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Everything You Wanted to Know About Coconut Oil

 What Is Coconut Oil?
What Is Coconut Oil?

Once criticized for its saturated-fat content, coconut oil is now taking center stage making superfood status.

Coconut oil, derived from the fleshy “meat” of the coconut, was seen as an alternative to other cooking oils a few years ago because of the health benefits from coconut.

There’s something unique about the saturated fat found in the tropical oil: It’s rich in a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT), also known as a fatty acid called lauric acid, which behaves differently in the body from other saturated fats. These good fats are easily absorbed through your gut, where they’re metabolized by the liver to produce energy and boost absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K. Basically, coconut oil gets used an immediate source for energy versus being stored as fats like other oils—talk about a great fuel source!

In addition, these fatty acids may improve “good” HDL cholesterol levels. Because coconut oil’s MCTs also contain several compounds that give it a host of amazing benefits not seen in other oils, it's becoming popular—and for good reason.

What Are the Types of Coconut Oil?

You might see two type of coconut oil in the market: Virgin (unrefined) and refined. Virgin coconut oil, which is used in gr8nola, is less processed than refined coconut oil and preserves its coconut-y tropical flavor. Refined coconut oil goes through a process called “dry milling” where coconuts are baked and then the oil that’s extracted is bleached and filtered to have a more neutral smell and flavor.

Coconut Oil Can Help Weight Loss by Burning Fat

Coconut oil is easier to digest than other oils, assists the thyroid and endocrine system function and can help reduce abdominal fat. In a nutshell, organic coconut oil speeds up the body's metabolism by digesting and breaking up foods (burning calories and fat) quicker than other oils and leaves you feeling less bloated.

Coconut Oil for Skin and Hair Care

Beyond cooking and eating, coconut oil is used in many skin and hair products—and for good reason. It's naturally antibacterial and antifungal so coconut oil for your skin and face is a great natural cleanser and leaves your skin smooth and moist. It can also work wonders on your hair because it’s able to penetrate hair and prevent protein loss more so than other oils. A little dollop of organic virgin coconut oil can go a long way leaving your skin and hair silky smooth and hydrated.

Coconut Oil Can Help With Anti-Aging

While aging is inevitable, coconut oil is a natural way to slow down the aging process, both internally and externally. As we age, we lose skin elasticity, and the immune system weakens, leaving you vulnerable to free radical attacks. Free radicals occur naturally in the body, and as long as there are enough antioxidants to suppress them, you're ok.

However, it can become harmful when natural free radicals mix with non-natural free radicals like pollutants, alcohol or fried foods. The number of free radicals then outnumber the antioxidants which lead to oxidative stress (damage to tissues) causing disease, brain fog or loss of skin elasticity. Since antioxidants can keep the free radicals in check, it’s important to nourish your body with antioxidant-friendly foods. Coconut oil’s powerhouse of vitamins, mineral and fibers can strengthen the immune system while increasing natural collagen and repairing skin damage. It’s a win-win for your internal and external aging health.

Coconut Oil Can Help Clean Up Your Dental Health

Impress your dentist at your next dental appointment. Research suggests that a little swish (1-2 teaspoons) of coconut oil for up to 20 minutes (you can start with a couple minutes at first until you get used to it) can decrease plaque build-up and help prevent gingivitis. This doesn’t mean it’s a replacement for flossing and brushing, but it can be an added benefit to help clean up your oral hygiene.

With so many health benefits, 1-2 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil per day can keep you healthy inside and out for the long term.

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