Five Benefits Of Coconut You May Not Be Aware Of
1. This Saturated Fat is Actually Pretty Good For You
Rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, the naturally occurring saturated fat in coconut oil has been shown to improve heart heath, boost thyroid function, increase metabolism, and support your immune system. Not all saturated fats are created equal – many South Pacific Islanders whose total caloric intake consists of 30 to 60 percent unrefined coconut oil consistently show nearly non-existent rates of cardiovascular disease.
2. Cooking with Coconut Oil Helps to Eliminate Trans Fats From Your Diet
Although the heart-healthy monounsaturated fats in olive oil may make for a great salad dress, the oil should not be used for cooking – its chemical structure actually makes it susceptible to oxidative damage when heat is introduced. Unrefined coconut oil, on the other hand is not genetically modified like 90 percent of other vegetable oils such as soy, corn, and canola. It’s high smoke point – 350 degrees for unrefined virgin oil and 450 degrees for refined oil – makes it much easier to cook with as well.
3. Your Hair and Skin Will Love It
These healthy fats not only nourish your body, they’re also extremely beneficial to your hair and skin as well. When applied topically to coat the hair, the anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties of coconut oil moisturize the scalp, hydrate each hair follicle and ensure your scalp is free of dandruff, lice and lice eggs. It’s also a great moisturizer for dry skin, preventing flakes and treating conditions like psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, and other skin infections with its soothing properties. The anti-oxidants present in the oil can even help to prevent premature aging.
DIY Hot Oil Hair Treatment: In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt ¼ cup unrefined virgin coconut oil (for topical application we love Artisana’s 100 percent Organic Raw Extra Virgin Coconut Oil; $10.99 at Whole Foods Market locations) in a bowl for 30-40 seconds. Apply liberally to coat the hair (use more if necessary) and wrap head with saran wrap to allow the oil to sink into the hair shaft. Leave on for at least 30 minutes. Rinse well, shampoo if necessary, and condition as usual.
4. It’s a Better Sports Drink Than You Realize
The only natural substance that can actually be injected into the human bloodstream, coconut water has been hailed for its effectiveness as a natural sports drink. It contains essential electrolytes like sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium and phosphorus, all beneficial to the human body for pre- or post-workout recovery. Coconut water also replenishes and rehydrates with more potassium than one banana or 15 sports drinks. The super-drink also boasts zero fat, zero cholesterol and zero added sugars.
5. It Makes a Fabulous Soy-Free and Dairy-Free Alternative to Milk
Looking to go dairy free? Coconut milk is soy-free nondairy alternative milk that’s lower in calories and natural sugars than traditional dairy milks and soymilk. Not only is it delicious in your morning whole-grain cereals, it adds creaminess to coffee, works in recipes as a milk substitute, and tastes great from even a glass. It’s rich in medium chain fatty acids, which are readily absorbed, digested and utilized as energy by the body. With only around 50 calories per cup for the unsweetened variety, this beverage also contains 50 percent of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin B12 – essential for proper function of the brain and nervous system.