Coconut is a wonder fruit that continues to amaze us even today. All parts of the coconut plant are useful in one way or the other. When talking about coconuts, people are quick to remember that tender coconuts can be used to keep us cool during the hot summer. But few people are aware that coconut oil is a very useful cooking ingredient that offers a wide range of benefits that are too good to ignore. Wondering what these benefits are? Well, wonder no more! For we have made things very simple for you, by listing exactly what you need to know.
From boosting brain function to keeping hair and skin healthy, coconut oil does it all, like a superhero. Coconut oil is prepared from dried coconut fruit, which is either cold pressed or refined. Cold pressed coconut oil is popular among indigenous populations, and other traditional cultures. Cold pressed oil is usually rich in nutrients, as compared to refined coconut oil. This is because, during the process of refining, the heat used to refine the oil changes its chemical composition, stripping it of much of its nutritious value. Read on to learn about ten specific health benefits of using coconut oil for cooking:
Possesses healing properties
Coconut oil contains a huge amount of saturated fats made of medium chain triglycerides, that are easily metabolized, unlike the usual fatty acids from cheese. These fats directly enter the liver to be converted into ketones, which positively impact the brain. This explains why people who consume coconut oil early on have less incidence of Alzheimer’s disease.
Protects against brain degeneration
The fatty acid content of coconut oil is said to be a protective agent against brain degeneration, thereby reducing the chances of age-related brain damage. Ketones act as an additional fuel source for the nerve cells. In addition, research shows that coconut oil, when consumed by patients with Alzheimer’s disease, results in significant improvement after regular use over time.
Can reduce seizures
The breaking down of fats into ketone bodies helps in controlling seizures. Though this role of coconut oil is still under research, there are no findings that contradict this statement.
Regulates blood cholesterol levels
You may probably be familiar with good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. Our body requires good cholesterol for optimum functioning and for protection against cardiovascular diseases. Coconut oil increases good cholesterol while reducing the overall concentration of bad cholesterol in the body. This has a positive effect on our overall health.
A popular misconception is that coconut oil will lead to weight gain. This has led to coconut oil being neglected as an ingredient during cooking. However, this is not true. Coconut oil reduces the overall incidence of abdominal obesity. When you pop cheese or bite your favorite brownie, it all ends up finding solace in your tummy. But coconut oil is broken down faster, and thereby uses the fuel from the fat in the body, leading to belly fat being burnt. If you are struggling to get rid of fat, then you must certainly include coconut oil in your diet.
Promotes cardiovascular health
A lot of populations across the world use coconut oil as their primary cooking medium. One particular group of people in the state of Kerala, in the south of India, use coconut oil for almost everything. The incidence of cardiovascular diseases is significantly lower among them. They are healthier than the rest of the country. Though the exact mechanism is not known, the regulation of blood cholesterol levels seems to be an important factor behind this phenomenon.
Controls appetite and bolsters weight loss
An important attribute of coconut oil is that it causes satiety even when consumed in lesser quantities. Moreover, ketone bodies cause early satiation. This leads to reduced consumption, which bolsters weight loss in the long run.
Sounds like a myth, but it’s a fact that coconut oil burns calories more than other sources of fat. The reason is simply – being a medium chain triglyceride, coconut oil breaks down easily and is burnt early; as compared to other long chain fatty acids that take the time to break down and get deposited in the body. This increases the metabolic rate of the body, forcing the body to burn the extra fat. So, coconut oil is purely a source of energy and useful calories.
Is a natural anti-microbial
People who consume coconut oil are usually free from infections. This is owing to the constituent lauric acid and its breakdown product-monolaurin. Both these ingredients are detrimental to the growth of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. This has a lasting positive effect on the immunity of the body.
Benefits the hair and skin
Coconut oil increases the subcutaneous fat, giving your skin an aesthetically pleasing appearance, as well as moisturizing it. Coconut oil used topically, is said to strengthen hair follicles and protect hair from damage. An additional benefit of coconut oil is that it protects the skin from ultraviolet radiation. Coconut oil is also used topically over wounds to promote faster healing.
If you are not a regular consumer of coconut oil, then it is the time that you start including it regularly in your diet. Being all natural, coconut oil is devoid of any side effects or allergies.