Coconut oil has received some bad publicity over the past few decades. Healthy living proponents have accused coconut oil as being a key player in obesity, diabetes, and heart disease when, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The problem lies more with how the oil is processed, than with anything that lies within the oil itself.
Is Coconut Oil Full of Fat?
The simplistic answer to this is yes, however the true answer is much more complex. While coconut oil contains over 90% saturated fat, scientists and health specialists now understand that the saturation of fat is less of a health problem than the processing of the fat. The unhealthy aspect of any fats, including coconut oil, is when processing such as hydrogenation occurs, or when chemicals and preservatives are added.
Pure, organic coconut oil is actually nourishing to the human body and, used with moderation, can bring about some important health benefits. Read more about coconut oil nutrition facts here.
What are the Health Benefits of Organic Coconut Oil?
Some cultures have known for centuries to use coconut oil for hair care. It nourishes dry or damaged hair, and replenishes protein that gives hair a natural shine from within the follicles. It is an excellent conditioner, controls dandruff, and even stimulates regrowth of damaged hair follicles. It even works to repel lice.
Anyone who has read the label on a skin care product has probably noticed that coconut oil is a common ingredient. This is no accident. Coconut oil is an excellent moisturizer for all types of skin, including dry skin. In fact, the level of moisture replenishment that skin derives from coconut oil has been compared to mineral oil, without the side effects that frequently accompany the use of mineral oil on skin.
Coconut oil also helps to smooth wrinkles, reverse signs of aging, and treat skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis.
For several decades, coconut oil has been the target of some misinformation. Even the medical community has pointed to the saturated fat level in coconut oil as being an unhealthy indicator of its effect. As stated earlier, the saturation is not the problem – the problem lies with the manner in which the oil is processed.
Organic coconut oil is actually beneficial to the heart. It contains high levels of lauric acid, which has been shown to lower bad cholesterol levels, and raise good cholesterol levels in the body. It has been shown to help control high blood pressure, as well as improving the health of blood vessels, thus averting atherosclerosis.
Organic coconut oil can assist in weight loss. It is comprised of fatty acids in a natural combination that actually works to aid in shedding excess weight. The ease with which organic coconut oil is digested makes it a healthy choice for keeping vital organs, such as the liver and pancreas, in optimum working condition. Easing the digestive process also includes keeping the small and large bowel running smoothly. Organic coconut oil provides the correct balance of microbial support and can help ease or eliminate irritable bowel syndrome.
Immune System Health
A little known characteristic of organic coconut oil is the fact that it actually serves to support the body’s immune system and aid in its optimal function. This is due to the fact that coconut oil contains fatty acids that are known to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties; and, it accomplishes this without disturbing the delicate balance of flora within the intestinal tract.
When applied directly on an injury that has become infected, organic coconut oil immediately sets to work sealing off the injury from invasive parasites. It kills a wide spectrum of microorganisms that cannot survive the onslaught of the natural fatty acids contained within the oil. These microorganisms include fungus and yeast infections as well as those caused by other microscopic invaders.
Other Benefits of Coconut Oil
The benefits of this wonderful, naturally-occurring nutrient go even further to help in treating the following conditions:
- -Liver and gall bladder disease
- -Kidney disease (including helping to dissolve stones)
- -Stress overload
- -Bone disease, including osteoporosis
- -Tooth decay
Organic coconut oil can be implemented in numerous ways, including using as a cooking oil, and also as an addition to most baked goods including cakes, pies, cookies and bread.
Coconut oil can also be administered by the spoonful, for a greater concentration of its health benefits in a smaller amount. The recommended dosage is from 1-5 tablespoons after each meal and snack (approximately five times daily). The dosage can be reduced as needed, as sometimes it can cause loose bowels as is the case any time the amount of oil is increased in the diet. The recommendation is to just experiment and find the dosage that brings about the best results.
Coconut oil is also safe for children, although the dosage should be decreased to 1 teaspoon after each meal, up to age 14.