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Coconut Oil and its Many Healthy Uses

Updated on December 19, 2011

Healthy Uses for Coconut Oil

Why not use a natural and healthy product that has multiple uses and benefits? Coconut oil is proving to be one product that can serve so many healthy purposes.

A Bit of History - Coconut (Cocos nucifera) has been used in traditional medicine by people around the world for thousands of years. It has long been known for its beauty enhancing benefits as well.

Why is coconut oil so healthy? - Now we have the information. The oil of the nut/fruit has health benefits owing to its rich fiber and nutritional content. Coconut oil is made up mostly of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), which are also known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) and which do not have a negative effect on cholesterol levels based on information from the Coconut Research Center. The oil can be eaten but also has many topical benefits.

What are the multiple uses?

1 - Food Preparation - Coconut oil used for cooking is a healthy alternative to other cooking oils because it is stable and has a high tolerance for heat. This prevents it from being denatured and unhealthy. High heat can cause trans fats but coconut oil maintains its healthy properties. I use it to pop popcorn (quite tasty). Coconut oil can be used for stir-frying and sauteing.

Coconut oil can also be used in its natural state in shakes, smoothies, dressings, sauces and as a butter alternative.

Note: As mentioned, many oils can turn to dangerous trans fat with high heat. A reminder not to use virgin olive oil for frying.

2 - Healing - Coconut oil has been used to help strengthen the immune system because of its antimicrobial lipids, capric and caprylic acid, and lauric acid - all which provide antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral benefits. Coconut oil is believed to kill viruses that cause the flu, measles, herpes and hepatitis, the bacteria that causes throat and urinary tract infections (UTIs), as well as pneumonia. Coconut oil is also beneficial in providing relief from kidney problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic fatigue, thyroid conditions, HIV and cancer.

3 - Skin - Coconut oil is an effective moisturizer and is beneficial to all skin types - as a massage oil and in preventing dryness. Coconut oil is antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal making it a remedy for skin problems such as eczema, acne, psoriasis, and diaper rash. While the oil is often used in skin care products such as lotions, creams, and soaps, be aware that this can be a processed version. Due to its antioxidant properties, coconut oil helps prevent degenerative diseases that cause premature aging - this makes it beneficial as a sunscreen.

Also use coconut oil to gently remove make-up, and as a lip balm.

4 - Hair - Coconut oil can be used as an hair conditioner. Massage the oil on to the scalp to help prevent dandruff, lice, and lice eggs.The oil provides essential proteins to help repair damaged hair. Coconut oil is also added to manufactured products such as hair conditioners, shampoos and soaps. (Again, be aware that this is likely to be a processed version)

5 - Weight Loss - The MCFAs found in coconut oil help take off excess weight. The easily digested oil helps maintain healthy functioning of the thyroid and enzyme systems. Coconut oil also increases metabolism by eliminating stress on the pancreas. The oil improves digestion because of its microbial properties and helps in the absorption of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Coconut oil contains less calories than other oils and has a fat content that is easily converted into energy - which will help boost endurance.

For more information about the benefits of the coconut, and other oils, see links below:

coconut and oil
coconut and oil

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    • TheListLady profile image
      Author

      TheListLady 6 years ago from New York City

      Thanks so much for all the comments - as well as the tips!

    • profile image

      Great for burns 6 years ago

      I always keep coconut oil handy in the kitchen for burns. Quickly rub some oil to the burn site and within an hour or so, you will be amaze that your burn didn't progress or looked like it had happened!

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 7 years ago from America

      Very good information. Always keep coconut oil handy.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      Super information and I love everything about coconut!

    • theherbivorehippi profile image

      theherbivorehippi 7 years ago from Holly, MI

      Wow, I never knew all this. I pop my popcorn in coconut oil and that's about it. Perhaps I will have to start using it a bit more!! Thanks for the great information!

    • CountryCityWoman profile image

      CountryCityWoman 7 years ago from From New York City to North Carolina

      Love coconut everything and so true about olive oil. As we have jumped on the bandwagon, olive oil is best used in its raw state or for a quick saute.

      Thanks a million and rated up!

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Love everything about coconut oil - and I am so glad you pointed out that we can safely fry with coconut oil - it can take the heat that other oils cannot - which turns them into trans fats. As we jump on the olive oil bandwagon we have to remember that it is not for high temps and frying. I use it to for popcorn.

      Thanks for a great hub and great links. Rated way up!

    • Crewman6 profile image

      Crewman6 7 years ago

      Excellent information; I had heard some of this before, but much of it is new to me. Especially about not frying with virgin olive oil. Thanks for the information!

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