The popularity of coconut oil has skyrocketed in the Western world over the last several years. However, its many health benefits have been known in other regions of the world as part of their ancient history. Better late than never!
Coconut oil is finally taking center stage, and is much needed in our modern world which contains more environmental and food toxins than ever before.
Coconut oil is being hailed as a super ingredient, superfood, and, lately, a super beauty aid. Add to this that it can be consumed or applied to all ages and it becomes a must-have in anyone’s natural health kit.
Let’s take a look at a mere snapshot of the solutions to common and chronic ailments that can be provided by coconut oil.
- Oral Health – Many natural health practitioners believe that oral health is the very foundation of overall health. Coconut oil has been used as a healthy alternative from toxic commercial toothpastes that contain fluoride. This oil also has been demonstrated to harden enamel, thus reducing the chance of serious dental events. Lastly, due to its antibacterial properties, it serves as a boost toward reducing sores and other infections. Oil pulling with coconut oil is an all-around insurance against tooth decay and debilitating oral health issues.
- Fungal Treatment– The properties of coconut oil have a wide range of anti-fungal uses: topically for athlete’s foot, for example; and also internally with candida and yeast infections. It is a soft and beneficial protection for everyone from serious sports athletes to newborns . . . chemical-free and nutrient dense. For those plagued by candida, which is a group of over 150 species of yeast that can lead to a host of minor and major complications and diseases, a specific Candida Dietincluding coconut oil could bring major relief as “coconut oil contains 3 different fatty acids (Caprylic Acid, Capric Acid, Lauric Acid) that have each been found to be effective against the Candida yeast (see the research studies here and here).”
- Digestive Aid – A number of studies have shown that consumption of coconut oil, which is naturally high in beneficial saturated fats, can alleviate common maladies such as constipation, acid indigestion and acid reflux. Studies also show it to be effective in the much more serious and debilitating afflictions such as ulcertative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Coconut oil contains anti-microbial properties that can reduce infection and inflammation making it ideal for all intestinal and gut-related issues.
- Nutrient Absorption – As a natural digestive aid, coconut oil has been shown to increase vitamin and mineral absorption. In this area, a technical explanation is required, which shows why nutrient absorption is so important in reducing stress on the body, minimizing the likelihood of chronic diseases, and optimizing one’s overall health and longevity … right from the beginning of life:
For at least five decades researchers have recognized that the medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) in coconut oil were digested differently than other fats. This difference has had important applications in the treatment of many digestive and metabolic health conditions and since that time MCFA have been routinely used in hospital and baby formulas.
The digestive health advantages of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA) over long-chain fatty acids (LCFA) are due to the differences in the way our bodies metabolize these fats. Because the MCFA molecules are smaller, they require less energy and fewer enzymes to break them down for digestion. They are digested and absorbed quickly and with minimal effort.
MCFA are broken down almost immediately by enzymes in the saliva and gastric juices so that pancreatic fat-digesting enzymes are not even essential.Therefore, there is less strain on the pancreas and digestive system. This has important implications for patients who suffer from digestive and metabolic problems.
Premature and ill infants especially whose digestive organs are underdeveloped, are able to absorb MCFA with relative ease, while other fats pass through their systems pretty much undigested. People who suffer from malabsorption problems such as cystic fibrosis, and have difficulty digesting or absorbing fats and fat soluble vitamins, benefit greatly from MCFA.
They can also be of importance for people suffering from diabetes, obesity, gallbladder disease, pancreatitis, Crohn’s disease, pancreatic insufficiency, and some forms of cancer. (Source)
- Energy Booster– Coconut oil has demonstrated both short- and long-term energy level benefits both physically and mentally. With increased energy levels and mental focus, workout regimens and daily activity become more productive. This can help immensely in all areas of life. Coconut oil is a key alternative to the energy drink craze which often relies on caffeine as a stimulant, giving a profound short-term boost, but an equally severe energy level crash with some potentially long-term negative side effects. The key component, again, are the medium chain fatty acids which are processed and metabolized faster; and, unlike sugar – natural or processed – this type of fatty acid gives a sustained boost to energy. The fat calories are converted immediately to energy:
Because of this quick production of energy, athletes have been known to use MCFA to enhance their performance and research may back their claims. In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, one group of mice was fed medium chain triglycerides while a control group was fed long chain triglycerides. The study lasted 6 weeks and the mice were given a swimming endurance test every other day. The group that was fed the MCT slowly began to out-perform the control group. (Source)
- Weight Loss – When the body’s digestive system is functioning optimally, absorbing nutrients efficiently, and full of good energy, the body is well-primed for weight loss. Naturally, as we get older, we find that losing weight becomes a greater task as our metabolism declines and organs become increasingly strained. Additionally, blood sugar imbalances can become more frequent, even leading to pre-diabetic or diabetic conditions. The healthy fat properties contained within coconut oil have shown to be effective in stabilizing blood sugar and boosting metabolism, ensuring that the negative fat does not get stored. Some tips for how to prepare coconut oil, as well as the best to use in order to “stomp the weight loss accelerator” can be found HERE.
- Allergy Relief – There are many natural ways to alleviate allergiessuch as hay fever, and coconut oil has emerged as yet another much-needed aid to those who suffer seasonally or chronically. Coconut oil also has been used to counter food allergies. Those who have difficulty with common allergens such as soy, wheat, gluten, peanuts, or dairy can find relief with coconut oil. It should be cautioned, however, that in rare cases people can be allergic to coconut oil, so that possibility cannot be discounted completely.
- Cold and Flu Prevention and Relief – Coconut oil has the trifecta of anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-microbial properties, including lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid. Daily consumption can significantly boost your immunity. By simply replacing butter and cooking oils with coconut oil, you can easily help your body fend off invaders. If a cold or flu does take hold, coconut oil can shorten the duration and soften the overall effects, as it acts like a natural antibiotic. Adding a bit to a smoothie or tea is a perfect way to help get rid of congestion, sore throat, and pain in bones, joints, head and ears.
- Pain Relief – As mentioned above, coconut oil also has essential properties for directly fighting pain. This extends beyond alleviating temporary conditions such as flu, cold, and headaches. The anti-inflammatory elements of coconut oil have been shown to naturally help serious conditions such as arthritis. Arthritis is actually a catch-all term that includes more than 100 associated conditions and symptoms that affect the bones, joints, and surrounding connective tissues. Coconut oil’s ability to alleviate such a wide range of ailments affecting tens of millions of people (300,000 children under the age of 18 in the U.S. alone!), as well as to assist with developing a healthy lifestyle of prevention make this a wonder substance. Yet again, we return to the unique group of fatty acids in coconut oil that can reduce inflammation and pain, while lubricating muscles and joints. However, it is not only ingestion; coconut oil can be used topically to increase blood supply to the affected area and reduce localized pain and swelling. The promotion of circulation and flexibility can help debilitating conditions such as arthritis as well as fibromyalgia. For ingestion dosages, please see the guidelines here.
- Skin Protection: This is clearly the single greatest area where coconut oil has proven to be a wonder substance. In fact the uses reach into the many dozens, but among them are: sun protection and salve, moisturizing lotion, non-irritant deodorant, makeup removal, shaving cream, diaper rash protection and salve, age spot removal, stretch mark reduction, and as a massage oil for easing both surface and muscular tension and pain. Using coconut oil to replace commercial products, which are often heavy with petroleum or are water-logged, is a number one use for this miracle substance.
The range of benefits from coconut oil, internally and externally, can easily eliminate a host of toxic-based medications and “treatments” that are not only expensive to purchase, but costly in their long-term cascade of damaging side effects.
Natural health remedies take a maternal-like instinct to identify and deliver with confidence in it’s benefits. Nurses are the relied upon to carry instincts very similar to those, whether through study and experience or genetic. A RN-BSN nursing degree will go a long way in helping this development and progression.
One particularly important note regarding quality has been offered by one of the early proponents of coconut oil, Kimberly Snyder:
Organic will ensure 100 percent non-GMO, which is also preferable. Coconut oil is best consumed in moderation, in its virgin or unprocessed form. It is vital that we consume coconut oil in a totally unrefined state. If it has been refined in some way, which could include processes such as bleaching or deodorizing, it becomes much harder on our liver.