11 Surprising Benefits & Uses of Coconut Oil

Wondering what coconut oil is good for? Well, this wonder oil benefits in skin care, hair care, weight loss, treating yeast infections, improving digestion and increasing immunity against a host of infections and diseases. The oil is used not just in tropical countries, where coconut plantations are abundant, but also in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia. People are discovering the wonders this oil can create, and it is again gaining popularity throughout the world.

Let us look at some of the known benefits of this oil.

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has several health benefits, the most important ones being its usefulness in hair care and skin care.

Hair Care

Do you know the reason for long and shining hair of women in tropical coastal regions? Yes, it is coconut oil. Women in tropical coastal regions of the world use this oil for their hair almost daily. This thick butter-like oil helps in healthy growth of hair and makes your hair shiny. It is also highly effective in reducing protein loss, which if unchecked can lead to various unhealthy qualities in your hair. This is the reason why it is used as hair care oil, and in manufacturing various conditioners, and dandruff relief creams. Now you must be thinking how to use coconut oil for your hair? Just apply it topically to your hair or use a coconut oil hair mask.

Worried about damaged hair? Again coconut oil is the solution. It is an excellent conditioner and helps the re-growth process of damaged hair. It also provides the essential proteins required for nourishing and healing damaged hair. Research studies indicate that it provides better protection to hair from damage caused by hygral fatigue.

By regularly massaging your head with coconut oil, you can ensure that your scalp is dandruff free, even if your scalp is chronically dry. It also helps in keeping your hair and scalp free from lice and lice eggs (yes, some people do get lice in their hair).

coconut oil

Skin Care

Did you know that coconut oil works great for skin? Coconut oil is an excellent massage oil that acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skin, including dry skin. Unlike mineral oil, there is no chance of having any adverse side effects on the skin from the application of this oil. Therefore, it has been safely used for thousands of years for preventing dryness and flaking of skin. Yes, you read it right – thousands of years! Coconut oil usage may be termed as a recent fad, but it has been there for ages.

It also helps in treating various skin problems, including psoriasis, dermatitiseczema, and other skin infections. For this exact reason, coconut oil forms the base ingredient of various body care products like soaps, lotions, and creams that are used for skin care. What more? It also delays the appearance of wrinkles and sagging of skin, which normally accompany aging. The credit to this benefit goes to its well-known antioxidant properties.

Weight Loss

Coconut oil is useful for weight loss too. It contains short and medium-chain fatty acids that help in taking off excessive weight. Research suggests that it helps to reduce abdominal obesity in women. It is also easy to digest as compared to other edible oils and helps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and endocrine system. Further, it increases body’s metabolic rate by removing stress on the pancreas, thereby, burning more energy and helping obese and overweight people lose weight. Hence, people living in tropical coastal areas, who use coconut oil every day as their primary cooking oil, are normally not fat, obese or overweight. Several people focus on exercises to lose weight, from using indoor machines like leg press machines to outdoor exercises like running and playing sports. While this is a good approach to lose weight, including products like coconut oil enhances your weight loss efforts.

Improves Immunity

Coconut oil is also good for improving your immunity. It strengthens the immune system because 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 research has supported as an effective way to deal with viruses and bacteria that cause diseases like herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. Coconut oil helps in fighting harmful bacteria like listeria monocytogenes and Helicobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia.

coconutoilinfographicBoosts Digestion

Coconut oil helps to improve the digestive system, and thus, prevents various stomach and digestion-related problems including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The saturated fats present in it have antimicrobial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, and parasites that can cause indigestion. It also helps in the absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

Dental Care

Calcium is an important component of our teeth. Since coconut oil facilitates absorption of calcium by the body, it helps in developing strong teeth. It also stops tooth decay. Recent research suggests that it is also beneficial in reducing plaque formation and plaque-induced gingivitis.

Prevents Candida

Candida, also known as Systemic Candidiasis, is a tragic disease caused by an excessive and uncontrolled growth of yeast called Candida albicans in the stomach. Coconut provides relief from the inflammation caused by candida, both externally and internally. Its high moisture retaining capacity keeps the skin from cracking or peeling off. Capric acid, caprylic acid, caproic acid, myristic acid and lauric acid found in coconut oil help in eliminating Candida albicans.

Further, unlike other pharmaceutical treatments for candida, the effect of coconut oil is gradual and not drastic or sudden, which gives the patient an appropriate amount of time to get used to the withdrawal symptoms or Herxheimer reactions (the name given to the symptoms accompanying body’s rejection of toxins generated during elimination of these fungi). But in the treatment of this condition, people should systematically and gradually increase their dosages of coconut oil, and shouldn’t initially start with a large quantity.

Speeds Up Healing

When applied to infected areas, coconut oil forms a chemical layer that protects the infected body part from external dust, air, fungi, bacteria, and viruses. It is highly effective on bruises because it speeds up the healing process of damaged tissues.

Keeping Organs Healthy

The presence of medium chain triglycerides and fatty acids in coconut oil helps in preventing liver diseases. This is because those substances are easily converted into energy when they reach the liver, thus reducing the workload of the liver and also preventing accumulation of fat. It also helps in preventing kidney and gall bladder diseases and helps to dissolve kidney stones. Coconut oil is also believed to be useful in keeping pancreas healthy by treating pancreatitis.

Helps in AIDS & Cancer Treatment

It is believed that coconut oil plays an instrumental role in reducing the viral susceptibility of HIV and cancer patients. Preliminary research has shown an indication of this effect of coconut oil on reducing the viral load of HIV patients.

Boosts Heart Health 

This is a controversial topic. There is enough research to prove that coconut oil is not good for the heart due to the presence of saturated fats. While there is also research that shows that coconut oil is good for the heart. Lauric acid present in coconut oil helps in actively preventing various heart problems like high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. Coconut oil does not lead to increase in LDL levels, and it reduces the incidence of injury and damage to arteries and therefore helps in preventing atherosclerosis. A study suggests that intake of coconut oil may help in maintaining healthy lipid profiles in pre-menopausal women. So, finally, is coconut oil good or bad for the heart? Well, if you are using it for edible purposes, check your cholesterol levels regularly. If you find them increasing, it is better to stop the intake. In any case, do consult a professional medical practitioner before you start consuming coconut oil. Never play with your (and someone else’s) heart!

According to the Coconut Research Center, coconut oil kills the viruses that cause influenza, measles, hepatitis, herpes, SARS, and other serious health risks. It also kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and gonorrhea. Finally, coconut oil is also effective in the elimination of fungi and yeast that cause ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, and diaper rash.

Other Benefits

Coconut oil is strongly recommended for a number of other benefits that are explained below. Using this oil has been shown to mildly help the following:

Stress relief: Coconut oil is very soothing, and hence it helps in removing stress. Applying it to the head, followed by a gentle massage, helps eliminate mental fatigue. According to research virgin coconut oil gives relief from stress and has antioxidant properties.

Diabetes: Coconut oil helps in controlling blood sugar, and improves the secretion of insulin. It also promotes the 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 the development of bones. Thus, it is very useful for women who are prone to osteoporosis after middle age.

Boosts Energy: Coconut oil is often used by athletes, bodybuilders and by those who are dieting. The reason behind this being that it contains fewer 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. It helps boost energy and endurance, and generally, enhances the performance of athletes.

Coconut oil and Alzheimer’s disease: The research conducted by Dr. Newport states that the oil is useful in treating Alzheimer’s disease. Apart from this, there is no scientific evidence or traditional knowledge of coconut oil being used for treating Alzheimer’s. In fact, traditionally it wasn’t believed to boost the functioning of the brain in any form. The NIH has sponsored a study to check this claim.

Use as Carrier Oil

Carrier oils are those oils, which easily penetrate or absorb into the skin, facilitating seepage or absorption of other oils (such as essential oils) and herbal extracts when mixed into it. It is easily absorbed through the skin’s pores and thus is used as a carrier oil. Furthermore, being one of the most stable oils, it doesn’t go rancid, nor does it let the other oils, herbal extracts, or medicines spoil inside of it. It does not alter the properties of the oils and herbs mixed within it. It also protects the herbs and oils from microbial or fungal interactions. Coconut oil is expensive in several countries; however, in tropical countries, its cost is low enough to make it affordable as a carrier oil.

Composition of Coconut Oil

More than 90% of coconut oil consists of saturated fats (Don’t panic! It’s not as bad as it sounds, read until the end of this and your opinion may change), along with traces of a few unsaturated fatty acids, such as monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Virgin coconut oil is no different from this.

Saturated fatty acids: Most of them are medium chain triglycerides, which are supposed to assimilate well in the body’s systems.

-Lauric acid: It is the chief contributor, representing more than 40% of the total, followed by capric acid, caprylic acid, myristic acid and palmitic. The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin. Lauric acid is helpful in dealing with viruses and diseases.

-Capric acid: It reacts with certain enzymes secreted by other bacteria, which subsequently converts it into a powerful antimicrobial agent, monocaprin.

-Caprylic acid, caproic acid, and myristic acid: They are rich in antimicrobial and antifungal properties

Unsaturated fatty acids: Polyunsaturated fatty acids- linoleic acid, monounsaturated fatty acids- oleic acid

Poly-phenols: Coconut contains gallic acid, which is also known as phenolic acid. These polyphenols are responsible for the fragrance and the taste of coconut oil. Virgin Coconut Oil is rich in these polyphenols.

Derivatives of fatty acid: Betaines, ethanolamide, ethoxylates, fatty esters, fatty polysorbates, monoglycerides and polyol esters.

Derivatives of fatty alcohols: Fatty chlorides, fatty alcohol sulfate, and fatty alcohol ether sulfate

Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamin E, vitamin K, and minerals such as iron.

How to Use and Store Coconut Oil?

Unlike most other oils, coconut oil has a high melting point – about 24 to 25 degrees Celsius or 76-78 Fahrenheit. Therefore, it is solid at room temperature and melts only when the temperature rises considerably. It is often in this form, and obviously, don’t keep it in your refrigerator.

If you are using coconut oil for topical purposes, especially hair care, just melt the oil (if it is solid) by keeping the bottle in the sun or soaking it in warm water. You can also take some oil out and put it in a small bowl and heat the bowl over a flame (don’t use a microwave). Then, take the oil on your palm and apply it to your hair. If you want to use it for internal consumption, simply replace butter or vegetable oils with coconut oil in your recipes. Remember, you don’t need to completely switch to coconut oil because then you will lose other benefits of more traditional oils and dairy products.

In colder countries, coconut oil comes in good, broad containers. However, if you get it in a pack (tetra-pack or plastic pouch), after opening the pack, be sure to keep the oil in containers with a tight lid and broad mouth. This will help you scoop it out with a spoon if it solidifies. Keeping it sealed or lidded is necessary because there are other admirers of coconut oil too (ants, cockroaches, other insects and rodents just love it!).

I don’t like the taste of coconut oil. What should I do?: Try using it in a variety of different recipes. However, if you get nauseated after eating coconut oil, don’t force yourself to eat it. As can happen with any food item, your body may be allergic to coconut oil and it is best not to consume it in that case.

Hope this will be of some help to you. Got any suggestions? Your comments are welcome! If you find it beneficial share this information with your friends too.

What do you think? |
301 comments in this article's discussion
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Nkem Faith Okonkwo

Can a 8 months old baby use coconut oil?
plus am chocolate skin can I use coconut oil for glowing cuz I dont want to be fair/light

I don't really like the way coconut oil tastes, but I do use it on my skin. I've been using it for about a year, and it works so well for my face, and the places where I have eczema. When I first started using it, I bought an organic brand from the grocery store, but it was so greasy and literally just sat on top of my skin. Also, has anyone found a way to hide the coconut oil flavor in their food? Other than smoothies? I really want to start eating it, but I don't like the taste.

Very impressive article

Dear Aliasgar,

Thank you. Please read our other articles too.

Regards,
Team Organic Facts

Thanks for this informative blog on coconut oil. I tried coconut oil cooked Chicken Curry through cultatrad session when i was in trip to Sri Lanka. It was super delicious. I tried to cook couple days back using coconut oil which tasted better than my usual cooking lol..

Hi Sijan,

Glad to know that using coconut oil made your dish highly pleasant to the taste.

And don't forget to read our other interesting articles for more interesting facts.

Regards,

Team Organic Facts

Coconut oil has been used for decades within the beauty industry to improve hair, skin and nail health. The health benefits associated with this vitamin rich oil are however not limited to the external body, in fact you could argue that the internal benefits far outweigh the external.

Great read! Love the quick snippets of information.

The sections on stress relief and dental care are very insightful. And the comments below are some of the most...unique I've ever read. 🙂

Hi Heenay,

Thank you for your feedback. Don't forget to read our other interesting articles.

Regards,
Team Organic Facts

Totally this! I also use it in this way. I use a small amount and rub it into may hair after a shower, while it is still damp. It has a little bit of hold to it. I use a damp washcloth to evenly spread it through my hair and remove any excess.

Barbers have complimented me on the texture of my hair because of this.

Also I put some on my face and forearms when I get out of the shower. I use about a pea sized portion of it on each arm. I let it soak into my skin for a few minutes and then remove the excess with a wet/damp washcloth. As a result people mistake me for someone more than 10 years younger 🙂

Michelle Soares

Perfect!

can it help with toenail fungus?

It can help as long as you are using Virgin CO. I was using a CO that experienced too many sexual encounters to be effective.

Yes, I've been using it on my toenail and have seen the fungus under my toenail go away slowly. So yes it does work and my nail bed looks so much better

I use coconut oil every day every day I put about a table spoon in my yogurt, very good for the digestion and the immune system, I also brush my teeth's it help to remove the tartar and whiten them. I put some in my dogs foods for their good health and it make their coats shiny. I use it for my hair my skin remove my makeup etc... Just love all the benefits that coconut oil have to offer.

I was waiting to hear how coconut oil saved the marriage.

Of course, as well as bring an end to male pattern baldness, with lush tuffs of hair that is the color that it was in adolescence. ED is no longer an issue with the strong, youthful erections you can expect from coconut oil. And ugliness will decline, with subtlety and nuanced changes to appearance: not requiring a brown bag, and slight homeliness to unremarkable looks. slightly l

Natural Oils for Hair & Health

I love using coconut oil for detangling after takin down extensions. Helps reduce hair loss and protein loss when shampooing.

From my personal experience i can add that coconut oil has helped me a lot with chilblains.I have been getting horrible chilblains in my hands every winter, this year i tried coconut oil massage and i has worked immediately!

Trishala Chakurkar

this is a great content.

my son had extremely bad eczema so i tried the coconut oil. I noticed it didn't stay on for long so i use it with vaseline. It makes my baby's skin so soft!

Michael McGuinness

Very impressive article

Gabriel Amituana'i

Just use regularly. No need to manage how long it's in. I use coconut oil every day, and all day, in my hair. I don't use gel, hairspray, etc. It's great!

Online Quran Academy

nice Article about coconut, its good for hair fall and dandruff if it is used before going to bed

Great article !

Happy now to be me

I've been backwards and forwards to the Dr's for years with aches pains depression anxiety fatigue etc etc. I was told by the Dr "you need to de-stress your life" - very helpful I don't think. I began to research my symptoms and after many many weeks stumbled across the benefits of coconut oil and started to take 1 tablespoon daily and am now up to 3 tablespoons daily. Within days my symptoms started to improve bloating gas indigestion insomnia painful joints. I have been battling for years with weight problems and bulimia. The Dr's just keep dishing out antidepressants and sleeping tablets which made me worse. My research led me to believe that I have candida and the antibacterial and antifungal properties in coconut oil change the structure of the candida and prevent it from reforming. I'm feeling much healthier slimmer and my aches and pains are less severe needless to ssy I'm going to continental now with my 3 tablespoons for life.

Virgin Coconut Oil also works excellent in coffee. I always use 1 teaspoon of Coconut Sugar that you can pick up at any good health food store. I take just one teaspoon of the Coconut Sugar & than put in 2 teaspoons of Virgin Coconut Oil too. I always drink it black every time . You should be getting between 2-4 tablespoons a day depending on how much you weigh. 3 teaspoons is equal to 1 tablespoon. Hope this helps, drink up & enjoy!

I drink organic black coffee with coconut oil and organic sugar twice a day. Very good tip of the coconut sugar, I should try that too.

HI,
Thanks for the article on CO. Somewhere we forget many benefits of coconut oil and moving to other costly substitutes.Lot more to do with coconut oil 🙂

Not only is CO good for us, but its good for your pets too.

Really.. I would assume for the same principals as humans?

Sandra Hanlon

I've got the most dryest hair ever and was told to try using coconut oil to repair it!!....My question is when I put it in my hair how long should it be left in for?

In the article it states to put it on and leave it for 2-3 hrs, if not overnight, and wash it out

Whydo Yuouwanttoknow

When I have it in the house(expensive for me) I used to put on my hair saturday morning and let it sit for a few hours while I did chores, then shampooed it out. it really brought out the rich red colors in my hair and stimulated new growth too!

You've just taught me something new. Coconut oil
thanks

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