Coconut oil has been traditionally demeaned due to its rich source of saturated fats, but recently has become a growing trend among health and fitness moguls. And it’s no trend! The coconut oil fad has been rapidly growing throughout the country due to its proven health benefits not only to the body, but for hair and skin as well. In fact, modern research has proven that saturated fats are not as harmful as have been said to be in the past, can revitalize the skin, and boost the immune system, and these are just some of the benefits. There are many ways to use coconut oil, such as cooking with it or directly applying it to the hair or skin.
Here are the Top 10 Health Benefits of Coconut Oil:
- Burns fat – Although consumption of saturated fats have been associated with higher risks for heart disease, new data proves that the saturated fats in coconut oil can actually help the body burn fat. Coconut oil contains a different type of saturated fat called “Medium Chain Triglycerides” (MCTs) which is different form the typical long chain fatty acids associated with cheeses and steak. MCTs are directly sent to the liver giving the body a direct source of energy. These triglycerides are known to increase energy expenditure burning as much as 5% (about 120 kcals/day with 15-30 grams of MCTs) which leads to an increased weight loss long term.
- Blocks infections – Lauric Acid, a fatty acid that makes up about 50% of coconut oil converts to a monoglyceride called monolaurin which has been proven to kill and block harmful bacteria ,viruses and diseases which can help to increase immunity in the body. It has been associated with blocking one of the most dangerous types of bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus which is a bacteria associated with pneumonia and meningitis.
- Improves blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease – Contrary to popular belief that saturated fats increase LDL (low density lipoprotein) a.k.a. “bad” cholesterol, the high content of lauric acid present in coconut oil actually contributes to lowering LDL and increasing HDL (high density lipoprotein) a.k.a. “good” cholesterol. Lauric acid also helps to reduce blood pressure by keeping the arteries flexible prevent plaque build in the arteries which reduces the risk of heart disease.
- Bone health – Coconut has been studied and proven to reduce a process caused by oxidative stress in the bones which helps to prevent overall structural damages in the bone. This can reduce the risk of osteoporosis. It also improves the absorption of calcium and magnesium in the body which can contribute to dental health by slowing the effects of tooth decay and in return keeping the teeth strong and healthy.
- Conditions the hair – The lauric acid in coconut oil has a low molecular weight making it able to easily penetrate the hair shaft. This action helps to nourish the hair with MCTs, vitamins and minerals.
- Promotes hair growth – Coconut oil promotes hair growth when lauric acid binds to protein to protect roots of the hair strands from hair breakage. Studies done have shown that regular application of coconut oil causes it to be deeply absorbed in the hair shaft and roots acting as a deep conditioner.
- Prevents dandruff and lice – Coconut oil possess fatty acids that have strong antiviral and anti-fungal properties that help stave off dandruff build-up. These fatty acids also help to kill viruses and bacteria that may lurk around the scalp preventing lice to be able to develop in between hair strands.
- Moisturizes the skin – Throughout the years there have been many benefits of Vitamin E for the skin that have been discovered. With coconut oil having a rich source of Vitamin E, it has many of the traits that any supplement of Vitamin E may have. It promotes skin growth keeping the skin smooth and firm. Coconut oil is also effective in increasing hydration and water in the skin can help prevent dry and scaly skin.
- Anti-aging effects – Studies have shown that coconut oil has been successfully and clinically tested to help minimize wrinkles due to the promotion of collagen. Due to collagen being the main protein that connects tissue together in the skin, it has a large role in anti-aging properties.
- Heals minor wounds – When applied to minor cuts and wounds on the skin coconut oil can contribute to the healing process by healing wounds faster. It also stimulates collagen cross-linking between the fibers in the skin, which accelerates the healing process.
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