Most of us probably know and heard the good things that come from anything is natural and organic, and virgin coconut oil is no different. Despite the reputation of anything that has oil in it, it is the contrary for virgin coconut oil. In fact, there are plenty of health benefits that brings us when we include virgin coconut oil in our daily life.
It’s no wonder that in early centuries natural or organic products have been widely practiced in traditional medicine because of the health benefits that are associated with them.
How Is Virgin Coconut Oil Made and Why Is It Well Known?
Coconut oil wasn’t originally known to be healthy. This is because of its reputation for having high levels of saturated fat content. It was understood then that high amounts of saturated oil could increase blood cholesterol and cause many heart diseases. However, it was soon discovered in studies that lauric acid makes up a large component of fatty acids in coconut oil. Lauric acid is reported to be one of the short and medium chain fatty acids. It was also noted that monolaurin is produced by lauric acid. Monolaurin is known as the monoglyceride that is anti-bacterial, antiviral and antiprotozoal that is used by humans or animals to destroy viruses that are lipid covered like herpes, HIV, influenza, and other bacteria that are pathogenic.
Virgin coconut oil is made up of the oil that is extracted from coconuts. Unlike regular coconut oil, virgin coconut oil is extracted without the use of heat. Although coconut oil have been widely known to have its benefits, virgin coconut oil is becoming increasingly popular as well. This is because virgin coconut oil is significantly richer and higher in vitamin, antioxidant and mineral content. It also tastes and smell better, too and is loaded with protein.
It was observed that people living in places with tropical climates have a high diet in coconut oil. This makes them relatively healthier, have lesser risks of heart and cancer diseases. These countries include Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Burma, India and the Philippines are major producers of virgin coconut oil.
Another feature that makes virgin coconut oil stand out is its long shelf life and that it does not spoil easily. Unlike regular oil that’s refined from the process of heating, filtration, and bleaching, virgin coconut oil remains to have a pleasant smell and taste as it is extracted from fresh coconuts. In most cases, the process of obtaining comes directly from cold compression of fresh and dried coconut meat. There are properties in virgin coconut oil that is beneficial in more ways than one.
Western countries are now adopting the use of virgin coconut oil and incorporating it into their diet and products because of the many benefits one can gain from this kind of oil.
What are the contents of virgin coconut oil?
Virgin coconut oil contains a large number of saturated fats with little traces of unsaturated fats. However, this is not a cause to worry because the contents of virgin coconut oil are healthier than their regular counterparts.
Saturated fatty acids – As these are short or medium chain triglycerides, it is easier to be absorbed by the body.
Lauric acid – It is the main contributor of acids fatty acids that contains antibacterial properties and helps in fighting viruses and fungi.
Capric acid – It responds to certain enzymes produced by other bacteria and turns it into an antimicrobial agent.
Caprylic acid, myristic acid, and caproic acid – These are fatty acids that are high in antimicrobial properties.
Minerals and vitamins – Unlike other oils, virgin coconut oil contains essential vitamins like Vitamin E and K and minerals like iron.
What Can We Gain From Virgin Coconut Oil?
While there are a lot of benefits from virgin coconut oil, it has been known to have great use for great hair and skin. Listed below are health benefits that we can gain from using virgin coconut oil.
- Our hair and scalp gets great care
As mentioned, using virgin coconut oil has been known to have great effects on the hair. For people who are struggling with dry and brittle hair as well as dandruff, this is particularly true. Virgin coconut oil can moisturize the scalp and eliminate dandruff from the source. Its natural ingredients also prevent loss of protein from hair which would result in shiny and healthy hair. This is why many women from tropical regions have long and shiny hair as they are using virgin coconut oil daily.
- Our skin becomes glowing and healthy
Virgin coconut oil is also known to work great on the surface. It acts as an effective moisturizer for all kinds of skin, particularly dry ones. Moreover, people who are suffering from skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis can use virgin coconut oil to reduce itching and dryness effectively. Even most lotion and moisturizing products in the market use virgin coconut oil as the base ingredient. Virgin coconut oil can also slow down the appearance of aging on the skin like wrinkles and sagging. The reason for this benefit is because virgin coconut oil has antioxidant properties.
- It works for weight loss and controls cravings
The idea might seem counterintuitive that oil can be used to lose weight. However, virgin coconut oil is great for those wanting to shed pounds. The reason is that of its short and medium chained fatty acids in the coconut is said to help burn fat faster. This is because MCT’s go directly to from the digestive tract to the liver and use them as a rapid energy source. Moreover, virgin coconut oil also reduces stress on the pancreas and effectively increases the rate of metabolism; thus, making losing weight faster and easier. It’s no wonder that people mostly residing in tropical and coastal areas where their diet is high in coconut oil are not obese and usually lean.
- It keeps our teeth healthy
Surprisingly, virgin coconut oil is a natural way to maintain good dental health. The reason for this is because of its antioxidant properties. Also, virgin coconut oil helps in the absorption of calcium by the body, which effectively develops stronger teeth. Studies also show that using virgin coconut oil can help reduce bad breath as well as plaque or gingivitis.
- It keeps the bacteria and virus away and improves our immune system
Virgin coconut oil contains high amounts of antioxidant and antibacterial properties like lauric, capric, and caprylic acid. This helps in fighting bacteria and makes it hard for fungi and various viruses to survive. Our bodies change lauric acid into monolaurin which helps in dealing with certain viruses which causes diseases like influenza, herpes and even HIV.
- It helps in improving digestion
Virgin coconut oil is great for helping boosts healthy digestion because of the saturated present in it. People constantly suffering from stomach-related problems can use virgin coconut oil because its antimicrobial properties help in dealing with certain viruses, bacteria, and parasites that may dwell in our bodies from the food we consume. Moreover, virgin coconut oil also helps in absorbing essential nutrients like minerals, vitamins, and amino acids.
- It helps in maintaining brain health and improve memory
A study was made of elderly patients using virgin coconut oil to find that MCT’s or Medium Chain Triglycerides has helped their memory improve. The reason is that coconut oil is easily absorbed and becomes accessed to the brain without the help of insulin. Moreover, when a person consumes virgin coconut oil, the MCT’s present in it goes directly to the digestive tract and into the liver and converts it into ketones and causes ketosis. Ketosis is the state where the body enters after consuming little carbohydrates and huge amounts of fat. This is usually a great tool for people wanting to lose weight.
- It helps in boosting heart health and prevents heart-related diseases
Although a lot of evidence points to oils being a huge cause of heart-related ailments, this is not the case for virgin coconut oil. In fact, virgin coconut oil is good for the heart. This is because of the high amounts of lauric acid which help in preventing heart problems like high blood pressure and increased cholesterol levels.
- It helps in preventing candida
Candida is known as a severe disease caused by an uncontrollable growth of yeas in the stomach called Candida albicans. Taking virgin coconut oil helps in reducing the pain from the infections which is caused by candida. Caprylic acid in virgin coconut oil helps in killing off candida by targeting the harmful bacteria. The high moisture in coconut oil also helps prevents peeling and cracking of the skin.
- It helps speed up healing wounds and infections
When coconut oil is applied on infected areas, it creates a chemical layer which helps keep away fungi, dust, bacteria, and viruses from getting on it. It is also known to be effective in healing bruises because it accelerates the process of healing damaged tissues.
How Do We Use Virgin Coconut Oil?
There are a lot of ways to use coconut oil and maximize the benefits that we get from it. Using coconut oil regularly can help us in improving our health especially the heart, brain, and weight. The benefits that we gain from coconut oil highly depends on the number of ways we want to use it:
- Use as a weight loss agent
There’s a lot of benefit in taking coconut oil first thing in the morning. It helps in burning more calories and suppresses appetite during the day. If this is done regularly, there’s a greater chance of losing weight. Coconut oil is a great addition to any drinks as well. From coffee to juices or smoothie, it helps kill cravings and gives an energy boost. You can even just take coconut oil as it is if you like the taste.
- Use in skin, hair and nail care
For people struggling with dandruff or dry scalp, coconut oil is the perfect remedy to eliminate flakes and moisture scalp, giving your hair a lustrous and healthy shine. Coconut oil is also great for the skin and can be used as a moisturizer or lotion. It also helps in rough knees, elbows, and hands. Putting coconut oil on your cuticles can also help your nails grow faster.
- Use as a stress reliever in massage oils
Coconut oil has long been used by massage therapists to help loosen tight muscles and help relieve stress. Just have your partner heat up some coconut oil and gently rub your shoulders, back and neck. Aside from relieving stress, coconut oil on the skin will help moisturize it too!
- Use as cooking means in food
As coconut oil is a healthier option and that it is Paleo-friendly, it can be used as cooking oil as it does not spoil easily or oxidize, unlike regular oil. Coconut oil is also an ideal substitute for butter or margarine or other unhealthy processed oils.
How Much Coconut Oil is Ideal for Consumption?
Ideally, coconut oil should be consumed with at least 3 to 4 tablespoons a day. That gives enough lauric acid to help improve the immune system.
However, since coconut oil is still considered a fat, it is not advisable to consume more than the suggested dosage. One tablespoon contains 120 calories so the suggested dosage should be enough to help you get the benefits without gaining the extra fat in the body.
In summary, using virgin or organic coconut oil is better than the regular counterparts for a lot of reasons. This is because of the fresh coconuts used to extract them without the application of heat and exposure to chemicals. When you add coconut oil to your diet, it can help significantly in your health. It won’t matter if you use it on your skin, hair, or teeth and even use it on your food, coconut oil can help greatly. As it is, virgin coconut oil is known to be a superfood in many aspects of the word. It won’t hurt to give it a try.
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