Coconut Oil: Nature’s Answer to Just About Everything
Africa Studio / Shutterstock[content-ad-1]The number of things coconut oil can be used for is endless. It can be used in the kitchen, as part of your beauty routine or as a cleaning aid. Perhaps most importantly, coconut oil is somewhat of a miracle when it comes to health. Here are 8 amazing health benefits of coconut oil:
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Cancer Protection and Defense
Coconut oil is said to prevent cancer since it’s a saturated fat (which is less likely than unsaturated fats to form cancer-causing chemicals when ingested). It’s also been shown to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy. Perhaps most noteworthy, though, is that in a 2013 study researchers found that lauric acid, a medium-chained fatty acid, killed over 93% of colon cancer cells. Interestingly, lauric acid makes up about 50% of coconut oil. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that coconut oil is a cancer-fighting miracle, but it definitely shows potential.
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Virgin coconut oil has been shown to have many anti-inflammatory effects. For centuries, people have been using it to treat sunburns, insect bites, eczema and other inflammatory conditions. A 2014 study even found that it reduced the inflammation associated with arthritis. What makes coconut oil so special? Well, it contains powerful anti-oxidants (which disrupt the inflammatory process and are rarely found elsewhere). The best thing about these natural antioxidants is that they don’t come with the annoying side effects of prescription drugs.
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Prevent and Treats Acne
Some people swear by coconut oil to give their skin that special glow. It’s understandable since the oil contains Vitamin E (a hormone-regulator) along with many healing and infection-fighting properties (namely lauric and capric acid). This makes it versatile in both preventing and treating acne. Coconut oil prevents acne by moisturizing the skin, unclogging pores, balancing hormones and killing acne-causing infections. It treats acne through its anti-inflammatory properties and by reducing the look of acne scars. It’s a winner in the fight against acne since it’s a lot cheaper than the treatments you can find in the drug store and also a lot safer (no harsh chemicals)!
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If counting sheep doesn’t help you to fall asleep, there’s no need to turn to sleeping pills. Doctors recommend coconut oil to help with insomnia since it keeps your blood sugar and hormones balanced. Coconut oil also aids digestion and reduces anxiety, which can help you to relax. The coconut oil can be rubbed on your wrists and temples or it can be ingested to help you get a good night’s rest.
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Osteoporosis is a disorder that’s characterized by bone loss. Free radicals play a big role in the progression of this disorder by causing cell damage. Fortunately, virgin coconut oil is packed with anti-oxidants that combat free radicals. The result of using the oil is prevention of bone loss and maintenance of bone structure.
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Treats Alzheimer’s Disease
Is coconut oil the new brain food? It just may be! There have been numerous claims that the oil helps to improve the memory of Alzheimer’s patients, whose brain cells lack the ability to use glucose as an energy source. The explanation for this lies in the medium-chain fatty acids that are abundant in coconut oil. These fatty acids are used by our body to create an alternative energy supply (known as ketones) for the brain. Not only do Alzheimer’s patients benefit from ingesting coconut oil, but everyone can. The oil increases mental awareness and other cognitive functions, too!
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Lowers Cholesterol and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
The saturated fatty acids found in coconut oil actually help to raise HDL (known as the good cholesterol) while reducing the harmful effects of LDL (the bad cholesterol). This ultimately means a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease since the bad cholesterols are responsible for clogging the arteries connected to the heart.
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The same study that showed the positive effects of coconut oil on cholesterol levels also showed that it can reduce BMI and waist circumference. The reason behind this is that coconut oil makes you feel full (so that those high-fat chocolate desserts don’t seem as appetizing). It also increases fat-burning by increasing energy expenditure. Remember, this is simply by ingesting coconut oil (no exercises or extreme diets). Amazing, isn’t it?