Happy Friday Babes! Back this week with one of my favorite functional foods EVER - Coconut Oil. I'm not sure if you guys have seen any of the memes about it, but there is one in particular that says, "Pours coconut oil over entire life" and this literally could not be more true for me. I use it for pretty much everything. Not only does coconut oil benefit your health if you include it in your diet, but there are SO MANY different ways you can use it. There have literally been thousands of studies done on this oil, all proving that it is HEALTHY and good for you! First I'm going to talk about the health benefits, then I'm going to jump into the variety of ways it can be used (and why it should be a staple in your household)!
Health Benefits of Coconut Oil:
1. Decreases Inflammation in the Body (Like I've mentioned in previous blog posts, inflammation within the body can cause numerous health issues - one in particular is Arthritis. And guess what?! Coconut oil can be used as a treatment for it! Studies have shown that it suppresses inflammatory cells in the body and actually treated Arthritis more effectively than medications thanks to the high levels of antioxidants found within it.)
2. Naturally Balances Hormone Levels (Coconuts and coconut oil contain saturated fat - AKA the good kind of fat. Consuming natural fats helps balance hormones within your body. Studies show that it positively impacts estrogen levels and can even help with menopause symptoms!)
3. Positively Impacts Cognitive Function (Studies have shown that the Medium chain fatty acids (MCFA's) found in coconut oil improved memory function in elderly people. MCFA's are easily absorbed by the body and fuel brain cells efficiently. Another thing of mention - coconut oil could be used as a holistic treatment for Alzheimer's, which would be HUGE! When the body digests the MCFA's, ketones are created by the liver. Ketones supply the brain with energy WITHOUT needing insulin to process the glucose into energy. People who suffer from Alzheimer's lose the ability to create insulin with the brain. Like mentioned above, the Ketones found in coconut oil can create energy for their brain!)
4. Treats Internal Infections (Studies show that coconut oil has successfully treated both urinary tract infections and kidney infections. The MCFA's disrupts bacteria from growing and actually kills it. It's basically a natural antibiotic.)
5. Boosts the Immune System (Coconut oil is is naturally anti-bacterial, anti-fungal AND anti-viral. Lauric Acid, a component of coconut oil, fights candida, bacteria and makes its difficult for viruses to develop within the body. If you're sick, you should absolutely consider including coconut oil in your daily routine!)
6. Natural Digestive Aid (Coconut oil aids in digestion by helping the body more easily absorb Magnesium, Calcium and Vitamins. It also aids in destroying bad bacteria and candida, which leads to a healthier gut. An overgrowth of Candida can cause indigestion and inflammation. Take some coconut oil and kiss those ailments goodbye!)
7. Holistic Treatment for Osteoporosis (Some of the causes behind Osteoporosis are free radicals and oxidative stress within the body. coconut oil contains very high levels of antioxidants, which help fight free radicals from occurring. Studies have also shown that coconut oil increases calcium absorption and bone volume, as well as decreasing bone loss.)
8. Natural Energy Source (Coconut oil naturally boosts metabolism levels when consumed. It is easily digested by the body and provides you with an energy boost. How does it do this? When you eat coconut oil, the MCFA's go straight to the liver where they are converted into Ketones - which is what gives you natural energy!)
9. Heart Healthy (Like I mentioned earlier, coconut oil contains saturated fats, the GOOD kind of fats. These fats boost healthy cholesterol levels by converting the bad cholesterol (LDL) into good cholesterol (HDL). Higher levels of HDL cholesterol lowers the risk of heart disease.)
10. Weight Loss (The naturally occurring fats in coconut oil - the MCFA's, help the body burn calories and fat. Sounds a bit contradictory right? Eat fat, to lose weight? It actually makes sense scientifically - when you consume healthy fats, your body is more satiated, which keeps you full for longer and helps curb cravings. Bonus: MCFA's also help you build muscle!)
My favorite ways to use Coconut Oil:
1. As a moisturizer (Coconut oil is SO nourishing for your skin, its best to put it on after you shower to really let it soak in.)
2. As makeup remover (Anytime I wear make up, I take it off using coconut oil before washing my face. Not only does it completely remove any and all make up, but it moisturizes your skin at the same time!)
3. As a natural teeth whitener (I'm sure some of you may have heard of oil pulling. If not, it is a technique that has been use for thousands of years. You take a spoonful of coconut oil and swish it around in your mouth for 2-5 minutes, some people even go up to 15-20. After that, all you do is spit it out and rinse your mouth out with water. They say it's best to do it first thing in the morning. Not only will it kill any bad bacteria in your mouth, but it will make your teeth super white!
*You can also use different oils if you don't like the taste of coconut.
4. As as natural hair care option (If you have a dry scalp or dandruff, coconut oil can help solve that problem - without any crazy added chemicals! You can do coconut oil hair masks or even make your own shampoo! Using coconut oil in your hair leaves it feeling soft and looking healthy!)
5. When Cooking (Obviously! I'm constantly using coconut oil when I cook, whether its to saute veggies or as an oil substitute when baking. Not only is it good for you but it tastes delicious as well!)
*Of Note: When buying coconut oil, make sure you purchase organic and virgin (or unrefined)! Refined coconut oil strips all the nutritional benefits from the oil.
I hope you guys enjoyed reading this blog post and are excited to try or continue using coconut oil! If you have any questions or suggestions for next weeks functional food Friday - send me over a message!