Coconut oil has been part of numerous cultures since time immemorial. Not only do history and tradition dictate that coconut oil is beneficial for health, but scientific studies corroborate these findings too.
Here are the top ten evidence-based health benefits of coconut oil:
- Improve cardiac health
One of the most well-known benefits of coconut oil is that it helps to improve the overall health of the heart and the circulatory system. According to a study by Harvard Health, it increases HDL cholesterol, which has a protective effect on the cardiovascular system. It is also known to contain Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) such as lauric acid which does not directly participate in cholesterol production.
- Antimicrobial properties
Lauric acid, which is a key component of coconut oil, forms a component called monolaurin in the body. Both lauric acid and monolaurin have been widely documented in studies for their ability to kill bacteria such as Staphylococcus and fungi such as Candida albicans.
- Improve hair health
Several studies published over the years have confirmed that coconut oil, when applied locally, can prevent hair damage. This not only repairs damage caused to the hair due to the application of heat and other grooming processes but also encourages growth.
- Beneficial effects in dementia
Patients with Alzheimer’s disease and neurodegenerative dementia have also seen cognitive improvement during multiple trials and studies. This has proved that coconut oil may play an active role in progressively stopping the neuronal loss that occurs in patients with dementia.
- Dental care
Studies have also found a scientific basis for the traditional practice of oil pulling or oil swishing therapy, where oil is swished in the mouth. It has been seen that coconut oil, when used in this way, can help in decreasing the formation of plaque and swelling of gums.
- Control of seizures
Due to the presence of MCTs in coconut oil, they are often used as a ketogenic diet for epilepsy. Numerous studies from across the world have shown that the MCT ketogenic diet is useful in the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy, especially in children.
- Weight loss
Consumption of coconut oil helps in relieving hunger pangs and causes a feeling of satiety. It also increases nutrient absorption and improves digestion. Studies have shown that subjects who consume food cooked in coconut oil lose more weight over some time.
- Beneficial effect on the skin
Due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects, coconut oil can help in relieving the symptoms of a plethora of skin diseases such as eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis. It is also evidenced that it can fasten the healing of wounds and lighten scars.
- Boost immunity
Coconut oil is also known to strengthen the immune system. This combined with its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties keeps infection at bay.
- Relieve stress
Coconut oil can also be used as a carrier oil for aromatherapy. It not only has antioxidant properties but also gives relief from stress and fatigue.