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Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

03.06.13 Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

coconut

Searching for a way to moisturize your skin, put some shine into your hair, and add a hearty boost to your diet? And do all of this with one fabulous and economical oil? Well, take a look at the many benefits of coconut oil.  Referred to as "nature's elixir to lose weight, prevent heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, and beautify skin and hair."

Lauric Acid, which makes up nearly half of the fat content in coconut oil, is a medium chain fatty acid. And size does matter for fatty acids: the smaller the better. Long-chain fatty acids are processed slower because they need to undergo a longer process before being available for use. However, small-chain and medium-chain fatty acids are immediately available for your body to use. And our bodies convert lauric acid to monolaurin which fights viruses and bacteria.

At MightyNest, we chose to carry Dr. Bronner's whole kernel organic virgin coconut oil (VCO) becuase of its high quality. This pure, certified organic, raw, unrefined, virgin coconut oil is untouched by heat or chemical treatment before, during or after pressing. Left in its raw state, every living enzyme and nutrient is left intact to nourish the body.

Uses for coconut oil:

  • EAT: Coconut oil is an excellent addition for a healthy diet. Virgin coconut oil improves blood cholesterol by increasing ratio of HDL to LDL cholesterol due to medium chain fatty acids (the healthier fatty acid). It is the most stable oil to cook with, especially at higher heats - due to its chemical structure, heat makes olive oil suseptible to oxidative damage. Coconut oil is a terrific alternative to butter and other oils for sauteing vegetables, cooking and baking. Eating coconut oil also contributes to stimulating metabolism, supporting the immune system and improving thyroid function. In addition, populations that consume coconut oil regularly have lower rates of heart disease due to the oil's anti-viral and anti-microbial characteristics. Because coconut oil is composed primarily of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) that are burned almost immediately for energy production,  "it's like putting high octane fuel into your car. The car runs more smoothly and gets better gas mileage. Likewise, with MCFAs, your body performs better because it has more energy and greater enduranceā€, according to author Bruce Fife, of The Coconut Miracle. AND MORE, coconut oil won't produce free-radicals upon heating like other vegetable oils do and it's highly resistant to spoilage so you can expect a long shelf life. Source of vitamins E and K and the mineral iron. 
  • SKIN: As a basic ingredient in many soaps, lotions and creams, this multi-purpose and economical moisturizer prevents dryness and flaking of skin. It also works wonders with wrinkles, sagging skin and on age spots from its regenerative effects. Use it as an after shave or after sunburns for soothing relief, as a diaper salve in place of petroleum-based vaseline, for removal of make-up, to prevent stretch marks and chapped lips. Mix it with baking soda for a natural deodorant and use with sugar in a body scrub for wonderfully smooth skin. 
  • HAIR: Extensively used in Ayurvedic medicine, coconut oil is highly effective for treating dry and damaged hair, preventing dandruff and lice and promoting re-growth of hair. Massage scalp with a small amount of oil before washing hair or as a hair mask for several hours for a deep conditioning treatment. Be careful to avoid oil stains on furniture or linens! Also a good way to treat cradle cap and frizzy hair.
  • DIGESTION: The saturated fats in coconut oil have anti microbial properties and help to aid in digestion, soothe acid reflux and help with the absorbtion of vitamins and minerals. The anti-inflammatory and healing effects of coconut oil also play a role in soothing inflammation and healing the digestive tract. 
  • HEAL: Use as an aid to protect cuts from dust or bacteria and to help speed up the healing process. Coconut oil is also a good natural remedy for bug bites as it helps to stop the itching. For bug repellent, try a mixture of coconut oil and peppermint essential oil to keep insects at bay. Also effective on bruises as it speeds up the healing process by repairing damaged tissues. 

Make your own natural soothing chest balm using coconut oil and the combination of these cooling essential oils: wintergreen or peppermint, eucalyptus and rosemary essential oil. Unlike Vick's vapo rub, this chest rub is sans petroleum. We like using the smallest glass Weck jars to store our homemade batches.

And if that's not enough, coconut oil is ideal to season cast iron pans, maintain the smooth surface of wooden cutting boards or butcher block counters and if you're in a pinch, use it as a gum or goo remover instead of a harsh chemical.

Is coconut oil a staple in your home?

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