coconut oil uses, benefits and risks

The skinny on coconut oil – uses, benefits and risks

 A look at coconut oil and how it can be used.

Coconut oil has gained large popularity in recent years. With a combination of fatty acids that can be good for our health, coconut oil has a range of uses and health benefits. In this article, we’re taking a look at what coconut oil is, the different uses for it and if there are any risks associated with consuming coconut oil.

 What is coconut oil?

 Coconut oil is the oil extracted from the kernel or meat in mature coconuts. It is harvested from mature coconuts from the coconut palm. The main benefits of coconut oil are due to the combination of healthy saturated fats in the oil. The fats in coconut oil are medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). These fats are shorter than other fats which means they go straight to the liver to be used as a quick source of energy. Store bought varieties of this oil are available in virgin and refined varieties. The virgin variety has a stronger coconut taste and aroma, while the refined varieties have little to no coconut taste or aroma. This is particularly important to remember if you’re cooking with coconut oil.

 Different uses for coconut oil.

There are many uses for coconut oil including cooking and hair and body use. In cooking, coconut oil can be used instead of olive oil or other fats. To try this, add 15 to 30 grams of coconut oil to the pan instead of other oils next time you are cooking. Research shows that consuming MCTs like those found in coconut oil can increase your fat burning ability by 5% over a 24-hour period.

Many people have also been using coconut oil for health and beauty purposes by using it on different parts of their bodies. A few different uses for coconut oil on the body include:

  • Treating dry skin by applying coconut oil on dry areas. Coconut oil could also reduce the symptoms of eczema.
  • Protection against sun damage. Coconut oil can be applied to the hair and skin to block 20% of ultraviolet rays from the sun.
  • To improve your dental health. Using coconut oil like a mouthwash with the process of oil pulling can kill bacteria in the mouth. This can result in better oral health and reduced bad breath.

 The risks of consuming coconut oil:

 Like many other fats, coconut oil is calorie dense. All fats have 9 calories per gram. If you ingest too much coconut oil, you are at risk of consuming too many calories which could result in unwanted weight gain. Instead of adding coconut oil onto what you already eat in a day, try swapping it for other fats you use for cooking each day. Remember, to experience some of the health benefits of coconut oil you may only need to consume 30 grams per day, equivalent to 2 tablespoons. Coconut oil is available to purchase online, in health food stores and most major grocery stores. Organic virgin coconut oil will deliver the most health benefits compared to refined coconut oil.

Helpful resources:

  1. A randomized double-blind controlled trial comparing extra virgin coconut oil with mineral oil as a moisturizer for mild to moderate xerosis. Dermatitis. 2004 Sep;15(3):109-16.
  2.  Coconut oil and palm oil’s role in nutrition, health and national development: A review. Ghana Med J. 2016 Sep; 50(3): 189–196.
  3. Effects of medium-chain triglycerides on weight loss and body composition: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Mumme K and Stonehouse W. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015 Feb;115(2):249-63. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2014.10.022.
  4. Effect of oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans count in plaque and saliva using Dentocult SM Strip mutans test: A randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. Asokan S, Rathan J, Muthu M S, Rathna PV, Emmadi P, Raghuraman, Chamundeswari. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent.

Author: HealthyLife | Posted on: August 14, 2018

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