Healthy

Coconut Oil Isn’t Just For Cooking

Coconut oil has gotten a lot of good press in the last few years for good reason.  The oil offers a multitude of health benefits and is easily obtainable.  With that said, there is more to coconut oil than as a cooking additive.

Image: Edibles Magazine

Sunscreen

Coconut oil has been found to offer some protection for your skin from the sun’s UV rays, which can aid in helping to prevent wrinkling, brown spots, and even skin cancer.  However, the protection is very minimal at only 20%.  So, don’t think that by using the oil you are as protected as well as with the commercial brands of sunscreen.  They block about 90% of the UV rays, so as you can see there is a vast difference.

Metabolic Rate

Coconut oil has been shown to help improve your bodies metabolism.  The oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (or MCT’s), which are fatty acids.  These fatty acids absorb quickly and increase your metabolism which in turn increases the number of calories you burn.  In some studies, MCT’s have shown to significantly boost your metabolic rate, although it is a temporary boost and not long lasting.

Dental Health

Coconut oil is known to fight the bacteria known as Streptococcus mutans, which is responsible for dental plaque, tooth decay and even gum disease.  Studies have shown that swishing with coconut oil for ten minutes each day acts just as effectively as most antiseptic mouthwashes currently on the market.

Image: iStock

Eczema and Other Skin Irritations

Coconut oil has been shown to help improve dermatitis and other skin irritations at least as well as other moisturizers and oils on the market.  It has also been shown in studies, that 47% of the children presenting with eczema or other skin irritations when treated with coconut oil showed significant improvements.  Coconut oil has natural anti-inflammatory properties which give relief from and is great for treating insect bites and stings.

Brain Health

As mentioned before, coconut oil contains a fatty acid called MCT’s.  These MCT’s are broken down by your liver and are converted into ketones.  In turn, these ketones are used as an alternative energy source for the brain.  Several studies have shown that MCT’s have an impressive effect in the treatment of epilepsy as well as Alzheimer’s.

These are just a few of the beneficial uses of coconut oil.  There are advantages to using the oil on your hair, and as a skin moisturizer as well.  So, the next time you find yourself reaching for the coconut oil out of your pantry to cook with, you might want to keep these additional uses and benefits in mind.