Coconut oil has been praised as a moisturizer for lips, hair, and skin and can be found in many products in skin care and hair care sections of drug stores. However, coconut oil has many benefits that go beyond the moisturizing properties it provides to hair and skin.
In this article we’ll share some of the best health benefits that coconut oil provides aside from being a fantastic moisturizer. Keep reading to find out more about:
- The health benefits of coconut oil
- How to add coconut oil to your diet
The health benefits of coconut oil
Coconut oil has many benefits and can help to prevent a variety of diseases.
Coconut oil isn’t just your average moisturizer and it’s not your average oil either. Aside from being in nearly all the best beauty and skincare products on the market, coconut oil has many health benefits that go beyond hydrated skin. It’s a great alternative for some of the more unhealthy oils used in the kitchen and has lots of nutrients that other oils just don’t have.
Some of the health benefits of coconut oil include:
- Aiding in weight loss
- It promotes heart health
- May help reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease
- Helps prevent gum disease and tooth decay
Coconut oil aids in weight loss
Coconut oil is extremely helpful if you are trying to lose weight, as it is made up of short and medium-chain triglycerides that can replace long-chain triglycerides (like those in soybean or canola oil) in your diet. Medium-chain triglycerides have been shown to decrease weight without impacting lipid profiles in blood and with little effect on energy levels of individuals.
While more research is needed on the role that medium-chain triglycerides play in weight loss, there is no doubt that this is one nutritional benefit of coconut oil! Using coconut oil as an alternative to less healthy oils like palm oil is an easy switch that can aid in your weight loss goal.
Personally, I love using coconut oil when making popcorn! It adds a little bit of sweetness and makes this already healthy snack even healthier.
Coconut oil may promote heart health
Studies have suggested that coconut oil may help to promote heart health due to its ability to raise levels of good cholesterol. While the research in this area is a bit limited, some studies have suggested that consuming 15mL of virgin coconut oil daily can be beneficial in balancing good and bad cholesterol levels in healthy individuals.
It should be noted that more research needs to be done in this area as most studies regarding coconut oil and heart health have been short-term. Longer studies would have to be done to have more conclusive evidence on coconut oil benefits for heart health.
Coconut oil may help to reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease
It is well known that healthy fats are incredibly beneficial for brain health. With so many neurological benefits linked to healthy fats like avocado and fish, researchers have begun to look at the neurological benefits of coconut and coconut oil as well.
Recent studies suggest that coconut oil may be especially beneficial for memory issues and degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease. Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease lose the ability to create their own insulin, which can provide the brain with energy. Research suggests that ketones in coconut oil may help to provide an alternate source of energy for the brain when insulin levels begin to dip.
Further research suggests that coconut oil may have neuroprotective properties that could prevent the development of Alzheimer's disease. The studies suggest that coconut oil may have properties that reduce inflammation and plaque that are linked to the development of Alzheimer's disease.
Coconut oil helps to prevent gum disease and tooth decay
Coconut oil is believed to be antibacterial due to the lauric acid that it contains. These antibacterial properties suggest that coconut oil may be beneficial for oral health and can prevent some gum diseases.
Evidence suggests that using coconut oil as a type of mouthwash, something called oil-pulling, may help to reduce the amount of harmful bacteria in the mouth. In fact, this method has been used for centuries as a way to clean the mouth of bacteria and heal gum diseases.
Storing a small jar of coconut oil in your bathroom can make your night routine incredibly efficient as you can use it as a moisturizer and a mouthwash!
How to add coconut oil into your diet
So, we’ve shared some of the many health benefits of coconut oil with you, but how do you incorporate coconut oil into your diet?
While one option is to replace your usual cooking oil with coconut oil, this can be rather expensive and unsustainable. It may be easier to replace oil in certain recipes with coconut oil, such as for making stovetop popcorn like I mentioned before.
Some ways that you can incorporate coconut oil into your diet in smaller quantities include:
- Put coconut oil in your morning coffee
- Add coconut oil to your smoothies
- Include coconut oil in your morning oatmeal
Obviously coconut oil is a great addition to your morning routine. It can easily replace milk in your morning coffee and, for those of you who like sugar in your coffee, can add a little sweetness that milk doesn’t. It’s mild and a much different flavor from the sugar and milk combination (in my opinion) but is very enjoyable and smooth.
Coconut oil can also make a great addition to your smoothies and oatmeal. While it may not add as much flavor to these foods as it does with popcorn, it can be a great way to get some of this healthy fat in your diet.
As coconut oil tends to be solid when below a certain temperature, many people worry about coconut oil clumping when being added to smoothies. However, this shouldn’t be an issue when blending coconut oil into your smoothie, as there are so many foods blending together. In fact, adding coconut oil to your smoothie can help to enhance the flavors of other foods in your smoothie!