Back in 1967 a popular creme rinse conditioner advertised itself as containing “the secret of coconut oil”. This wasn’t just an advertising gimmick. How much coconut oil they actually put in that creme rinse is debatable, but there’s no doubt that coconut oil is amazingly good for you — inside and out!
The Real Secrets of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has numerous benefits — so many that we can’t cover them all in this article. Look up studies on coconut oil or one of its primary ingredients, lauric acid. You’ll find plenty of articles describing research on the use of coconut oil to promote heart health, boost your immune system and improve brain function. It may even help with Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and obesity.
But Isn’t Coconut Oil a –gasp– Saturated Fat?
It’s time to put away the myths. Coconut and palm oil — mostly imported from Southeast Asia — were still used in hundreds of food products including fast food as late as the 1980s. Corn and soybean companies saw them as competition. They started an ad campaign about dangerous “tropical oils”. Doctors knew better and testified at Senate hearings, but public opinion had been swayed. Hydrogenated vegetable oils were substituted — health-destroying trans fats and all.
The saturated fats in coconut oil are medium and short chain fats. These are more easily digested and don’t have the destructive artery-clogging cholesterol-raising properties of long chain fats. In fact, your body needs some saturated fat in order to survive! You can find books about the chemistry of coconut oil in your library. Now let’s find out how the secrets of coconut oil can benefit you.
Good For Your Mind
Coconut oil doesn’t contain the essential fatty acids that the brain needs to do its work. But it improves the brain’s ability to use the ones you get from other foods. Its antioxidant properties prevent essential fatty acids from oxidizing. Most of the fat in coconut oil is lauric acid, a medium-chain acid that is similar to the fats found in mother’s milk and has many of the same nutrients and immune system boosters.
Scientists are researching coconut oil as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss associated with menopause, and even the ordinary memory problems or “brain fog” that comes with aging.
Good For Your Body
There’s little evidence that coconut oil makes you lose weight without diet or exercise, but a preliminary study indicates that it might increase metabolism. The actual health benefits of coconut oil include its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties which help to fight infections and prevent premature aging. Lauric acid prevents high blood pressure. Along with other acids in coconut oil, lauric acid and is being studied for its effectiveness against viruses and candida.
Coconut oil’s cosmetic benefits are real and numerous. It’s a great hair conditioner and even helps to kill lice. It’s a common ingredient in soaps and body washes, massage oils, baby oils and moisturizing creams. Some treatments for eczema and psoriasis contain coconut oil. Try using it as a liniment for cuts, scrapes and bruises.
Good For the Planet
Coconut oil can be used as a biodiesel fuel. While you can’t just pour it in straight, it doesn’t need the expensive treatments required of other biofuel oils. It’s a great lubricator and also burns more slowly, putting less strain on the engine.
Many so-called weeds are actually wildflowers and useful herbs, but you may still need to get rid of things like ragweed. Look for natural herbicides with acids from coconut oil. They won’t harm you or the environment nearly as much as chemical herbicides.
Test the Secret For Yourself
If you want to test coconut oil’s effect for yourself, add two or three tablespoons to your daily supplement intake. Also begin using it as a cooking oil. You can get coconut oil at any health food store or Asian grocery. It’s beginning to reappear on some mainstream grocery shelves now. Be sure to buy cold pressed or virgin coconut oil. It loses most of its beneficial properties when processed or neutral flavored.