Coconut Oil is very trendy these days. It has been touted as a super food for its many health benefits, including fighting diseases such as arthritis, tooth decay and Alzheimer’s. Other health benefits being actively researched include stopping cancer growth, alleviating some symptoms of Lyme disease, improving thyroid function and seizure reduction.
It is an anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial agent. It has also been linked to a number of beauty benefits, such as moisturizing agent, natural shampoo, frizzy hair combatant, cuticle care and natural lip balm.
We will only be looking at some uses where Coconut Oil may improve your health.
A Personal Story
I have been using coconut oil in my morning coffee as a creamer for months. I had read about the many benefits to your metabolism and I wanted to try it. I did feel a little energized. I didn’t gain any weight from the extra fat in my diet, so things were working out.
An interesting thing happened last month, our family of 5 was hit with a flu virus. I was the only member of the family to fight off the virus after a few days. Everyone else was couch or bed bound for the better part of the week. I attribute part of my system’s strength to my recent daily regimen of coconut oil. So this article in part comes from a real life story of how coconut oil does have antiviral and antibacterial properties.
Coconut Oil History
Coconut Oil has been used for centuries. In the 1970s foods, saturated fats like coconut oil came under attack as being bad for you. Some believe there was a campaign funded by the corn and soy oil companies that campaigned against the benefits of this alternative oil.
The past decade has seen a resurgence of coconut oil after studies have shown coconut’s saturated fat is a good fat because it is made up of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) which are metabolized differently in our body. These MCT’s go right to the liver where they are processed as a quick source of energy.
Coconut Oil and Arthritis
Because of its anti-inflammatory benefits, Coconut Oil is a natural choice to combat arthritis pain. People have had success taking coconut oil internally and externally. If you are applying it directing to your skin warming it may help ease joint pain faster.
Some have theorized that arthritis is caused by an infection building at the joints. This infection is unable to be treated with antibiotics because the joints prevent the medicine from penetrating the joint. This is where coconut oils’ antibacterial properties are beneficial.
Coconut Oil and Your Teeth
You may have heard of the practice of “oil pulling” recently since it has been used by some health-minded celebrities. The purpose is to remove toxins and bacteria which can lead to a healthier mouth. This is an ancient technique that was used 3,000-5,000 years ago in India.
This practice involves swishing oil around in your mouth for 10-20 minutes and then spitting the oil out. Be sure to spit the oil in a trash can not the sink, since coconut oil becomes solid above 76 degrees and can lead to clogged pipes.
Benefits of oil pulling include removing plaque and bacteria, halting cavity formation, and strengthening teeth and gums. It should be noted that oil pulling is not a replacement for tooth brushing and flossing. Oil pulling can be also used as an alternative mouthwash.
Coconut Oil and Alzheimer’s
There are numerous studies that examine the benefits of coconut oil for Alzheimer’s patients. Many studies show short-term improvement for these patients.
The reason attributed for the success is tied to saturated fats. Ketones are produced when the body breaks down fats in the body. These ketones can play an important role in brain health and improving cognitive function, so a diet high in saturated fats can be beneficial.
Healthier Cooking with Coconut Oil
An easy way to get this super oil in your system is to use it when cooking or baking.
We have substituted it in our baking goods with great results. We use it to grease the pans also and this feels better than using cooking spray aerosol cans. I had stopped buying the cooking spray cans after I ran out one day and I substituted coconut oil and I haven’t looked back. This is another way to save some money while being kind to the environment.
When baking with coconut oil it is important to know a few things, so here are some pointers:
- The oil will be a solid unless it is above 76 degrees. This means you may need to melt it for some of your recipes.
- If you do melt it, make sure your other ingredients like milk and eggs are at room temperature or the oil will solidify when it mixes with the cold ingredients.
- Coconut oil should only be used when baking at 350 degrees or cooler.
Are you ready to try adding some coconut oil in your diet? We would encourage you to give it a try – it is a great healthy alternative to the chemicals in so many other products. And remember, healthy also means eco-friendly.
If you have already incorporated coconut oil in your diet we would love to hear your story. Please feel free to share in the comments below.