You can’t escape the coconut oil craze. People cook with it. They cook for us. It is poured into the coffee and spread on toast. They also smooth the hair, skin and more. Coconut oil can’t be beat!
But just because keto lovers embrace this oil doesn’t mean it’s healthier than others. One thing to keep in mind when eating or cooking with coconut oil is its saturated fat content. Like other solid fats at room temperature, coconut oil is high in saturated fat, which is recommended
by most experts for limiting it in your diet. According to research, most — 90 percent — of the fat in coconut oil is saturated.
While there has been some debate about just how unhealthy saturated fats really are, a 2020 systematic review of 16 clinical studies found that coconut oil causes higher LDL (“bad”) cholesterol than non-tropical vegetable oils. So while it can raise heart-protective cholesterol like HDL, it also raises LDL cholesterol, which has been linked to cardiovascular disease risk.
For this reason, the American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat intake to 13 grams per day. One tablespoon of coconut oil contains about 11 grams of saturated fat, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. This limit is very easy to reach or overcome if you use a lot of coconut oil. It also leaves little room for other dietary sources of saturated fat.
Remember that if you eat coconut oil, it should be one of many oils in your diet, says integrative medicine and women’s health expert Tiernan Low Dog, MD, author of Fortify Your Life: Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals and Also . No need to pile it all over (it has 121 calories per tablespoon, about the same as other oils). Just add it to the rotation with extra virgin olive oil, peanut oil, grapeseed oil, and ghee, he says.
But coconut oil has so many other benefits that even if you enjoy it in moderation, the jar may not last long! Check out these ways to use coconut oil from head to toe.
1.Natural Treatment to Soothe Eczema
If you want to help tame an eczema flare, you can try coconut oil, says Dr. Low Dog. Because of the itchy skin, scratching can potentially introduce staph bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus, which requires antibiotics). On the other hand, “studies have shown that applying [coconut oil] to the skin daily for a month resulted in a 95% reduction in cutaneous staph,” he says. Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, which has antibacterial and antifungal properties that fight harmful bacteria. As a moisturizer, it can also help repair the skin barrier, which is your body’s first line of defense against infection.
2.To cure acne
Among the many other antifungal and antimicrobial properties of coconut oil, early research suggests it may be a reasonable option for patients with mild to moderate skin infections, especially acne vulgaris caused by P. prone or acne-prone, speak with a board-certified dermatologist before using it. to attempt.
3.As a moisturizer
Coconut oil shines when applied to the skin. Coconut oil can be a great natural moisturizer with no added fragrances or other irritating ingredients. “I really like using it locally. Coconut oil compounds are safe and very effective at restoring skin hydration,” says Low Dog. Studies have shown that applying coconut oil to the skin twice daily for two weeks significantly improved skin. safe as other oils.can also use coconut oil to relieve irritation and inflammation Reduce risk of bacterial infections, Low adds Dog When you get out of the shower, warm your legs slightly hands and rub your legs, arms or other rough , dry spots .
4.improves oral health
A technique called oil water (where the oil is rinsed in the mouth) is often performed with olive oil, which has benefited Low Dog patients with gum or plaque problems. But you might want to try it with coconut oil as well.
“There is reason to believe that coconut oil would likely be beneficial for the oral microbiome and oral health in general,” he says. The benefits may be due to lauric acid in coconut oil, which has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that may help prevent tooth decay, according to a 2017 review published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine. The review found that while oil pulling is not a replacement for regular dental care, it does appear to improve oral hygiene when done correctly and regularly.
5.For vaginal health
Although there is little scientific research on the use of coconut oil as a natural lubricant, it is often used this way, says Low Dog. If you use coconut oil as a natural lubricant during sex, be aware that studies have shown that it can affect latex condoms, so it’s best to use a water-based lubricant in that case.
Some women use coconut oil to combat vaginal dryness by applying a small amount of organically refined coconut oil to a mini sanitary pad before bed. “It’s very, very moisturizing for the vagina,” says Low Dog. Not much research has been done on this app, so talk to your doctor before trying it and do a patch first if you have a negative reaction.
There is also preliminary evidence that the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil may help destroy the Candida fungus responsible for yeast infections. An in vitro study found that coconut oil may be as effective as a popular antifungal in this regard, but more human studies are needed. Even this research is still in the early stages, so consult a doctor before trying home treatment.
6.Block athlete’s foot
The same antifungal components in coconut oil, specifically lauric acid and caprylic acid, can help prevent other fungal infections, including athlete’s foot. Preliminary research has found encouraging antifungal activity in these compounds, but more research is needed to determine how safe and effective they may be in humans. But if you hit the gym a lot and are concerned about the risk of athlete’s foot, Low Dog recommends massaging your feet with coconut oil before bed. (Cover your feet with socks because they can be greasy.) As a bonus, you can massage your feet with coconut oil to moisturize them, and heels are usually prone to dry, cracked skin. Remember, the best way to fight yeast infections at the gym is to wear shoes or slippers in the shower and dry your skin thoroughly before putting on socks and shoes.
7.As hair care
According to studies, coconut oil used before or after shampooing can reduce the risk of damage caused by combing the hair. In a study of three oils, it was the only one that reduced protein loss in both intact and damaged hair when used before and after shampooing. One possible explanation: The lauric acid in coconut oil can easily penetrate the hair proteins to protect the hair strands. Use oil sparingly or you may end up looking greasy (even if your brush is well moisturized).
There is also newer research that suggests coconut oil can help fight dandruff. A 2021 study published in Scientific Reports found that coconut oil can help improve the health of the scalp microbiome (possibly due to its antifungal and antimicrobial properties). After the coconut oil treatment, the scalp of dandruff-prone women had an increased number of microbes that were negatively related to dandruff. More research is needed, but the occasional coconut oil hair mask probably won’t hurt.