The Cocos nucifera or the coconut as it is commonly called is a nut that is useful in all of its stages. It is a well known fact that the tender coconut is filled with amazing medicinal qualities. The protein content of the coconut is of a very high quality, containing all amino acids. It is also rich in potassium, sodium, magnesium and sulphur. The coconut has a high oil content and is high in calories. The oil that is extracted from the coconut is coconut oil and has been the main staple in diets for thousands of years in tropical cultures. It has curative properties which are far beyond that of any dietary oil, and is especially good as a home remedy.
The coconut meat like most nuts, contains less sugar and more protein than fruits like bananas, apples and oranges. Although coconut meat contains less fat than many other oilseeds and nuts, the fat is saturated and there has been some debate on the saturated fat in the coconut, being more healthy than other forms of saturated fat. The difference they say is in the fat molecules. All fats and oils are composed of molecules called fatty acids. There are two methods of classifying fatty acids – based on saturation (saturated; monosaturated; polyunsaturated) and on the molecular size of the carbon chain with each fatty acid (SCFA or Short-chain fatty acids; MCFA or medium-chain fatty acids and LCFA or long-chain fatty acids). The size of these fatty acids are considered important because our bodies are said to metabolize each fatty acid depending on its size. Most of the fats and oils in our diet are composed of LCFA. There are very few dietary sources of MCFA and the coconut and palm oils are considered by far the best sources. MCFA, also called medium-chain triglycerides, are very different from LCFA. They are said to protect against heart disease and helps lower the risk of atherosclerosis.
What is virgin coconut oil
The most healthy form of coconut oil is said to be the pure/virgin coconut oil, that has not been refined. Most commercial grade coconut oils are made from copra (dry coconut). The oil extracted from copra has to be purified or refined. Virgin coconut oil is extracted by using fresh coconut meat. The process involved is by wet milling, which is the most traditional way of extracting coconut oil. Chemicals and high heating are not used to refine it or purify it.
Health benefits of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil health benefits for hair
Coconut oil is one of the best natural nutrition for hair. Regular massage of the head with coconut oil ensures that the scalp is free from dandruff and helps in the growth of hair. It is an excellent conditioner and nourishes damaged hair.
Coconut oil health benefits for skin
Coconut oil is safe for dry skin. It acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skin. When applied topically, it helps in treating various skin problems like eczema, psoraisis and infections. Coconut oil is said to prevent premature aging and degenerative diseases due to its anti-oxidant properties. It is an effective massage oil. Its an excellent remedy for nappy rash. Virgin coconut oil has antimicrobial properties and hence is believed to be effective in treating herpes.
Coconut oil health benefits for the heart
The debate is still on but it is considered to be beneficial for the heart. It contains about 50% lauric acid, which is said to prevent heart problems including high cholesterol and blood pressure. This, it is said, is because the saturated fats present in coconut oil are natural and not man made as in the case of other vegetable oils. Studies on Pacific Island populations who get 30-60 percent of their totoal caloric intake from coconut oil have shown very little rates of cardiovascular disease.
Home remedy for digestion and weight loss
Coconut oil is considered to be useful in losing weight. As it contains MCFA, it helps increase the metabolism, thereby burning more energy and helps along easy digestion. Internal use of coconut oil is mostly through cooking with it. It improves the digestive system. The saturated fats present in the coconut oil have anti-microbial properties and thus help in dealing with parasites and bacteria. It helps in the absorption of other nutrients. It also builds immunity.
Coconut oil home remedy to heal and disinfect
When applied on infections, it forms a layer which protects the infected part. It is very effective on bruises as it speeds up the healing process by repairing damaged tissues. It is effective against a variety of infections due to its antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties. This is because the fat in the coconut oil is of a type rarely found , called lauric acid. The body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which has the above mentioned anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa properties
Coconut oil for liver
The presence of MCFA helps to prevent liver diseases as the substances are easily converted to energy when they reach the liver, thus reducing the work of the liver and preventing accumalation of fat.
Researchers say the ketones found in coconut oil have slowed the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in some people and may actually prevent it. There is research suggesting that ketones may help treat various neurological dosorders, including alzheimers. The theory is that ketones might provide an alternative energy source for brain cells that have lost their ability to use glucose as a result of Alzheimer’s. It helps prevent the degeneration of the brain and may be a good agent in preventing dementia and Parkinsons.
Coconut oil for Candida
Coconut oil being high in both lauric acid and caprylic acid, has anti-viral, anti-microbial and antifungal properties. They kill excess yeast and fungal growth. Coconut oil is said to be an effective agent to get rid of candida yeast.
Home remedies with Coconut Oil
- Mix coconut oil with castor oil and apply the mixture to the scalp. Let it sit on the scalp for about an hour then thoroughly wash it off. This is a effective home remedy for hair growth.
- Coconut oil helps remove age spots. Massage a small amount of coconut oil into the affected areas several times daily until the spots fade away.
- Coconut oil helps heal athlete’s foot. Crush one peeled bulb of garlic and mix it with one tablespoon of coconut oil. Rub the mixture onto the affected skin area twice a day.
- For chapped lips, simply apply coconut oil to your lips whenever they feel dry. The oil is easily absorbed into the skin, keeping them strong and supple.
- Apply coconut oil, for nappy rash and see the difference in a day. It is an excellent home remedy for nappy rash.
- Apply coconut oil to treat dry and flaked skin in winter
- Oil pulling is said to protect teeth from harmful bacteria and may improve dental health and bad breath.
Learn more about oil pulling Is Oil Pulling an effective remedy for oral health?