Uses And Health Benefits Of Coconut Oil

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Uses For Coconut Oil
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Here is a list of some of the astonishing array of benefits of coconut oil, as reported by scientific studies.

Antibacterial And Antifungal Effects: Coconut oil has antibacterial properties. A study has found that coconut oil stopped the growth of Clostridium difficile bacteria in the intestine [1]. Another study has found it effective in fighting yeast that was attributed to lauric acid, the main fatty acid in coconut oil [2].

Increase In Metabolism: Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) fatty acids that are quickly absorbed. Coconut oil can significantly boost metabolic rate and a study has found that 15-30 grams of (MCTs) increased the number of calories burned on an average of 120 [3].

Protects Skin: Coconut oil can be applied topically on the skin to protect from ultraviolet rays of the sun, which can cause skin cancers. According to one interesting study, coconut oil can block 20% of the sun’s rays! [4] It also avoids potential toxic ingredients common to many sunscreen products, though we cannot of course make a medical recommendation to avoid the use of sunscreen.

Eczema: Coconut oil can improve dermatitis and other skin disorders. In a study that involved children with eczema, 47% of children treated with coconut oil reported improvements [5].

Improves Brain Function: Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil are broken down into ketones, which are a “fuel” source for the brain. Several studies have found benefits of coconut oil in brain disorders including epilepsy and Alzheimer’s [6].

Increase Good Cholesterol: Multiple studies have confirmed that coconut oil increases the level of good ‘HDL’ cholesterol and reduces weight [7].

Improves Bone Health: Coconut oil is rich in antioxidants, that can protect bone from free radicals damage.

Dental Health: Coconut oil kills bacteria in the mouth and significantly reduces inflammation and plaques in teenagers with gingivitis [8].

Note On Quality Of Coconut Oil: Not all coconut oil is the same! A good quality coconut oil will typically be cold-pressed and organic. However the age of the oil matters, as do factors such as storage conditions. Cool, dark and dry is the mantra. A good coconut oil should smell and taste fresh and ‘coconutty’. Comparing different brands will reveal that some have better taste than others. Of course it’s unlikely that you can open it until purchased, but you can compare brands once purchased and then settle on a good one to become your ‘staple’.

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[1] Shilling, M., et al., Antimicrobial effects of virgin coconut oil and its medium-chain fatty acids on Clostridium difficile. J Med Food, 2013. 16(12): p. 1079-85.

[2] Shino, B., et al., Comparison of Antimicrobial Activity of Chlorhexidine, Coconut Oil, Probiotics, and Ketoconazole on Candida albicans Isolated in Children with Early Childhood Caries: An In Vitro Study. Scientifica (Cairo), 2016. 2016: p. 7061587.

[3] Dulloo, A.G., et al., Twenty-four-hour energy expenditure and urinary catecholamines of humans consuming low-to-moderate amounts of medium-chain triglycerides: a dose-response study in a human respiratory chamber. Eur J Clin Nutr, 1996. 50(3): p. 152-8.

[4] Korać, R.R. and K.M. Khambholja, Potential of herbs in skin protection from ultraviolet radiation. Pharmacogn Rev, 2011. 5(10): p. 164-73.

[5] Evangelista, M.T., F. Abad-Casintahan, and L. Lopez-Villafuerte, The effect of topical virgin coconut oil on SCORAD index, transepidermal water loss, and skin capacitance in mild to moderate pediatric atopic dermatitis: a randomized, double-blind, clinical trial. Int J Dermatol, 2014. 53(1): p. 100-8.

[6] Neal, E.G., et al., A randomized trial of classical and medium-chain triglyceride ketogenic diets in the treatment of childhood epilepsy. Epilepsia, 2009. 50(5): p. 1109-17.

[7] Liau, K.M., et al., An open-label pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of virgin coconut oil in reducing visceral adiposity. ISRN Pharmacol, 2011. 2011: p. 949686.

[8] Peedikayil, F.C., P. Sreenivasan, and A. Narayanan, Effect of coconut oil in plaque related gingivitis – A preliminary report. Niger Med J, 2015. 56(2): p. 143-7.

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