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Updated 20 August 2014

7 reasons to use coconut oil

Whether you’re followingTim Noakes' advice on eating carbs or not, coconut oil should be a staple in your diet. Here are some reasons why.

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From the kitchen to the bedroom, coconut oil has a number of health benefits that go beyond just weight loss.

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Thanks to the current Banting and Paleo styles of eating, popularised by Professor Tim Noakes, coconut oil has made a comeback. But what is it about coconut oil that makes it such a super food?

Read: 10 Golden rules of Banting

Coconut oil is one of the richest sources of saturated fat, with 90% of its calories as saturated fat. It contains a unique composition of fatty acids and is highly resistant to oxidation at high heat, making it an ideal oil for high-heat cooking such as frying.

It also contains medium chain triglycerides that are transported directly from the digestive tract to the liver and provide a quick source of energy. However, it is the presence of the fatty acid known as lauric acid, that gives coconut oil most of its super health benefits.

Read: Coconut meat, milk: healthy or not?

Seven reasons why coconut oil is a super food

1. Weight loss
Coconut oil is easy to digest and has been shown to slow the rate of digestion, which stabilises our blood sugar and helps us feel fuller for longer. It also increases metabolism which eases pressure on the pancreas, and in so doing burns more energy.

Read: Updates on the latest in weightloss

2. Healthy heart
The lauric acid in coconut oil has been shown to prevent some heart problems such as high cholesterol. While it is high in saturated fats, which are usually associated with high cholesterol, the saturated fats in coconut oil do not increase the LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol levels and can actually protect the arteries and reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.

3. Boosting immunity
Coconut oil is bursting with antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties from the antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acids it contains.

The lauric acid is converted into monolaurin which has been shown to fight off some nasty viruses and bacterias, such as herpes, influenza, and even HIV.

According to the US Coconut Research Center, coconut oil kills the viruses that cause influenza, measles, hepatitis, herpes, SARS, and other serious conditions.

It also kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and gonorrhoea.

4. Stress buster
Using coconut oil as a massage oil will not only moisturise your skin – when used to massage your scalp it can help fight mental fatigue.

5. Hair care
Using coconut oil on your hair can not only help encourage growth of new hair, but gives it a healthy shine. Use it as a conditioner and massage it into your scalp to prevent dandruff and even lice.

6. Healthy bones and teeth
Coconut oil can assist the body to absorb minerals such as calcium and magnesium from the foods we eat, which in turn promote stronger, healthier bones, which may ward off osteoporosis later in life. This can also protect the teeth, as properties in the coconut oil can stop tooth decay.

7. Skin care
Using coconut oil on the skin can form a chemical barrier on the skin and ward off infection. It has also been known to alleviate the symptoms associated with skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis by supporting the natural chemical balance of the skin.

Read: How to get the best skin ever

In people with normal skin it can soften the skin, relieve dryness and flaking and even prevent wrinkles and age spots.

Read more:

Coconut oil may combat tooth decay

Benefits of Caprylic acid
How to shop for olive oil

Sources: Ncbi; Coconut Research Centre; Authority Nutrition; Organic Facts

Image: Shutterstock
 
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