Consider the coconut. Crack open this fuzzy, hard-shelled tropical fruit and you get a nutrient-rich feast with a host of health benefits. Indeed, the coconut has long been acclaimed not just for its vitalizing water or its sweet kernel, but also for its edible and surprisingly versatile oil. Coconut oil, which is extracted from the fruit’s kernel, is a pretty hot topic these days. The proven benefits from coconut oil, in both food and medicinal applications, almost seem to make the news daily. Consider these uses for coconut oil the next time you’re cooking pastry, searching for a good repellent, moisturizing your skin and more!
Coconut oil increases “good” HDL (high-density lipoprotein): Coconut oil is rich in fat. More than 50 percent of this fat comes from lauric acid, a type of fatty acid that can have a more positive effect on serum lipoprotein levels (comprised of the cholesterol and triglyceride levels in your blood) than other oils. “Good” HDL can mean better cardiovascular health.
Coconut oil for cooking: Coconut oil’s sweet flavor makes it a perfect medium for roasting, frying or sautéing a wide variety of meats and vegetables. It also provides a great flavor-and smell!-enhancing ingredient when added to cakes and other baked confections. Anyone with dietary restrictions (such as vegans) or with dairy-related allergies can substitute melted coconut oil for butter, or room temperature coconut oil for shortening.
Coconut oil as a stain remover: The next time you have a greasy stain, try combining 1 part coconut oil to 8 parts of cleaning solvent (dry) and then dry spotting the stain to help remove it.
Coconut oil for moisturizing skin: The botanical (plant-derived) ingredients in coconut oil helps to preserve your skin’s outer layer, and keep your skin moisturized and firm.
Coconut oil treats atopic dermatitis: One study suggests that applying virgin coconut oil topically can improve the symptoms of atopic dermatitis (eczema), a chronic condition resulting in inflamed, itchy areas of skin.
Coconut oil for preterm baby health: One study suggests that a coconut oil massage can improve growth and help expedite weight gain in preterm babies.
Coconut oil promotes hair health: Coconut oil, when applied to the hair, helps to moisturize hair follicles and protect them from damage caused by combing.
Coconut oil as a mite repellent: Coconut oil, when combined with jojoba, has been shown to help repel scabies mites, or tiny insects that tunnel beneath the skin, breed and then hatch their eggs, which then results in scabies, or a highly contagious rash.
Coconut oil for soap: The high lauric acid content of coconut oil makes it an ideal ingredient for bar soap. Lauric acid contains antibacterial properties, increases soap lather and enhances the hardness of the soap bar.
The applications for coconut oil are many. Whether you use it in a cake, in your hair or to treat a bad case of eczema, you’re sure to benefit from this amazing, sweet smelling tropical oil.
References: http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Health_Letter/2011/May/coconut-oil, http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/articles/Do_skin_creams_deliver.htm, http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=630167, http://www.uvm.edu/~edstudio/Information/april10/products/soapmaking.pdf (lauric acid research), http://www.pjm.microbiology.pl/archive/vol5812009043.pdf (lauric acid research), http://www.human.cornell.edu/fsad/outreach/upload/removingstains.pdf (stain removal)
Originally posted 2013-10-17 15:55:52.