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April 23, 2015

Coconut Oil: Should You Crazy With It?

coconut oil, substitutes for cooking with butter
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Uses of Coconut Oil

The health benefits of coconut oil have been touted in the news and coconut oil uses keep expanding. We are going to focus on the health benefits of coconut oil here. Oil from coconuts can be taken internally or applied externally making it rather versatile. Is coconut oil good for you? Let’s count the ways.

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

  • It is is antimicrobial.
  • It is a rapid source of energy.
  • Can be used in cooking and baking.
  • Can be used as beauty and personal care products.
  • Possesses oral health benefits.

Coconut Oil as an Antimicrobial

Coconut oil is high in lauric acid. It contains more lauric acid than any substance on the this planet. Lauric acid gets converted into monolaurin that can destroy microbes with lipid coats like HIV, herpes, and influenza as well as gram-negative bacteria, measles, and giardia.

It has been used to treat ear infections by placing a couple drops in the ear canal. Coconut oil can be mixed with oregano oil or tea tree oil and be used to treat fungal skin infections like athlete’s foot and ringworm.

One study found that coconut oil and anise was twice as effective in treating head lice than permethrin the most commonly prescribed lotion used for head lice.

Source of Energy

Coconut oil is made up of easily digestible medium chain fatty acids that cross the cell membranes easily. In the liver these medium chain fatty acids are immediately converted into energy and not stored as fat. Eating a spoonful of coconut oil can provide and energy boost without the spike in insulin that occurs from simple sugars. Or, you can simply add it to your food.

Adding it to coffee or tea is an easy way to get more coconut oil into your diet while providing that energy boost. It also enhances absorption of fat-soluble vitamins; vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Cooking and Baking

You can substitute coconut oil into cooking and baking recipes providing another way to get more of it into your diet. It does not go rancid giving your homemade goods a longer shelf-life, and it can withstand high cooking temperatures unlike olive oil.

Beauty and Personal Care Products

Perhaps the biggest area of use for coconut oils is in the beauty and personal care product area. Coconut oil can be used as:

  • a makeup remover
  • facial cleanser
  • body and facial scrub
  • pre-shampoo conditioner
  • shaving lotion
  • face and body moisturizer
  • eye cream
  • deodorant
  • bath soak
  • soap
  • toothpaste
  • even as an insect repellant

Oil from coconut can be mixed with baking soda to make a scrub or as a toothpaste. Remember is has antibacterial action. It can be applied directly to the armpits as a deodorant or mixed with small amounts of baking soda. When used as a facial moisturizer coconut oil can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Oral Health Benefits

The mouth is a big source of inflammation. So good oral and dental care is essential to general health. Heart disease rates are higher in individuals with poor oral health as inflammation is at the root of most diseases including heart disease.

Again, coconut oils combined with baking soda can be used as a toothpaste but coconut oil alone can also be used as an oil pulling agent and reduce the build up of plaque. Basically, you swish coconut oil in your mouth for several minutes (typically 15 minutes) working it around the teeth and then spit it out as it will be filled with bacteria.

Coconut oil can also be used to treat oral thrush.

In addition, oil from coconut can be used for vaginal dryness and be used to treat bug bites and bee stings.

So there you have it – all the coconut oil uses and applications.


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Dr. Joe Jacko

Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio at Grandview Primary Care. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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