Coconut oil is a type of vegetal oil extracted from coconuts. Coconut oil was produced for the first time in the middle of the 19th century in China and some surrounding countries. Today, the main exporter of coconut oil is the Philippines. Coconut oil is produced from copra, which is the dried coconut flesh, and is commonly confused with the very similar coconut butter.
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It has a low melting point and a very long shelf life, as well as a pleasant taste. Due to these qualities and easy storage, it was widely used in baking both in the United States and in many other parts of the world. Starting in the 1950s, researchers have started to warn against saturated fats and their dangers for human health. Eventually, the consumers also became aware of this problem and coconut oil was considered unhealthy. Eventually, the product became very rare in the Western world.
Modern research has established that lauric acid makes up about half of the fatty acids in coconut oil. This compound has many health benefits because it is a natural antiseptic that kills bacteria, viruses and fungi. As a result, coconut oil was accepted again as food. Doctors even recommend it today to people who suffer from autoimmune diseases or have metabolic or thyroid imbalances.
Commercially, coconut oil can be found in several varieties and levels of quality. The oil that is pressed from copra without any kind of additional processing is known as unrefined or raw oil. It is the healthiest and the most valuable and is also known as extra virgin coconut oil. Refining this oil eliminates its taste and smell completely. Hydrogenated and fractionated coconut oils are two other types that can be found in stores.
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Besides serving as a baking ingredient, coconut oil has many other uses. It is an effective skin moisturizer and can be included in various soaps, hair care products and other cosmetics. Many experts acknowledge that raw coconut oil is very beneficial for the skin and it is also used for hair styling, especially in India. It can be burned as fuel to produce electricity or used as lamp oil. Its potential use in the production of diesel fuel is currently being investigated.
Coconut oil has a very thick natural consistency, resembling the one of butter. When applied on the hair, it makes it look shiny and boosts its rate of growth. It can prevent one of the most common hair problems, which is the loss of proteins. It is an ingredient in products against dandruff and conditioners but can also be used on the hair in raw form. It is very easy to take advantage of its benefits. You can apply coconut oil on your entire hair, like a hair mask, or just on the areas that require treatment.
Coconut oil is an excellent natural treatment for damaged hair. It greatly increases the repair and growth of hair, while acting as a conditioner at the same time. Coconut oil prevents protein loss by supplying the proteins that your follicles need to repair shaft structure. The effects of coconut oil against hygral fatigue have also been proven by several recent studies.
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Coconut oil is also a great option for people with a dry scalp. Just regularly massage your scalp with coconut oil and it will become hydrated, while dandruff will be eliminated. The coconut oil is also effective against lice and their eggs.
As massage oil, coconut oil can moisturize even the driest skin and benefit all skin types. It is a completely natural product, so it will not cause any kind of skin irritation, unlike some mineral or artificial oils. Its benefits for the skin have been known for thousands of years and it has been used against dry and flaky skin types. Despite popular belief, the cosmetic use of coconut oil is not a new trend and it has been known since ancient times in Asia.
Coconut oil has many benefits for the skin. It can improve its look and treat a wide range of conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis and any kind of infection. It is widely used in the cosmetics industry, as a base ingredient in skin care products like soaps, creams and lotions. Due to the bioactive compounds in its composition and the high concentration of antioxidants, coconut oil can delay the most common effects of skin aging, such as wrinkles or saggy skin.
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Despite the high amount of fats in its composition, coconut oil can also help with weight loss. It consists of fatty acids with short or medium chains, which can actually reduce the amount of body fats. These fats are easily digested and provide a boost to the endocrine and thyroid function. Consuming the coconut oil also appears to reduce female obesity.
The coconut oil appears to relieve some of the stress on the pancreas. It contributes to weight loss by boosting the metabolic rate, which makes the body burn more fats for energy. This effect has been noticed on people who live in coastal areas of the tropics. They consume a lot of coconut oil but are rarely overweight or obese. Consuming the oil can greatly boost the effect of other weight loss methods, such as indoor or outdoor exercises. While these can be very effective, including coconut oil in your diet is a way to make them even better.
Including coconut oil in your diet will also strengthen your immune system. It is a rich source of compounds that kill pathogens such as bacteria, viruses or fungi. These antiseptic compounds are capric acid, caprylic acid, lauric acid and other lipids. Lauric acid is converted by our body into monolaurin, which is known to be effective not only against bacteria but against viruses as well. It can fight viral diseases such as influenza, herpes, cytomegalovirus and even AIDS. The coconut oil can also kill parasites like the giardia lamblia protozoa, as well as bacteria like Helicobacter pylori or Listeria monocytogenes.
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Since ancient times, coconut oil has been used to treat digestive issues. It is effective against many such conditions, even the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This is also due to the antiseptic action of the saturated fats in its composition, which are able to counter the pathogens and parasites that are the root cause of indigestion. An optimal digestion boosts the absorption of amino acids, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
One of the essential minerals that are absorbed in greater amounts due to coconut oil is calcium. Since calcium is the main building block of teeth, consuming this oil will strengthen them. The coconut oil also appears to provide other benefits for dental health, such as reducing plaque and all problems caused by it, according to recent studies.
Coconut oil can also be applied externally on wounds in order to prevent or contain infection. It forms a protective layer of chemicals that stops pathogens from entering and keeps the area clean. As a result, the affected skin heals a lot faster, which can be very useful especially for bruises.
The effects of coconut oil on heart health are disputed. For a long time, it was considered dangerous for the heart due to the content of saturated fats and there are many studies that prove it. However, other research papers conclude that some components of coconut oil are actually good for the heart. The most important of them is lauric acid, which was found to reduce the level of cholesterol and decrease high blood pressure. The coconut oil prevents atherosclerosis by decreasing the damage done to arteries and doesn't increase the level of harmful LDL cholesterol either. According to a targeted study, it is beneficial for women during pre-menopause because it controls their lipid profiles.
There is no definitive answer is coconut oil is good for the heart or not. It is better to ask for the advice of your doctor before including it in your diet. Check your cholesterol levels and stop eating coconut oil if you notice they have increased. It is a good idea to measure your cholesterol levels regularly, regardless of your diet.
This natural oil has a well-proven action against viruses and can prevent herpes, hepatitis, SARS, influenza, measles and many other diseases. It is equally strong against urinary tract infections, pneumonia, gonorrhea, ulcers, throat infections and other bacterial conditions. Athlete's foot, diaper rash, ringworm, thrush and other fungal infections can be prevented as well.