Benefits of coconut oil are just phenomenal for your skin and hairs. A lot of skin care and hair care products have coconut oil as an active ingredient in their formulation. But, unfortunately, all these products use refined coconut oil. Refined coconut oil is no match to virgin (pure) coconut oil when it comes to benefits for your skin. Virgin coconut oil is considered as one of the healthiest oils in the world. Virgin coconut oil is a dietary food which gives you instant energy and helps in weight loss. Despite of being a saturated fat, various health benefits of virgin coconut oil are simply unmatchable.
What is Virgin Coconut oil
Virgin coconut oil means pure, unrefined coconut oil which is extracted from cold pressing of coconut kernels. Cold pressing involves pressing and grinding process at lower temperatures to retain the original taste, aroma and nutritional value. Most of the coconut oils available these days are refined ones. Refining process involves bleaching and addition of added artificial fragrances. This is the reason that most of the coconut oils available these days are colorless and don’t have that essence of pure coconut oil. The Nutritional content of these refined coconut oils is far less than virgin coconut oil. Refined coconut oil lacks sweet taste, smell and other vital health benefits.
Is Virgin Coconut oil healthy?
There is a general conception that “fats” are not good to eat because they would add calories in your body which would make you overweight and less energetic. That is why you would see a lot of processed foods highlighting “zero trans fat” on their packaging. Trans fats and many saturated fats are “bad” fats for sure.
In that scenario, coconut oil should not be having any health benefits because coconut oil is nothing but saturated fat. Despite of being a saturated fat, coconut oil is not a bad fat at all!!
The basic difference between coconut oil and other unhealthy saturated fats like various fatty meats, butter, cheese, various seed oils is- Coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid and the unhealthy saturated fats are long chain fatty acids. Medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) are also known as medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Similarly, long chain fatty acids (LCFAs) are known as long chain triglycerides (LCTs).
Benefits of MCFAs over LCFAs
- Unlike LCFAs, MCFAs break down easily putting a lesser burden on your digestive system.
- MCFAs permeate easily through cell membranes and hence easily absorbed by your body.
- MCFAs are transferred directly to your liver from the digestive tract. Hence, they are readily converted into energy and are not stored as fats (as in case of LCFAs)
- MCFAs can be metabolized at a faster rate than LCFAs.
- MCFAs are quite stable and can’t be oxidized at higher temperatures. On the other hand, LCFAs can be oxidized to unhealthy oxidized fats at elevated temperatures. These oxidized fats are linked to a variety of diseases like heart problems, cancer, obesity etc.
Hence, coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid and is surely one of those saturated fatty acid which is healthy.
Coconut oil for Psoriasis: Benefits of oral consumption
Coconut oil contains a fatty acid known as Lauric acid. Lauric acid content in virgin coconut oil is about 50%. Lauric acid is commonly found in breast milk (this is why coconut oil is an active ingredient in various baby care products). This lauric acid has anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Apart from Lauric acid, virgin coconut oil contains two other fatty acids- caprylic acid and capric acid. These three fatty acids constitute around 60% of the total content of virgin coconut oil. Also, virgin coconut oil contains vitamin E and vitamin K in good quantities. Pure Coconut is considered a natural immunity booster from ages. Health benefits of virgin coconut oil for Alzheimer’s disease, high blood pressure and various health problems is well known.
- Virgin coconut oil is a natural immunity booster
Virgin coconut oil eliminates bad bacteria, viruses and fungi from your gut. MCFAs present in coconut oil restrict the growth of bad bacteria, fungi and viruses also. In this way, it aids in the digestion process and avoids problems like irritable bowel syndrome. Virgin coconut oil helps in absorption of various nutrients like calcium and magnesium.
- Virgin coconut oil reduces inflammation
Inflammation is the response of your body’s immune system to neutralize the attack of harmful foreign matters like bacteria, virus and fungi. As the virgin coconut oil eliminated these harmful bacteria from your gut, hence, it helps in reducing the inflammation.
- Virgin Coconut oil helps in weight loss
Coconut oil helps in weight loss because MCFAs present in coconut oil goes straight from the digestive tract to liver where they get converted into energy increasing your energy level. Due to this increased energy level, you would feel satisfied (fuller) and avoid over eating. Hence, it would be easy for you to follow a disciplined diet program to reduce your weight.
Dr. Mehmet Oz has also endorsed the benefits of virgin coconut oil for weight loss in his famous TV show “The Dr. Oz Show”.
- Virgin coconut oil helps in relieving constipation
Virgin coconut oil helps in relieving constipation because it is fibrous and it cleanses the colon very effectively.
Read more: Psoriasis and Constipation
- Virgin coconut oil helps in Candida (yeast infection)
Coconut oil detox program is highly recommended by health experts to get rid of Candida (yeast infection). A study conducted in Niigata University (a Japanese University) concluded that caprylic acid (a fatty acid present in virgin coconut oil) is a powerful anti-candida remedy because of its anti-fungal properties.
- Virgin coconut oil accelerates body metabolism
MCFAs present in coconut oil stimulates body metabolism process which in turn brings back all the natural mechanisms like body detoxification, cells repair and growth back on track eventually enhancing your body immunity.
- Coconut oil for leaky gut syndrome
Virgin coconut oil works amazingly well in dealing with leaky gut syndrome (and fat malabsorption) because MCFAs present in coconut oil are easily absorbed by your body.
- Coconut oil helps in digestion
Virgin coconut oil helps in absorbing fat soluble vitamins and other nutrients like calcium and magnesium. Also, it kills the bad bacteria from your gut. The overall effect is- improved digestive system.
- Coconut oil has excellent antimicrobial, antibacterial properties
The main fatty acids in coconut oil- lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid possess powerful antibacterial, antimicrobial and anti fungal properties to protect your body from the attack of various infections and disease causing foreign particles. It can help in eliminating unhealthy gut bacteria also.
Coconut oil for Psoriasis: Benefits of topical application
Topical application of coconut oil is not a new concept. Coconut oil can moisturize your scalp and your skin very well. Psoriasis flakes are very dry in nature and quite itchy as well, particularly the scalp psoriasis. Hence, using coconut oil on your scalp can be a soothing experience for you. Pleasing smell of coconut oil is a great news for those who are looking for some natural topical alternatives to those steroids based topical ointments. Coconut oil’s pleasant smell, ability of getting easily absorbed and non sticky nature make it an amazing choice for topical application on psoriasis flakes.
It is interesting to know that coconut oil can block about 20% of the Sun’s ultraviolet rays, hence, it is a good sunscreen also.
Read more- Scalp Psoriasis Treatment
How to use coconut oil
To get the full benefits of virgin coconut oil for psoriasis, consumes it orally as well as apply it on the skin.Oral consumption of coconut oil is possible in two ways:
1. Consuming it as a whole – Take one teaspoonful of virgin coconut oil twice a day, in the morning before breakfast and at night before sleep. You should not eat or drink anything before and after taking it for at least 1 hour to get the best benefits.
2. As an alternative to cooking oil/butter– Most of the vegetable oils (soybean, sunflower, corn, peanut) used for cooking are unstable at higher temperatures and get converted into oxidized fats which can cause inflammation and mutation in cells.
Thanks to the heat withstanding properties of coconut oil, it can be used as a regular cooking oil in baking, cooking and frying without getting oxidized. In South India, coconut oil is extensively used as an edible oil. You can also use it as a spread on bread or as salad dressing.
Topical application of coconut oil: Generally, it is advised to apply coconut oil on your skin after taking bath/shower and properly massage it to make sure it is well absorbed by the body. Coconut oil is absorbed by the body readily. Do not forget to massage coconut oil on your scalp also. It is amazingly good for scalp psoriasis. In fact, it is one of the best remedy for scalp psoriasis.
How to get Virgin Coconut oil
Availability of virgin coconut oil in general departmental stores is suspicious. Always buy virgin coconut oil by checking the packing label. It should clearly mention that it is cold pressed and unrefined. You can purchase virgin coconut oil from online shopping portals. Please follow the below links:
If you are from USA- Click here
If you are from India- Click here
If you are from UK- Click here
Good to know: Benefits of Coconut Water
Apart from coconut oil, coconut water is also fortified with a lot of health benefits. Drinking coconut water can improve digestion, reduces acid reflux and is a rich source of various electrolytes (calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus). Drinking coconut water has numerous health benefits with almost no side effects. The recommended dosage is 15-20 ounces of coconut water a day.
Coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid having ample health benefits. It is a powerful body moisturizer and it is anti bacterial and anti fungal in nature. It can help you to get rid of the bad bacteria (Candida). It can also help you to fix the problem of leaky gut syndrome to restrengthen your body immunity. Few people have claimed to ease their psoriasis symptoms by drinking coconut water and applying coconut oil on skin regularly. At last but not the least, all the health benefits of virgin coconut oil for psoriasis can be availed by using it on a regular basis in the long term.