Go Nuts for Coconut Oil

By Alvin Cheam; First Year Project Manager

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I am not sure about you, but I have always been a huge fan of coconuts. Growing up, I would always buy coconuts to drink from them, or I would eat any snacks that were coconut-flavored. It was not until just recently that I discovered that there are so many benefits in coconut other than its diet. Well, it is rather the coconut oil that is the real “superfood” that should be used in our daily regimen.

Coconut oil is extracted from the Coconut Palm trees. When the oil is a fresh coconut and does not undergo any chemical processing, it is called Virgin Coconut Oil. There is a fatty acid in Virgin Coconut Oil called lauric acid that promotes antibacterial, antioxidant, and antimicrobial activities. Also, lauric acid in coconut oil has various health benefits, including fats being less likely to be stored in the body as fat and more readily used as a source of energy. It can be used both internally and externally, making it very versatile. For instance, it can be used as cooking oil but is also a key ingredient for soap, hair products, health supplements, cosmetics, and it functions well as a skin moisturizer.

It is true that coconut oil has a higher saturated fat content and could lead to an increase in “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, there are still some added benefits to using coconut oil. The raising of LDL cholesterol levels can increase the risk of heart disease, however, coconut oil raises the “good” HDL cholesterol and contains many antioxidants and other substances that promote health. There have not been many studies on coconut oil to examine the long-term effects of its use, but it is best recommended to use it sparingly when consuming it with food. There are no known side effects, however, if you have any stomach issues or consume too much coconut oil, it may cause nausea. If you are worried about consuming coconut oil, start out with a very small amount to see if there are any issues.

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For health purposes, it is recommended to take up to two tablespoons of coconut oil each day. It can certainly be accomplished since it can be used like butter on bread, added to baked good, or used to sauté your pot. The guidelines of how many tablespoons of coconut to take is not a hard-set rule. If you are a larger person, you may require more. A smaller person or child may need much less coconut oil.

How would I put coconut oil on myself? Coconut oil makes great moisturizers! Just take a small amount of coconut oil and gently massage it either on your face, hands, feet or anywhere else on your body. When you first apply it, there will be a greasy feeling, but that is the oil penetrating through your skin and after a few minutes, the greasy feel will be replaced by a nice, soft texture. In addition to applying on skin, coconut oil could also help moisturize your hair and scalp. If you have dry, thin hair along with dandruff, coconut oil works amazingly well to boost the natural oils in your hair and scalp. You would need a very small amount of the solid oil between your hands, rub them together, and then work it in your hair and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing with water. The oil will make your hair smooth and silky, prevent dandruff, and also tame the frizz in your hair.

References:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/coconut-oil

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4892314/

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-29851/how-much-coconut-oil-should-you-actually-be-eating.html

http://www.homeremediesweb.com/coconut-oil-health-benefits.php

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20855271,00.html#hair-mask-0

Images:

https://pixabay.com/en/coconut-oil-oil-white-glass-jar-2535272/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coconut-oil

https://www.thepagemagazine.com/2017/10/19/composition-uses-coconut-oil/

 

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