistant epilepsy: Two clinical trials on children treated with medium chain fats showed between 16% to 30% of these children achieved complete control of their seizures with lower consumption or discontinuation of drugs.
- Anti-cancer benefits: Butyric acid also found in coconut oil is used to treat cancer while lauric acid and myristic acid are used to treat viral infections.
Oil Pulling Therapy
Oil Pulling is a method used to improve oral hygiene as it “pulls” out bacteria and other debris. Coconut Oil is commonly used for this procedure. Who knew Coconut Oil could be used as a “mouthwash?” However, do not mistake Coconut Oil as just a mouthwash as oil pulling has been proven to be more effective than brushing your teeth and typical mouthwashes. It not only prevents oral infections but also actively fights them as well; thereby giving you whiter teeth and healthier gums! Read more about Oil Pulling here.
- Start on an empty stomach, a drink of water beforehand is okay and actually encouraged
- Take 2-3 teaspoon or one tablesppon of liquid coconut oil into your mouth
- Suck, push, and pull the oil through the teeth and gums
- The solution will turn a milky white
- Swish the oil continually in the mouth for 15-20 minutes
- Discard the oil in the trash
- Rinse out the mouth and follow with a drink of water
- Follow this procedure at least once a day*Fife, B. (2008). Chapter 6 (Oil Pulling Basic Training) – page 110. In Oil pulling therapy: Detoxifying and healing the body through oral cleansing. Colorado Springs: Piccadilly Books.Expert’s advice
Exercise great caution in the use of medium chain fats for those with diabetes, cirrhosis, ketosis, and acidosis. Though adverse effects are rare, high dosage can result in diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, irritability and intestinal cramping. Hence, consume in moderation.
For adults, add one tablespoon of coconut oil to your hot beverage or cereal. For children, a smaller dosage can first be introduced, e.g. one or two teaspoons. Subsequent increase in dosage can be considered as the children get used to the taste or smell.
Other Uses of Coconut Oil
- Coconut Oil Latte
- Fried Coconut Oil Donuts
- Basic French Toast
- Coconut Oil Popcorn
- Coconut Cream Frosting
- Tips for using Coconut Oil for Frying
- Coconut Oil Biscuits
- Spiced Coconut Lentil Soup
Beauty and Grooming:
Coconut oil has provided such powerful benefits that it is endorsed by several nutrition specialists like Dr Axe. One important thing Dr Axe pointed out is that you should not purchase refined or processed coconut oil. Processing destroys the delicate nutrients of the oil and could be harmful instead! Always purchase coconut oil in its organic form to gain its health benefits.