Uses for Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has been around for a long time and has a history going back thousands of years. It origins can be traced back to tropical areas such as India, and the South Pacific as well as in regions of Africa, Central and South America. During the 1800s, coconut oil became widely traded not only as an edible oil but also as a key component in the production of other products such as soaps, candles as well as cosmetics.
Coconut oil has a rich and positive history with regards to its effect on ones hair.
The image of Polynesian and Asian women with long silky hair is due in no small measure to their use of coconut oil. This fact is not lost in the production of most of our current (and more expensive) hair shampoos and conditioners. Coconut oil contains many nutrients but particularly it contains lauric acid and Vitamin E. The lauric acid has the ability to penetrate the hair shaft naturally while in combination with Vitamin E, coconut oil will nourish both the entire hair shaft and the scalp. The end result is ones hair will be stronger, thicker and avoid split ends. Regarding the scalp, coconut oil will avoid dry skin or dandruff.
Coconut oil is naturally high in saturated fats. As a result of a 1960s study, when foods high in saturated fats were linked to higher cholesterol levels and heart disease, coconut oil fell out of favor in the Western world diet. There was a movement to replace coconut oil in our foods with lower cost, edible polyunsaturated oils such as soy, corn and safflower. The effect was widespread and the perception of coconut oil being bad in the western world continues to this day. This is in spite of the paradox that population groups, such as the Polynesians and Asians, who have and continue to use coconut oil as a staple in their daily diets, show a lower level of cholesterol and heart disease then do their Western counterparts.
One contributing factor which may better explain this paradox is that in the 1960s study hydrogenated coconut oil was used rather than the organic virgin form of the oil used by the Polynesians and Asians. Hydrogenated fats are bad fats which can lead to the formation of trans-fats which in turn have been identified as leading to a host of diseases such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Unfortunately, the western diet has hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated products everywhere. Products include items such common items as margarine, corn oil, canola oil. Just do a label check of your kitchen and refrigerated items.
So the take away here is to understand extra virgin coconut oil is good in spite of it being high in saturated fat. Specifically, it contains good fats such as Omega-3 fatty acids and medium chain triglycerides/MCTs.and can be used in place of those other bad hydrogenated products.
Aside from the hydrogenated saturated fat controversy, there are a number of counterpoints on why coconut oil should seriously be considered as part of ones diet and or weight management program.
As mentioned earlier, coconut oil contains both Omega-3 fatty acids and medium chain triglycerides/MCTS. Medium chain triglycerides/MCTS increase ones metabolism rate, are easily digested and are burned by the body without converting to fat. The net result is weight loss through a higher natural metabolism. Some have even called coconut oil the high metabolism secret. In combination with Omega-3 fatty acids, many people suffering from chronic fatigue have realized a major increase in their energy levels.
Coconut oil has a rich and positive history with regards to its effect on ones skin. Unrefined, virgin coconut oil is naturally full of antioxidants, Vitamin E. and antiseptic fatty acids.
Antioxidants fight off free radicals. Free radicals accelerate the skins aging process in the form of breaking down connective tissues thus adding wrinkles and facilitating the creation of age spots particularly if one has had excessive sun exposure and damage.
Vitamin E is also an antioxidant that is known to help heal scaring, uneven skin shading, and stretch marks. Antiseptic fatty acids, such as lauric acid, which are contained within coconut oil, is a natural antibacterial and fungi fighter of the skin, thus combating things like athletes foot, warts and acne.
Coconut oil is one of natures best moisturizers. Unlike, many water based skin products, which evaporate over time, coconut oil because of its antioxidants attacks the free radicals which is one of the primary causes of the breakdown of connective tissues which causes dry, rough and wrinkled skin.