THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON DIAMOND HERBS.
For the past decade coconut oil uses and benefits has seen a tremendous rise in popularity from athletes all the way to health conscious moms, making it a staple in a lot of homes.
Coconut oil has extensive superfood package, so much so that we found over 101 coconut oil uses and benefits.
From cooking to topical application on the skin, coconut oil packs a variety of compounds and properties that makes it amazing.
Once ostracized by the medical community for it’s saturated fat content, further studies on saturated fat as changed the landscape of understanding what are healthy fats, and ultimately the benefits of coconut oil.
What is Coconut Oil?
There are two types of coconut oil that you can find in most grocery stores.
Fractionated coconut oil, also called “pressed,” is a type of coconut oil that doesn’t smell or taste like coconut oil.
The refining process takes out some of its nutrition, so while it is useful, it isn’t as effective as unrefined coconut oil.
Virgin Coconut Oil, also called “extra virgin.” This type of coconut oil hasn’t going through the refining process and retains its taste and smell. In cooking, it will produce a minor coconut flavor.
Organic Coconut Oil
If you apply it externally, you will get a slight scent of coconut. It retains all its nutrition, so it is more effective than the refined oil. For the very best quality, search for non-GMO organic extra virgin coconut oil.
Coconut oil is the most nutrient dense part of the coconut. It is solid at room temperature like butter and doesn’t break down in heat or light.
Most coconut oils are made from copra. Copra is the dried kernel or meat of the coconut.
It can be made by smoke drying the copra, sun drying, or kiln drying, as well as combinations of all three. The end product made from copra is RBD coconut oil.
Part of the reason coconut oil is such a powerhouse superfood is its unique nutritional profile. Lets dive in to see what the powerful benefits this oil has to offer in our everyday lives!
Most of the fats in coconut oil are saturated but they are in the form of MCTs (Medium Chain Triglycerides), which affect the body differently than short and long chain fats. The MCTs are composed of:
- Lauric Acid– This beneficial fat makes up 40% of the total fat composition, making it one of nature’s highest natural sources. The body converts lauric acid to monolaurin, which is beneficial for immune function.
- Caprylic Acid– Another healthy fat with antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.
- Capric Acid– This converts to monocaprin in the body and has immune boosting and antimicrobial properties.
Medium Chain Fatty Acids
Most of the fats we consume are long chain fatty acids that must be broken down before they can be absorbed. Coconut oil is high in short and medium chain fatty acids, which are easily digested and sent right to the liver for energy production.
Because MCTs are sent right to the liver for digestion, no bile or pancreatic enzymes are needed for digestion, making coconut oil a healthy food even for those with diabetes or those who have gallbladder problems.
MCT oil can help increase metabolism since they are sent directly to the liver and give the body an instant source of energy. Most of the MCTs in coconut oil are the highly beneficial Lauric Acid.
Coconut Oil Pulling
Coconut oil pulling is one of the best ways to remove bacteria and promote healthy teeth and gums. Oil pulling works by cleansing the oral cavity in a similar way that soap cleans dirty dishes.
It literally sucks the toxins out of your mouth and creates a clean, antiseptic oral environment that contributes to the proper flow of dental liquid that is needed to prevent cavities and disease.
This unbelievably effective procedure has been used for centuries as a traditional India remedy to:
- Cures tooth decay
- Kills bad breath
- Heals bleeding gums
- Prevents heart disease
- Reduces inflammation
- Whitens teeth
- Soothes throat dryness
- Prevents cavities
- Heals cracked lips
- Boosts Immune System
- Improves acne
- Strengthens gums and jaw
The Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine recently highlighted a study that reviewed holistic approaches to oral health and discovered that oil pulling is one of the most effective natural health solutions known to scientists that prevent tooth decay and loss.