Good oil or bad oil?
Despite the controversies surrounding coconut oil I would like to make you aware of its wonderful benefits. We Goans and those in tropical areas, are very lucky to have these wonder nuts grow and flourish at our door step. In several places, sourcing and consuming coconut oil leaves a size-able dent in one’s wallet.
What does this oil contain?
- More than 90% of coconut oil consists of saturated fats. Don’t panic! It’s not as bad as it sounds, read until the end of this article and your opinion may change.
- Coconut oil has an unusually high amount of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). These are harder for the body to convert into stored fat, and easier to burn off than long-chain triglycerides (LCTs- fat found in many animal products) hence, they are easily converted into energy.
- It also contains traces of a few unsaturated fatty acids, both mono- and poly-unsaturated fatty acids
- Some amounts of vitamins (E and K) and minerals (Iron) are also found in it.
Wondering what coconut oil is good for?
Hair: helps in healthy growth of your hair and gives shine to the strands. It is an excellent conditioner and helps the re-growth process of damaged hair. It provides the essential proteins required for nourishing and healing damaged hair. It makes hair shinier, because it penetrates better than mineral oils.
Healthy skin: It has been found to enhance protective barrier functions and have an anti-inflammatory effect on skin in humans. Hence it also helps speed up the healing process. Coconut oil is an excellent massage oil that acts as an effective moisturizer for all types of skin, including dry skin. It also delays the appearance of wrinkles and sagging of skin. The credit to this benefit goes to its well-known antioxidant properties.
Improving satiety: Research shows that Coconut oil leaves people feeling fuller after eating, so the urge to re-snack or stuff one’s self is reduced. Therefore coconut oil can contribute towards weight loss, of course with additional exercise and diet .
Boosting Immunity : It strengthens the immune system because it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid, which have antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which research has supported as an effective way to deal with viruses and bacteria.
Digestive system: thanks to its microbe fighting abilities, coconut oil keeps our digestive system free from various infections . It also helps in the absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins,minerals, and amino acids.
Bones and dental care: It enhances the absorption of calcium and magnesium, which are necessary for the development of bones and teeth.
Reducing stress: this oil is very soothing. Get a head massage with coconut oil and see how relaxed it makes you feel.
Reducing liver diseases: The presence of medium chain triglycerides and fatty acids in coconut oil helps in preventing liver diseases. This is because they are easily converted into energy when they reach the liver, thus reducing its workload and also preventing accumulation of fat.
Boosts Heart Health: This is a controversial topic. However, there is research that shows coconut oil is good for the heart. Coconut oil Increases HDL ( “good” cholesterol) and does not lead to an increase in LDL (“bad” cholesterol) levels, and it reduces the incidence of injury and damage to arteries and therefore helps in preventing atherosclerosis- or clogged arteries.
So, back to the big question; is coconut oil good or bad?
Here are some tips and my conclusion on the matter:
- please look for virgin coconut oil. Virgin coconut oil is extracted from the fruit of fresh, mature coconuts without using high temperatures or chemicals. It is considered unrefined, and offers many health benefits.
- do not repeatedly re-heat stored/frozen coconut based curries/dishes. Heat only the amount to be consumed.
- when buying coconut oil products, look for natural/bio alternatives rather than packaged or chemically extracted.
I conclude that coconut oil is very safe and healthy for local application-(skin, hair), whereas for edible purpose, it’s great when used in moderation, as with any oil.
Stay healthy through natural choices!
About the Author
Dr. Reecha Raikar is the newest member at the Clinic and has taken on the mantel of Team Co-ordinator. After completing her Bachelor’s in Homoeopathy, she did an intense internship in Pune where Homoeopathy is used in an in-patient facility for the most desperate of cases. Dr. Raikar enjoys the challenge of a difficult and hard to crack case. For consultations, contact her on +91-95273-47242 or firstname.lastname@example.org