We normally associate coconuts with tropical islands, palm trees and fancy drinks, but did you know how many health benefits coconuts actually have?
This superfood contains a variety of essential nutrients that may optimise your health in a number of ways. Aside from being a great (and tasty) source of fibre, vitamins, minerals and amino acids, here are six benefits you should really know.
Skin Care and Anti-aging
It is often said that superfoods are known to help you live a long and healthy life. This is because it contains antioxidants that fight the free radicals and help provide a nice glow.
As dermatologist Dr. David Bank explains to Bustle, “Oxidation is one of the main reasons for skin aging, and coconut oil may help reduce the free radical damage.”
He also explains how the high levels of Vitamin E may be used to smooth out your lines and wrinkles as an anti-aging technique or as a protective makeup remover (which is what recent Academy Award winner Emma Stone does due to her allergies, according to an interview with Vogue).
Lower stress and anxiety
There’s nothing like the sweet aroma of coconut that burns from the candle in your living room. While keeping your home warm and welcoming, it may do wonders for your mental health.
According to Good Therapy, there have been various tests to suggest coconut may be able to provide aromatherapy treatment to those suffering from stress and anxiety. It may halt the fear factor when faced with a stressful situation with its “pleasant scent”.
Helps boost metabolism and immunity
As a type of ‘healthy fat’, coconut contains medium-chain triglycerides. Huffington Post reports on claims suggesting that the small size of these triglycerides burn faster during the metabolising process, and could help your body process other fats into energy.
According to Body and Soul, a study claimed that two spoonfuls of coconut oil a day allowed their participants to burn more kilojoules. This superfood, in turn, may also be able to strengthen the immune system and fight against harmful diseases.
Treats skin disorders
According to Prevention, coconut oil has “antibacterial and antifungal” properties, which it why it may be good for your skin. It is particularly used as a moisturiser, being a prime ingredient in a variety of beauty products. This occurs because coconuts contain essential fatty acids, which work to help soften and smooth out the skin.
People with skin disorders, such as eczema and dermatitis, require products that will add moisture to their severely dry skin. Coconut oil has been said to be a great way to treat it naturally. A 2014 study that compared the effects of coconut oil and mineral oil on atopic dermatitis after eight weeks of application claimed that almost 95% of the participants that used the coconut oil had either moderate or excellent results following treatment (Evangalista, Abad-Casintahan and Lopez-Villafuerte, 2014).
Helps keep your teeth and hair clean and healthy
It doesn’t stop at your skin. Oil pulling has been popular way of cleaning your teeth and gums, using a mouthful of coconut oil to pull the bacteria out. The trick is to swish some coconut oil around in your mouth for at least five minutes before spitting it out. The fatty acids may also help to keep your teeth white and shiny.
Your hair may also benefit from coconut oil. A study into the effects of different oils on hair, it was suggested that the prime example of a lauric acid “had a high affinity for hair proteins”. In addition to this, the lightweight oil was the most effective in “penetrating the hair shaft” (Rele and Mohile, 2002).
Author - Jessica Testa
Evangelista, M. T. P., Abad‐Casintahan, F., & Lopez‐Villafuerte, L. (2014). The effect of topical virgin coconut oil on SCORAD index, transepidermal water loss, and skin capacitance in mild to moderate pediatric atopic dermatitis: a randomized, double‐blind, clinical trial. International journal of dermatology, 53(1), 100-108.
Rele, A. S., & Mohile, R. B. (2002). Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage. Journal of cosmetic science, 54(2), 175-192.