Hello, my name is Kali. And I am a coco-aholic. Loud and proud, I’m totally in love. The water, the fruit, the oil, even the husks. So many uses and so many health benefits. But let’s talk about the ultimate multitasker: coconut oil.
For years nutritionists, dieticians and other health professionals in North America criticized coconut oil for having a high content of saturated fats despite its ancient roots in Ayurvedic and Indian traditional medicine. Not until recently has the opinion shifted, and the news of coconut oil’s benefits have spread like wildfire through the health conscious community.
Today, coconut oil is considered one of the healthiest of all oils. Here’s why.
1. It doesn’t raise your cholesterol: a legitimate concern, and one of the most common ones about coconut oil, is the worry that it will raise cholesterol due to the content of saturated fats. Coconut oil contains fats known as medium chain triglycerides, which may raise some patients total cholesterol but will improve everyone’s cholesterol ratio. Breaking it down: the cholesterol ratio is a measure of the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol versus the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. It has been shown that this ratio is a far better predictor of cardiovascular health than a measure of one’s total cholesterol. So, by raising your HDL (good) cholesterol and altering your cholesterol ratio, coconut oil will improve your cardiovascular health.
2. It’s healthy to cook with: unlike other fats (like olive oil, grapeseed oil, or flax oil) coconut oil does not easily go rancid or produce damage-causing free radicals when heated. Therefore coconut oil is safe to cook with and it will keep for up to 2 years if kept at room temp in a dark container (that is, if you don’t totally fall in love and use it up quicker).
3. It’s an amazing moisturizer: for skin, hair, and even nails, coconut oil provides deep moisture that is not overly greasy. For a quick and easy deep conditioning treatment, run some coconut oil through your hair, put on a shower cap and let it sit for about 30 minutes before washing out. After cleansing my face, I use coconut oil on my dry spots. And it works wonders under some cotton socks on dry cracked heels.
4. It can be used as sunscreen: coconut oil screens about 20% of UV rays, giving your skin some protection from the sun’s harsh rays. Generally, sunscreens we use contain chemicals such as oxybenzone which can disrupt the hormonal system and are not a good idea for children. While 20% might not seem that high, remember that there are lots of beneficial effects of sun exposure (like vitamin D production). Coconut oil basically prevents sunburn and skin damage while allowing for these beneficial effects. Win win!
Isn’t it amazing!? And these are only a few of the brilliant things about coconut oil. Some praise the medium chain triglycerides for aiding in weight loss as they are easily burned like a carbohydrate by your body instead of like a fat. Others use it for oil pulling, an ancient technique for removing toxins and heavy metals from the body (more on this in a future article). Plus it tastes incredible in baking, or mixed into oatmeal in the mornings.
See what I mean? Go on, give it a try. I bet you too will become a coconut fan.