by Meghan Telpner
See original article on www.meghantelpnerblog.com
Meghan Telpner is a Toronto-based nutritionist and holistic lifestyle consultant. Her Making Love In The Kitchen video series will bring you tips on how to prepare healthful, nutritious goodness from whole foods.
I love coconut. I love coconut water. I love coconut milk. I love coconut meat. Perhaps most of all, I love coconut oil. When I was down in the Caribbean for my little holiday, one of the things I loved most is getting fresh coconut right off the beautiful palms!
Coconut oil got a bad wrap back in the 80’s with margarine marketing boards bad mouthing the tropical fats. Is it merely a coincidence that since tropical oils have become commonly regarded as dietary nightmares and heart attack inducers, essentially oils to avoid at all costs, obesity rates and cardiovascular disease continue to rise?
Cold pressed, extra virgin coconut oil is a miracle food. It is incredibly nourishing, healing, protective and delicious. When my friend Vanessa discovered its use as an underarm deodorant, I was again reminded of the dozens of ways I use coconut oil on a daily basis- in hot water as a tea, for cooking at high temperatures, in smoothies, as a moisturizer, in my hair, to balance my blood sugar when I feel an afternoon crash coming on. Coconut oil is amazing.
The health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, maintaining cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer, dental care, and bone strength. These benefits of coconut oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and its properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, soothing, etc.
Coconut oil contains less 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 and helps in boost energy and endurance.
Add this oil into your diet. Replace vegetable oil, butter or margarine with coconut oil. Replace your fancy moisturizers with coconut oil. Replace your morning cup of tea with hot water and coconut oil. Get it in there. It is delicious and uber healthy!
Health benefits of coconut oil include the following:
Hair Care: It helps in healthy growth of hair providing a shinny complexion. Regular massage of the head with coconut oil ensures that your scalp is free of dandruff, lice, and lice eggs, even if your scalp is dry. It is an excellent conditioner and helps in the re-growth and nourishing of damaged hair.
Stress Relief: Coconut oil is very soothing and hence it helps in removing stress. Applying coconut oil to the head followed with a gentle massage helps in removing mental fatigue.
Skin Care: It acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skins. Coconut oil is a safe solution for preventing dryness and flaking of skin. It also delays wrinkles, and sagging of skin which normally become prominent with age. Coconut oil helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections.
Heart Diseases: It contains about 50% lauric acid, which helps in preventing various heart problems including high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. The saturated fats present in coconut oil are not harmful as it happens in case of other vegetables oils and does not lead to increase in LDL levels (bad cholesterol). It also reduces the incidence of injury in arteries and therefore helps in preventing atherosclerosis.
Weight Loss: Coconut oil is very useful in reducing weight. It contains short and medium-chain fatty acids that help in taking off excessive weight. It is also easy to digest and it helps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and enzymes systems. Further, it increases the body metabolism by removing stress on pancreases, thereby burning out more energy.
Digestion: Coconut oil helps in improving the digestive system and thus prevents various stomach and digestion related problems including irritable bowel syndrome. The saturated fats present in coconut oil have anti microbial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, parasites, etc., that cause indigestion. Coconut oil also helps in absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
Immunity: It strengthens the immune system as 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 is claimed to help in dealing with viruses and bacteria associated with disease like herpes, flu, and even HIV. It helps in fighting harmful bacteria such as listeria and h.pylori (common cause of stomach ulcers), and harmful parasites such as giardia.
Healing: When applied on infections, it forms a chemical layer which protects the infected body part from external dust, air, fungi, bacteria and virus. Coconut oil is most effective on bruises as it speeds up the healing process by repairing damaged tissues.
Infections: Coconut oil is very effective against a variety of infections due to its antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. According to the Coconut Research Center, coconut oil kills viruses that cause influenza, measles, hepatitis, herpes, SARS, etc. It also kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and gonorrhea, etc. Coconut oil is also effective on fungi and yeast that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, diaper rash, etc.
Liver: The presence of medium chain triglycerides and fatty acids helps in preventing liver diseases as substances are easily converted into energy when they reach the liver, thus reducing work load on the liver and also preventing accumulation of fat.
Kidney: Coconut oil helps in preventing kidney and gall bladder diseases. It also helps in dissolving kidney stones.
Diabetes: Coconut oil helps in controlling blood sugar, and improves the secretion of insulin. It also helps in effective utilization of blood glucose, thereby preventing and treating diabetes.
Bones: Coconut oil improves the ability of our body to absorb important minerals. These include calcium and magnesium which are necessary for development of bones. Thus coconut oil is very useful to women who are prone to osteoporosis after middle age.