It’s impossible to escape the coconut oil fever. With it, people are baking. They’re using it for cooking. They spread it over their toast and pour it into their coffee. They are rubbing it into their skin, hair, and other areas. It looks like coconut oil can accomplish anything!
But just because this oil is popular among keto dieters doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better for you than other types. When consuming or cooking with coconut oil, it’s important to bear in mind that it contains saturated fats. Coconut oil, like other solid at room temperature fats, is heavy in saturated fat, the kind of fat that most health experts advise reducing in the diet. According to study, 90 percent of the fat in coconut oil is saturated.
While the healthfulness of saturated fat has been debated, a systematic evaluation of 16 clinical trials, published in 2020, found that using coconut oil raises LDL (“bad”) cholesterol more than using nontropical plant oils. As a result, while it may increase HDL, the LDL cholesterol associated to an increased risk of heart disease is also increased.
The American Heart Association advises reducing your daily consumption of saturated fat to 13 grammes because of this. The US Department of Agriculture estimates that 11 grammes of saturated fat are included in one tablespoon of coconut oil. If you use coconut oil excessively, it’s rather simple to reach or go over that limit. Additionally, it doesn’t leave much room in your diet for other sources of saturated fat.
According to Tieraona Low Dog, MD, an expert in integrative medicine and women’s health and the author of Fortify Your Life: Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and More, coconut oil should be one of many oils you consume. There’s no need to overdo it (it does contain 121 calories per tablespoon, about the same as other oils). Put it in a rotation with ghee, grapeseed oil, peanut oil, and extra-virgin olive oil, she advises.
But even if you use coconut oil sparingly, there are so many other advantages that a container might not last long! Check out these applications for coconut oil from head to toe.
1. As an all-natural remedy for eczema:
According to Dr. Low Dog, coconut oil may be helpful in controlling an eczema flare-up. Scratching irritated skin could possibly spread staph bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus, which requires antibiotics). Conversely, she notes that “research revealed that using [coconut oil] daily to your skin for a month resulted to a 95% reduction in staph on the skin.” Lauric acid, which is abundant in coconut oil and has antibacterial and antifungal properties, helps combat dangerous microorganisms. The barrier of your skin, which serves as your body’s first line of protection against infection, may be repaired using its moisturising properties.
2. As a method of treating acne:
Early study suggests that coconut oil may be “a reasonable choice for patients with mild to severe skin infections, especially acne vulgaris caused by P. acnes,” in addition to the many other advantages of its antifungal and antibacterial qualities. Research has shown that coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties, may shield the skin from UV rays, and may improve the skin’s natural function as a barrier against environmental irritants. However, coconut oil, like all other oils, is comedogenic, which means it can clog pores. Therefore, before using it if you have sensitive skin or are prone to acne, get advice from a board-certified dermatologist.
3. As a Moisturizer:
When applied to your skin, coconut oil truly glows. Coconut oil is a fantastic natural hydrator because it doesn’t have any added aroma or other potentially irritating additives. “I really like applying it topically. According to Low Dog, the ingredients in coconut oil can safely and effectively replenish skin’s moisture. Coconut oil was proven to be equally safe as other oils and to considerably increase skin moisture when applied to skin twice daily for two weeks. Low Dog continues, “You can use coconut oil to reduce the risk of bacterial infections and to soothe irritation and inflammation.” Heat some in your hands and apply it to your skin after getting out of the shower.
4. To Improve Oral Health:
It has helped Low Dog’s patients with gum issues or plaque overgrowth to use the oil pulling technique, which involves swishing olive oil around in the mouth. However, you might also want to give coconut oil a shot.
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There is some evidence that coconut oil may be advantageous to dental health in general and the oral microbiota in particular, according to the expert. Lauric acid, which has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities that may help prevent the development of dental cavities, may be the cause of the advantages, claims a review article that was published in 2017 in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine. While oil pulling cannot take the place of routine dental care, when done appropriately and frequently, it does seem to improve oral cleanliness, according to the review.
5. To Promote Vaginal Health:
Even though there isn’t much scientific evidence supporting the usage of coconut oil as a natural lubricant, Low Dog notes that it is regularly done thus. It’s better to use a water-based lubricant in that situation if you’re using coconut oil as a natural lubricant because studies has shown that it can break down latex condoms.
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Some women put a tiny amount of organic refined coconut oil to a micro pad before bed to assist alleviate vaginal dryness. According to Low Dog, “it’s very, very moisturising to the vagina.” Because there isn’t much study on this application, you should talk to your doctor before using it and perform a patch test beforehand in case you have a negative reaction.
Additionally, preliminary research suggests that the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil may aid in the eradication of Candida, the fungus that causes yeast infections. Additional human trials are required, however an in vitro study suggests that coconut oil may be just as effective in this area as a well-known antifungal drug. Again, since this research is still in its early stages, you should speak with a doctor before trying any at-home remedies.
6. In order to avoid athlete’s foot:
Athlete’s foot may be prevented by the same antifungal properties of coconut oil, notably lauric and caprylic acid. Although preliminary research has showed these chemicals to have encouraging antifungal action, more studies are required to evaluate whether they will be safe and effective for use in people. However, Low Dog advises massaging coconut oil into your feet before bed if you frequently work out in the gym and are concerned about the possibility of developing athlete’s foot. (Because it could be greasy, cover up with socks.) A added benefit of using coconut oil to your feet is that it will hydrate them, as dry, cracked skin is more common on the heels.Remember that wearing shoes or slippers while taking a shower and completely drying your skin before putting on your socks and shoes are the greatest strategies to prevent gym fungal infections.
7. In help to treat hair:
According to study, coconut oil can help lower the chance of hair damage when used either before or after washing. When used before and after washing hair, it was the only oil out of three studied to lessen protein loss for both healthy and damaged hair. One rationale is that coconut oil’s lauric acid can quickly permeate hair proteins to help shield your locks. Just be careful not to overuse the oil or you can end up appearing oily (even though your mane will be well moisturized).
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Recent studies have also suggested that coconut oil may help treat dandruff. Coconut oil may benefit the health of the scalp microbiome, according to a 2021 Scientific Reports study (possibly because of its antifungal, antimicrobial properties). Women who were prone to dandruff who had coconut oil applied to their scalps experienced an increase in microorganisms that were adversely associated to dandruff. The occasional coconut oil hair mask definitely won’t hurt, but more research is required.
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