Coconut oil (CO) is making a comeback in the health industry in many ways. Although it’s gotten a lot of bad rap because of one study which found the hydrogenated form bad for your health, in terms of heart disease and cholesterol, we know now that it’s the hydrogenation that was to blame, not the CO itself. In fact, pure coconut oil is a very digestible saturated fat, which contains both short- and medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), the fatty acids which are more easily digested by the body than long-chain fatty acids. This oil is often preferred by athletes and body builders and by those who are dieting.
The reason behind this being that CO contains lesser calories than other oils, its fat content is easily converted into energy and it does not lead to accumulation of fat in the heart and arteries. And there are health benefits: CO may even aid in lowering cholesterol, maintaining blood sugar levels, and restoring thyroid function. When you consume CO, the body converts the lauric acid into monolaurin which is claimed to help in dealing with viruses and bacteria causing diseases such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV.
It helps fight harmful bacteria such as listeria monocytogenes and heliobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia. As a result of these various health benefits of CO though its exact mechanism of action was unknown, it has been extensively used in Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicinal system. Coconut oil is also great for your skin, but why is even more interesting. The sebaceous glands of human skin produce MCFAs like the ones in coconut oil, which destroy certain bacteria, fungi and viruses. While soaps wash away this sebaceous oil, coconut oil can act as a restorative, not only protecting the skin but moisturizing it as well and helping prevent scars and stretch marks. The high level of MCFAs in coconut oil makes it the most stable of oils but despite its longer shelf life than other oils, it should be stored away from sunlight and heat. Since other oils and fats can more easily become rancid, they can have a negative effect on the skin’s connective tissues. Try using coconut oil to moisturize your skin for great effects on the connective tissues.