The demand for extra-virgin coconut oil has skyrocketed across the globe in recent times. People are using this oil as a perfect moisturizer for their skin and the best oil treatment for long and shiny hair.
While this oil is well-known as a great beauty aid to restore skin and hair health, many people still are not aware that it is also considered a superfood and is good for other health issues.
Coconut oil principally contains healthy fats called medium-chain fatty acids, such as caprylic, lauric and capric acids.
The other fat in this oil is healthy saturated fat. In fact, coconut oil is one of the best sources of healthy saturated fat, with almost 90 percent of the fatty acids in it being saturated.
The naturally occurring saturated fat in coconut oil is highly beneficial for your health, and its benefits and uses go far beyond skin and hair.
Here are 10 unbelievable coconut oil home remedies.
1. Supports Oral Health
Maintaining good oral and dental hygiene can keep your teeth strong for years and help prevent bad breath, tooth decay, cavities, gingivitis and gum disease.
Oil pulling with coconut oil is highly effective for improving your oral health. Coconut oil attacks the harmful bacteria in your mouth, which in turn prevents tooth decay and fights gum disease.
A 2015 study published in the Nigerian Medical Journal reports that oil pulling using coconut oil could be an effective adjuvant procedure for decreasing plaque formation and plaque-induced gingivitis.
Follow these steps for oil pulling:
- Swish 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin coconut oil around in your mouth for 15 minutes.
- Spit it out. Do not gargle with it or swallow it.
- Brush your teeth as usual.
- Repeat daily, in the morning before eating anything.
Plus, you can massage a few drops of coconut oil on your gums daily.
2. Improves Thyroid Function
Believe it or not, coconut oil improves the functioning of your thyroid gland. It is especially good for people who have hypothyroidism, also known as an underactive thyroid.
The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil stimulate thyroid hormone production to keep the gland functioning normally.
It helps increase metabolism and promote weight loss, two common problems faced by people suffering from hypothyroidism. Coconut oil can also raise your basal body temperature.
Over time, the medium-chain fatty acids help rebuild cell membranes and increase enzyme production that will assist in promoting the conversion of T4 to T3 hormones.
- For thyroid problems, consume 2 or 3 tablespoons of virgin or extra-virgin coconut oil a day. You can use the oil in your cooking; add it to hot tea, coffee or milk; or drizzle some into your smoothies, salads or soups.
3. Aids Weight Loss
Though many people will not believe that any oil can support weight loss, it is true in the case of coconut oil.
The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil are shorter and more water-soluble than most saturated fats. This means the fatty acids are absorbed directly into the cells and immediately used to produce energy, instead of being stored in the body.
A 2002 study published in the Journal of Nutrition highlights the satiating effect of medium-chain triglycerides when compared with long-chain triglycerides. This means you’ll feel full faster.
Another study published in 2008 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that weight-loss diets that include consumption of medium-chain triacylglycerols oil lead to a greater rate of weight and fat mass loss.
Later, a 2009 study published in Lipids highlighted the positive effects of dietary coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting abdominal obesity.
- To support weight loss, replace your regular cooking oil with extra-virgin coconut oil. You can also eat 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin coconut oil daily by adding it to your milk, tea, hot chocolate or smoothie.
4. Combats Alzheimer’s Disease
Coconut oil is also beneficial for the brain and can help prevent or delay Alzheimer’s disease, a common form of dementia that causes decline in memory, behavior and mental capabilities.
The medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil increase blood levels of ketone bodies that work as brain fuel. This improves cognitive performance and brain power.
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease reports that coconut oil attenuates the effects of beta-amyloid peptides on cortical neurons in vitro. Beta-amyloid peptide is one of the contributing components to neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease.
Plus, the medium-chain triglycerides help restore the lining of the nerves.
- To boost cognitive functioning, consume 1 to 2 tablespoons of organic, cold-pressed, virgin coconut oil on a daily basis.
5. Treats Eczema
Eczema, a chronic skin condition that is also referred to as atopic dermatitis, can be treated successfully with coconut oil.
This skin condition is characterized by patches of skin that become inflamed, itchy, red, cracked and rough. Sometimes blisters also develop.
Coconut oil is a natural antibacterial agent that also has antioxidant properties. Plus, it helps restore skin health, heal damaged skin and prevent scarring.
A 2008 study published in Dermatitis reports that novel antibacterial and emollient effects of coconut oil are effective in treating adult atopic dermatitis.
Here are a few ways you can use coconut oil to treat eczema.
- Put some extra-virgin coconut oil in your palm and apply to the affected skin. Rub it gently over the skin for a few minutes. Do this 3 or 4 times a day, especially at night before going to bed.
- To treat eczema on your scalp, apply some warm coconut oil to your scalp and rub gently for 5 minutes. Leave it for a few hours or overnight before washing it off with a mild shampoo. Do this 2 or 3 times a week.
- Also, take 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin coconut oil orally once daily to help alleviate eczema symptoms.
6. Cures Piles (Hemorrhoids)
Piles, commonly known as hemorrhoids, is a painful and annoying condition that is characterized by enlargement and abnormal downward displacement of the lower part of the rectum.
Coconut oil is very effective in the treatment of piles. Its anti-inflammatory nature soothes the inflamed veins and promotes fast healing. Also, coconut oil works as a natural laxative to promote better bowel movements and prevent constipation, one of the main causes of piles.
- Consume 1 to 2 teaspoons of extra-virgin coconut oil daily to keep your bowel movements regular.
- Also, apply a little coconut oil on the hemorrhoid after each bowel movement.
7. Boosts Energy and Stamina
If you are feeling low in energy and stamina, start consuming coconut oil.
The healthy fats, especially medium-chain triglycerides, are metabolized differently. These fats go straight from the digestive tract to the liver, where they are used as a quick source of energy.
Not just that, this oil also produces a longer sustained energy and increases your metabolism. This is one reason why coconut oil is beneficial for people suffering from adrenal fatigue and hypothyroidism.
- To boost your energy level, eat 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin coconut oil daily. You can add it to your smoothies or your morning coffee.
8. Reduces Seizures
Even a short period of seizures is scary, but those who have epilepsy suffer from repeated seizures.
To reduce seizures, a ketogenic diet (very low carbohydrate, very high fat) is recommended. This type of diet alters the way energy is burned in the body, by using fat rather than carbohydrates as the main fuel. This ultimately causes an increase in ketones in the blood, which have therapeutic effects on brain cells.
One of the main components of a ketogenic diet is coconut oil, due to its medium-chain triglycerides.
A 2008 study published in The Lancet Neurology reports that a ketogenic diet is beneficial in children with treatment-intractable epilepsy.
- To help reduce seizures, consume 1 teaspoon of extra-virgin coconut oil 3 times a day. Gradually increase the amount to up to 2 tablespoons a day.
9. Improves Cholesterol Levels
The healthy saturated fats in coconut oil can also keep your cholesterol levels under control. It basically increases the “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in the body and helps convert the “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol into good cholesterol.
A 2004 study published in Clinical Biochemistry highlights the beneficial effects of virgin coconut oil in lowering lipid levels in serum and tissues, and LDL oxidation by physiological oxidants. This benefit is attributed to the biologically active polyphenol components present in the oil.
Another study published in 2008 by the European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism found that dietary administration of virgin coconut oil reduced the cholesterol and triglyceride levels and maintained the levels of blood coagulation factors.
By improving HDL cholesterol and lowering the effect of LDL cholesterol, this healthy oil plays a key role in reducing the risk of heart disease.
Also, coconut oil helps restore normal thyroid functioning, which when not working properly contributes to higher levels of bad cholesterol.
10. Kills Harmful Microorganisms
Whether you suffer from a viral, bacterial or yeast infection, coconut oil is the answer to all your problems.
The lauric acid in coconut oil makes it an effective antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agent. When lauric acid is digested, it forms a substance called monolaurin, which can destroy harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi that cause endless numbers of health problems.
- To fight fungi like candida or athlete’s foot, you can apply coconut oil directly on the affected area.
- When taken internally, coconut oil helps fight viruses and harmful bacteria that can be quite serious.
Guidelines for Internal Intake of Coconut Oil:
Follow these guidelines regarding how much coconut oil you should eat in a day. Also, always opt for extra-virgin or virgin varieties for best results.
- Adults – 3 tablespoons a day
- Elderly and teenagers – 2 tablespoons a day
- Children – 1 tablespoon a day
- Toddlers – 1½ teaspoons a day