Coconut is one of the most important foods in some tropical and subtropical countries, with the coconut tree being referred to as the ‘tree of life’. In such places, coconut and its products (milk and oil, among others) are used in daily life by the general population for several purposes, such as cooking, hair and skin treatment, food ingredient, and folk medicine This plant is cultivated in more than 90 countries, yielding a total production of 59 million tons in the year of 2016. The production of coconut is heavily located in Asia, which was responsible for 83.8 percent of the world’s coconut production in 2016. In this same year, Indonesia was the largest coconut producer with 16.6 million tons, followed by the Philippines (14.1 million tons), India (9.8 million tons), Brazil (2.5 million tons), and Sri Lanka (2.2 million tons)
Studies on Coconut Oil and Its Health Effects
Coconut oil is made by pressing the fat from the white “meat” inside the giant nut. About 84% of its calories come from saturated fat. To compare, 14% of olive oil’s calories are from saturated fat and 63% of butter’s are.
“This explains why, like butter and lard, coconut oil is solid at room temperature with a long shelf life and the ability to withstand high cooking temperatures,” says registered dietitian Lisa Young, PhD. And it’s the reason coconut oil has a bad rap from many health officials.
But there may be a saving grace. Coconut oil’s saturated fat is made up mostly of medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs. Some people say your body handles them differently than the longer-chain fats in liquid vegetable oils, dairy, and fatty meats.
Coconut oil can also positively affect our hormones for thyroid and blood-sugar control. People who take coconut oil also tend to have improvements in how they handle blood sugar since coconut can help improve insulin use within the body. Coconut oil can boost thyroid function helping to increase metabolism, energy and endurance. It increases digestion and helps to absorb fat-soluble vitamins.
Can coconut oil reduce cholesterol?
Coconut oil has a saturated fat called lauric acid, a type of MCT. It has been shown that lauric acid increases the good HDL cholesterol in the blood to help improve cholesterol ratio levels. Coconut oil lowers cholesterol by promoting its conversion to pregnenolone, a molecule that is a precursor to many of the hormones our bodies need. Coconut can help restore normal thyroid function. When the thyroid does not function optimally, it can contribute to higher levels of bad cholesterol.
How does coconut help keep the weight balanced?
Coconut fats have special fats called medium-chain triglycerides. It has been shown that breaking down these types of healthy fats in the liver leads to efficient burning of energy. One 2009 study
sticking to coconut oil uses beauty and health in particular. After you read this list, you’ll definitely want to head to your local grocery store, pick up a jar, and allow this list to help you get creative with coconuts.
May boost heart health
study noted that the population of Tokelau, an island chain in the South Pacific, obtained over 60% of their calories from coconuts. Researchers reported not only good overall health but also very low rates of heart disease
- Makeup Remover: Even the most resistant waterproof mascara doesn’t stand a chance against coconut oil. Apply it directly to the face as an oil cleanser, or let it sit on your skin with a cotton pad. Makeup will melt away.
- Breath Freshener: Coconut oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties. Gargling for 20 minutes with a spoonful of oil (AKA oil pulling) can help clear up germs in the mouth, leading to fresher breath, whiter teeth, and healthier gums.
- Lice Remedy: Start this all-natural lice treatment with a rinse of apple cider vinegar. Once the vinegar has dried, apply coconut oil to the entire head and let it sit for 12 to 24 hours. Brush through hair with a fine comb, then shampoo.
- Body Moisturizer: Sweet-smelling coconut oil is rich in fatty acids, making it an effective moisturizer, and it absorbs quickly, explains cosmetic chemist Ni’Kita Wilson. That’s really key, because it means that the oil makes your skin look more glowy than lotion-y — which is why it’s a favorite of models like Frida Gustavsson, who has worked with Dior, Chanel, and Valentino. “It makes your skin soft and radiant,” she told Allure.
- Face Moisturizer: Just as you can use it on your body, you can use coconut oil on your face to moisturize your skin. It’s particularly effective as a primer to soften the skin before applying makeup. It’ll give you a glowy, dewy look after you apply your foundation.
- Makeup Brush Cleaner: Cleaning your makeup brushes should be a monthly ritual. You can use a DIY cleanser that’s two parts antibacterial soap and one part coconut oil.
- Lip Balm: Coconut oil is the ideal remedy for chapped lips especially because it’s semisolid at room temperature. Pack a bit in a miniature jar and smooth over lips throughout the day.
- Tinted Lip Gloss: Take your coconut oil lip balm to the next level by turning it into tinted gloss. It’s as simple as you might imagine: mix up coconut oil with bits of an old lipstick, or combine coconut oil with a berry-flavored Kool Aid or Emergen-C packet.
- Under Eye Cream: Don’t want to spend the extra money on eye cream? Use a dab of coconut oil on under eye bags and fine lines. It’s light enough for the most delicate skin on your face.
- Body Scrub: Mix half a cup of coconut oil with a handful of coarse salt or sugar to create an exfoliator. The moisturizing oil will last long after the grains have melted away.
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