Coconut has many wonderful health benefits including burning fat and lowering cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, dental care, hair & skin care and bone strength. Lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid are all present in coconut. It is considered antifungal antimicrobial, antioxidant, antibacterial and soothing.
Hair Care and Skin Care: Coconut oil is one of the best natural nutrition for hair. It helps in healthy growth of hair and a glowing complexion. Regular massage of the head with coconut oil ensures that your scalp is free of dandruff, lice, and dryness. It is used extensively in the India for the re-growth of damaged hair.
Coconut oil is excellent massage oil for the skin as well. It acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skins. The benefit of coconut oil on the skin is comparable to that of mineral oil, without the harmful petrolates. Coconut oil therefore is a safe solution for preventing dryness and flaking of skin. It also delays wrinkles, and sagging of skin which normally become prominent with age. Coconut oil also helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other infectious skin disorders. Coconut is an excellent wound healer, especially effective on scars.
Heart Diseases: There is a misconception spread among many people that coconut oil is not good for the heart. This is because it contains a large quantity of saturated fats. However, coconut oil is beneficial for the heart. It contains about 50% lauric acid, which helps in preventing various heart problems including high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. The saturated fats present in coconut oil are not harmful as it happens in case of other vegetables oils. It does not lead to increase in LDL levels. It also reduces the incidence of injury in arteries and therefore helps in preventing arteriosclerosis. If you have urine retention from heat, then coconut water helps.
Weight Loss: Coconut oil contains short and medium-chain fatty acids that are easy to digest and it helps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and enzymes systems. It increases the body metabolism by removing stress on pancreas, including pancreatitis. Coconut oil contains lesser calories than other oils, its fat content is easily converted into energy and it does not lead to accumulation of fat in the heart and arteries. Coconut oil helps in boosting energy and endurance, and enhances the performance of athletes.
Digestion: Internal use of coconut oil occurs primarily as cooking oil. Coconut oil helps in improving the digestive system and thus prevents various stomach and digestion related problems including irritable bowel syndrome. The saturated fats present in coconut oil have anti-microbial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, parasites, yeast, etc., that cause indigestion. Coconut oil also helps in absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
Immunity: Coconut oil is also good for the immune system. It strengthens the immune system as it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which is claimed to help in dealing with viruses and bacteria causing diseases such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. It helps in fighting harmful bacteria such as listeria monocytogenes and heliobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia.
Infections: Coconut oil is very effective against a variety of infections due to its antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. According to the Coconut Research Center, coconut oil kills viruses that cause influenza, measles, hepatitis, herpes, SARS, etc. It also kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and gonorrhea, etc. Coconut oil is also effective on fungi and yeast that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athletes foot, thrush, diaper rash, etc.
Liver: The presence of medium chain triglycerides and fatty acids helps in preventing liver diseases as they substances are easily converted into energy when they reach the liver, thus reducing work load on the liver and also preventing accumulation of fat.
Kidney: Coconut oil helps in preventing kidney and gall bladder diseases. It also helps in dissolving kidney stones.
Diabetes: Coconut oil helps in controlling blood sugar, and improves the secretion of insulin. It also helps in effective utilization of blood glucose, thereby preventing and treating diabetes.
Bones: As mentioned earlier, coconut oil improves the ability of our body to absorb important minerals. These include calcium and magnesium which are necessary for development of bones. Thus coconut oil is very useful to women who are prone to osteoporosis after middle age.
Dental Care: Calcium is an important element present in teeth. Since coconut oil facilitates absorption of calcium, it helps build strong teeth and prevents tooth decay.