For centuries, people have used coconut oil for its nourishing properties and health benefits, in the preparation of certain dishes, for strengthening the immune system and as a basic ingredient in the cosmetics industry, for hair and skin care. Known as “kalpa vriksha” in Sanskrit, the coconut tree is the palm tree that meets all the necessities of life. In Malaysia, the coconut is called “pokok seribu guna”, which means the tree with a thousand uses, and in the Philippines it is called the “tree of life”.
The Philippines is the country with the largest production of coconut oil, followed by Indonesia and India. The European Union and the United States are the largest consumers of coconut oil and its products. Coconut oil is extracted from the core of the ripe coconut palm nut. There is a lot of controversy over its use in food. Currently, health professionals and doctors are promoting coconut oil for its health benefits. However, for a long time it was considered that the saturated fats in its composition have undesirable effects on the cardiovascular system, but recent studies showed this is not the case.
So, what are the benefits of coconut oil?
General information about coconut oil
Coconut oil is used extensively due to its many properties and health benefits and its beneficial effects in cosmetics. In the past, this oil was considered harmful due to the fats in the composition, but it turned out that they are actually beneficial for the body, being saturated fats. Coconut oil is effective for strengthening the immune system, due to the presence in its composition of lauric acid, which is transformed by the body into monolaurin. Monolaurin in coconut oil is effective for fighting viruses and bacteria, being used especially in medicine and for the sanitation and natural preservation of food. Thus, coconut oil is a natural antibacterial, due to the presence in its composition of monolaurin. It is non-allergenic and very nutritious, which is why it is mainly used in vegan and raw-vegan diets. The fatty acids in the oil are quickly assimilated in the body and are recommended for people who want to lose weight and those who exert intense physical effort.
Types of coconut oils
As with other broad-spectrum oils, coconut oil is of several types: virgin, extra virgin, hot or cold pressed, refined or crude. Quality coconut oil solidifies and has a uniform composition. Low quality oil has an uneven, coarse appearance.
- Crude oil is the most beneficial type of crude oil is the one extracted cold, organic, due to the fact that it retains its unaltered properties. It is extracted from fresh coconut by fermentation, and has antioxidant properties.
- Extra virgin oil. The process involves cold pressing the raw, fresh or dried coconut pulp, which does not allow to preserve its antioxidant qualities.
- Refined oil is obtained from a chemical distillation process at very high temperatures. It can also be obtained as a by-product from the oils left over from the processing of coconut flakes, in which hydrogenated fats are found, with potentially harmful to health.
- Fractionated oil. It is in the form of a liquid substance, which does not become solid below 76 degrees, just like unrefined coconut oil. It is beneficial for improving brain capacity, although it does not have the same properties as refined oil.
Coconut oil has a concentration of 90% fatty acids, which are extremely beneficial for health. This is due to the high content of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, which the body has the ability to assimilate quickly and are processed and transformed into energy. Scientific studies have shown that these fatty acids have therapeutic effects on the body and protect against cardiovascular disease. It contains 10% fewer calories than other vegetable fats, so it is recommended in diets. Recently, there has been an increase in the number of people who choose herbal diets, and as a result, it has become a popular choice for healthy fat intake and due to its pleasant aroma.
How to use it
Coconut oil has multiple uses in the household, for the preparation of certain dishes and as a basic cosmetic product for skin care.
In the household it is useful to remove residues from various materials, to clean leather objects and furniture, stainless steel appliances, to remove rust and to effectively clean the inside of the machine. It can be used in the kitchen due to the fact that it is resistant to very high temperatures, does not oxidize and has no harmful effects, having a burning point of 180 degrees. You can use it to prepare salads and it can replace butter or oil used in cooking, for those who follow a vegan diet and you can add it to smootihie.
As a cosmetic product, it has a moisturizing effect on the skin and hair, due to the fatty acids that help strengthen collagen fibers and keep the skin firm. Gives a healthier look to the hair and prevents hair splitting. You can choose a multifunctional hair and body conditioner, which acts in the depth of the epidermis and hair, to hydrate it. You can use it as a body lotion, lip balm, detoxifier, cleanser, natural deodorant, skin exfoliant.
Benefits of coconut oil in diets
Coconut oil has countless scientifically proven benefits for the body, due to its high content of saturated fatty acids, which cause positive chemical reactions. Fatty acids are assimilated by the body and converted into energy. It lowers cholesterol levels in the body, stimulates the immune system by the presence of the vitamin complex in the composition and has moisturizing effects when used for cosmetic purposes, for the skin and body. It is resistant to high temperatures, so it can be used safely for cooking. Consume a teaspoon of coconut oil before meals to reduce hunger. Consumption of coconut oil helps to metabolize fats and release energy. Below 25 degrees, the oil solidifies and can be used to prepare nutritional bars and as an ingredient in paleo or vegan diets.
The fatty acids in the composition of coconut oil can have therapeutic effects on brain disorders, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease and help
increase the ability to concentrate. The oil helps lower cholesterol levels in the body, stimulates the immune system with natural antioxidants, vitamins K, A, C and E, helps regulate metabolism and digestive process. Due to the high level of lauric acid, it stimulates the production of good cholesterol in the body, which is broken down by the liver without affecting the blood vessels and thus reduces the risk of heart disease. Coconut oil helps to improve the function of the digestive system and prevents the appearance of dysfunctions in the digestive tract.
Coconut oil in pregnancy, for children and babies
Coconut oil is very effective in treating diaper rash, soothing pain, redness and itching. It is also suitable for massaging the scalp of babies. For breastfeeding mothers, consuming 3-4 teaspoons of coconut oil and vitamin D, increases the amount of milk and increases its nutritional intake. The oil helps to fade stretch marks after pregnancy, can be applied directly to the perineum to speed healing after birth and helps heal nipples after breastfeeding.
Warnings on coconut oil consumption
When choosing coconut oil, keep in mind that the best one is the cold pressed one, which does not lose its properties during processing. Although it is beneficial for many conditions, it should be consumed in moderation by people suffering from cardiovascular disease, diabetes or obesity due to high caloric intake. Pregnant and breastfeeding women can consume coconut oil in moderate amounts, and the most recommended is cold-pressed oil.
It is important to always choose the right product for you, cold pressed, virgin, extra virgin or fractionated, so that you can fully enjoy its benefits.
Benefits of coconut oil in cosmetics
Due to the antimicrobial properties of lauric acid, it is used successfully for effective skin cleansing and for effective teeth cleaning. We recommend using a toothpaste with coconut oil and zinc salt, which whitens teeth and prevents plaque formation. It is a good moisturizer for sunburn, for treating stretch marks after pregnancy, as a hair conditioner and for lips. It has a much healthier anti-cellulite effect than other creams, massaged on the affected areas. It is strongly moisturizing, so we recommend you choose a cream that contains coconut oil, to have a smooth and velvety skin.
It has many benefits for skin and hair, being an ingredient used in cosmetics:
- For skin and face – the fatty acids in coconut oil help to fix collagen fibers, an essential element for skin firmness, and help to quickly heal the epidermis. You can apply oil directly on the face, massaging lightly until it is completely absorbed into the skin, the result being a brighter and rejuvenated complexion. Also, if you apply a face mask made of coconut oil and spirulina, at least once a week, you will benefit from the nourishing qualities that rejuvenate the skin.
- Hair mask – the fatty acids in coconut oil give hair shine, a healthier appearance and prevent hair splitting. You can apply a small amount to the tips to reduce their breakage. If you choose to apply a mask, you must wash your hair well, and after you dry it, massage it well with coconut oil, then wrap it in a towel and leave it caught overnight.
- Body lotion – you can use coconut oil instead of the usual body lotion. Helps moisturize the skin and restore the epidermis. You can apply it after showering, directly on damp skin, in a thin layer. It will be quickly absorbed into the skin, in a maximum of 2 minutes, without leaving your skin oily.
- Lip balm – if you want to moisturize your lips, you can prepare your own natural lip balm from a mixture of coconut oil, shea butter and beeswax, a teaspoon of each ingredient. Then melt them in a glass bowl, through the bain-marie process, ie in the steam bath. Then pour the liquid into a lip balm container, which you can find commercially, and keep the lip balm cool so that it does not soften.
- Natural cleanser – applied topically, in the eye area, coconut oil reduces the signs of fatigue. In addition, it can be used as a cleanser. Mix 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, 1 tablespoon of vitamin E and 2 drops of lavender essential oil and refrigerate the mixture until it hardens. You can then use it to remove eye make-up, even to remove water-resistant mascara.
- Detoxifying bath – you can take a detoxifying bath once a week with coconut oil and bath salt, this being an ideal method for relaxation, remineralization and detoxification.
- Prevents stretch marks – if you apply it daily on the skin, it can act as a good natural remedy that prevents stretch marks. It can also be used to heal wounds.
- Treats cellulite – you can try a solution consisting of a tablespoon of coconut oil and 10 drops of grapefruit essential oil to fight cellulite. Vigorously massage the affected area with circular movements, repeating this treatment after each bath.
- Shaving solution – coconut oil can also be used by men when shaving, being better than shaving gel or foam. In addition, it moisturizes and restores the skin after shaving and prevents irritations.
- Anti-acne treatment – it acts as a natural antibiotic that fights bacteria that cause inflammation in the skin. For a quick effect, you can combine coconut oil with Tea Tree essential oil.
- Skin exfoliant – if you mix coconut oil with coffee grounds and a little cinnamon, you will get a natural exfoliant for skin care.
- Repairs cracked heels – can be used as an alternative to classic creams and helps repair cracked heels and softens the skin.
- Natural deodorant – you can prepare your own natural deodorant at home and you need 6-8 tablespoons of coconut oil, ¼ cup of baking soda and ¼ cup of corn starch. Mix the ingredients, gradually adding the coconut oil until you get a mixture with a creamy consistency. Then put the mixture in a container and let it solidify. You can also apply it on the skin with your fingers.
- Natural toothpaste – mix coconut oil with baking soda and use this mix instead of regular toothpaste. Optionally, you can also add a little peppermint essential oil.
- Speeds up the tanning process – if used as such, coconut oil helps get the perfect tan much faster than other cosmetics and at the same time protects the skin from sunburn.
Our soaps an shampoos contain a high level of healthy coconut oil. You will see the coconut oil’s effects after first uses.