Coconut oil has been a dietary and beauty staple for ages in tropical regions, especially Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. Its use and popularity is growing across the globe and for good reason. Coconut oil is an excellent source of nutrition and has many health benefits.
Because the oil contains more than 90 percent saturated fat, it was long believed to be unhealthy. But opinions are shifting as more is learned about the profound positive effects that coconut oil can have on health.
For example, it has antioxidant, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. It also helps in the absorption of other minerals.
In fact, coconut oil is one of the few foods that can be classified as a “superfood” that fosters health and beauty from the inside out.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of coconut oil.
1. Boosts Immune System
Coconut oil is made up of healthy fats – lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid –that contain antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral and antimicrobial properties, all of which help strengthen the body’s immune system.
A strong immune system means the body is more capable of fighting a variety of viruses and bacteria that cause diseases like herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, candida and even HIV.
By adding coconut oil to your diet plan, you’ll keep your immune system strong year round and especially during the winter months.
2. Lowers Cholesterol
Several studies suggest that dietary use of coconut oil can increase the level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good” cholesterol) and reduce the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad” cholesterol) in your blood.
This in turn reduces the risk of injury and damage to arteries and helps prevent atherosclerosis. This improvement in cardiovascular risk factors will help lower your blood pressure level and reduce your risk of heart disease over the long term.
Those who have a family history of heart disease can benefit from adding coconut oil to their diet on a daily basis to reduce their risk.
3. Controls Blood Sugar
Coconut oil also is known to help control blood sugar by improving the secretion of insulin. A recent study conducted at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research found that the medium-chain fatty acids present in coconut oil reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
These fats are absorbed into the cells easily and converted to energy quickly. This process improves insulin sensitivity. Coconut oil also promotes the effective utilization of blood glucose, which plays a key role in preventing as well as treating diabetes.
Coconut oil is one fat that diabetics can eat without fear and can benefit from opting for this oil over others when cooking.
4. Treats Candida
Coconut oil has antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal properties that help protect the body from bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Plus, the moisturizing and gentle nature of coconut oil makes it a great choice for treating different types of yeast infections. This oil is particularly helpful in preventing and treating the yeast infection known as candida.
Topical application of pure coconut oil on the affected skin provides relief from the inflammation caused by candida. Also, the high moisture-retaining capacity of the oil will keep the skin from cracking or peeling off. Those suffering from candida should also increase their intake of coconut oil to speed up the healing process.
5. Removes Stretch Marks
Coconut oil can effectively reduce the appearance of stretch marks due to its moisturizing and antioxidant properties. The healthy saturated fats in coconut oil will help strengthen the skin’s cell walls and its antioxidant properties help fight free radicals and nourish damaged skin.
This oil is absorbed deep into the skin very quickly when massaged into the affected area. Along with stretch marks, coconut oil also helps treat various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections.
To prevent or reduce stretch marks, you can use coconut oil both internally and externally.
6. Nourishes Hair
Coconut oil can effectively help maintain beautiful, healthy and shiny hair. It is considered one of the best natural nutrients for your hair. Being rich in medium-chain triglycerides, this oil easily penetrates deep into hair shafts, allowing essential nutrients required for hair growth to reach inside the shaft of each hair.
This in turn helps speed the rate of hair growth while also improving the condition of damaged hair. Plus, the unique chemical structure of coconut oil has the power to keep your hair and scalp free from dandruff and lice.
For nourishing and healing damaged hair, simply massage your scalp with warm coconut oil two or three times a week.