I’m sure many of you avid readers of our blog have already sunk your teeth into our expose on Superfoods to help you fit into your latest sexy swimwear piece. So we wanted to give you a little update on the newest addition to our superfoods list.: Coconut Oil! It’s been all over the news and all up in everyone’s grill (literally, just wait for it), so we wanted to break down the benefits of coconut oil and see if it’s worth the fuss.
First things first, what is coconut oil? Coconut oil is an edible oil extracted from the kernel or meat of matured coconuts harvested from the coconut palm. So think of that fleshy, delicious white part inside a coconut. Now picture wringing it out like a wet towel, and everything you get out of that is coconut oil.
So, let’s talk health benefits. The news has been raving about coconut oil as a huge health booster, but whenever something is overly publicized we get a little skeptical. (Remember the low-fat food craze that ended up being all genetically modified products? Yep). We did some extensive research and found a few of the perks that coconut oil has to offer.
1. Your SKIN
We weren’t joking when we said sexy swimwear included. Coconut oil is said to have a variety of purposes that go way beyond eating or ingesting. Many people are using coconut oil for cosmetic purposes, to improve their overall health or physical appearance. Studies have been shown for people with dry skin, that applying coconut oil regularly helps improve the moisture and lipid content of the skin. So the next time you’re about to step into the sun in your new two piece, make sure you’re skin is soft and smooth. And speaking of sun….
2. Your HAIR
Coconut oil is said to have amazing benefits when it comes to your hair. When applied topically, coconut oil is protective against hair damage. So it’ll keep your locks luscious and light. PLUS, another study has shown coconut oil to have similar properties to sunscreen. That when applied to the skin, it is said to block about 20% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays! Now, this doesn’t mean coconut oil is an alternative to sunscreen, so don’t later and lay if that’s what you’re thinking.
3. Your MOUTH
Our mouths can be cesspools of bacteria sometimes. I know, it’s gross, but true. Most people aren’t using mouthwash on a regular basis, nor are they flossing, so the bacteria may linger for longer. A new study shows that with the process called oil pulling we can all kill some of the harmful bacteria in the mouth, improve dental health, and reduce bad breath. Oil pulling is an ancient remedy when coconut oil is swished or held in the mouth. It’s practitioners claim that it pulls the toxins from one’s body and disposes of them naturally. Also, it’s said to whiten your teeth in the meantime.
4. Your CHOLESTEROL
Coconut oil is loaded with saturated fats. This used to be considered a bad thing. However, due to recent studies, saturated fats do not harm the blood lipid profile. Saturated fats raise HDL (the good) cholesterol. In a study of 40 women, coconut oil lowered total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol, while raising HDL. This improvement in cardiovascular risk factors should theoretically lead to a reduced risk of heart disease over the long term.
5. Your ENERGY
Obesity is an issue for Americans, and with good reason. It is currently one of the biggest health concerns in the world. People are saying a calorie is a calorie and we should just consume less. But this isn’t true. Different foods and different calories affect our bodies in different ways. The medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil can increase energy expenditure compared to the same amount of calories from longer chain fats. So consuming coconut oil versus consuming a hamburger, will result in different energy expenditures. One study found that 15-30 grams of MCTs per day increased 24 hour energy expenditure by 5%, totaling about 120 calories per day. Imagine burning an extra 120 calories per day! Your bikini dreams will become a reality.
Overall, we still have a lot to learn about coconut oil, but the studies are proving to be worthy of giving it a shot. Have your own tips and tricks with this all natural superfood? Share in the comments below.