Coconut oil is popularly used as hair oil. In Kerala, where coconut is found in abundance, the oil is used for cooking too. Maybe that is what accounts for the glowing skin and the lustrous black tresses of the Malayali men and women.
Let’s understand quickly the ingredients of coconut oil that make it beneficial:
Saturated fatty acids: Made up of medium chain triglycerides, it is assimilated well in the body’s systems.
Lauric acid: Representing more than 40% of the total, lauric acid is converted into monolaurin and helps fight viruses and diseases.
Capric acid: When it reacts with certain enzymes secreted by other bacteria, it is converted into a powerful antimicrobial agent, monocaprin.
Caprylic acid, caproic acid and myristic acid: They are rich in antimicrobial and antifungal properties.
Vitamins and iinerals: It is a rich source of vitamins E and K, and minerals such as iron.
Thanks to the number of beneficial ingredients, coconut oil is advantageous in many ways.
Haircare: Coconut oil aids healthy growth of hair, making it shine and become lustrous. It prevents protein loss, and keeps the scalp free from dandruff. This is one of the reasons it is included in various conditioners and dandruff relief creams. It also protects hair from damage due to hygral fatigue. Regular application will also keep your hair free from lice and lice eggs.
Skincare: Coconut oil is a great skin moisturizer, delays the appearance of wrinkles and keeps it taut. Its antioxidant properties protect the skin against degenerative diseases. It can be used effectively to treat psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections. Body care products such as soaps, lotions and creams have coconut oil as an important ingredient.
Anti-infective: Coconut oil can also be applied over infected wounds as it forms a chemical layer, protecting it from dust, air, fungi, bacteria and viruses and speeds up the healing process of damaged tissues.
Not just skin and hair, coconut oil consumption also proves to have beneficial effects on the functioning of various organs of our body, and our general health.
Heart disease: Though coconut contains saturated fats in large amounts, it also has 50% lauric acid, which is good for high cholesterol and blood pressure. It prevents increase in LDL levels, and protects arteries from atherosclerosis. It can help women maintain a healthy lipid profile before the onset of menopause.
Weight loss: The medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil help in weight loss, especially abdominal obesity in women. It removes stress on the pancreas, improves the metabolic rate and hence helps in weight loss. As it is easy to digest, it improves the functioning of the thyroid and endocrine systems.
Digestion: Since it improves digestion, coconut oil prevents various stomach and digestion-related problems such as irritable bowel syndrome.
Immunity: According to a Coconut Research Center find, coconut oil has anti-viral properties protecting against influenza, measles, hepatitis, herpes, SARS, and other serious health risks. Bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia and gonorrhea are also killed by this oil. It has anti-fungal properties as well, preventing ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush and diaper rash.
Coconut oil also protects the stomach from inflammation caused by Candida, or Systemic Candidiasis, a result of excessive and uncontrolled growth of yeast called Candida Albicans in the stomach.
In addition, coconut oil also protects the liver, kidney and pancreas. It can control blood sugar, improve the use of blood glucose and improve the secretion of insulin.
Bones and teeth: Coconut oil improves the body’s ability to absorb minerals, especially calcium and magnesium, necessary for the development of bones. It also helps strengthen teeth and prevents decay; it reduces plaque formation as well as plaque-induced gingivitis.
HIV, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease: Being anti-viral, coconut oil reduces susceptibility to HIV and cancer-related viruses. Research also suggests it can help in treating Alzheimer’s disease.
The list goes on. Coconut oil, so popular in south, is also being recognized for its properties globally and its consumption is increasing.