Boost is beginning a new series called 'what's the deal with...', where we look at what's being hyped up in the world of health and well-being, and sum up what we've found. We hope it provides a useful and simplified summary of all the current 'trends' in well-being, all in one place.
So today I'm looking into what the deal is with Coconut oil, and why it's being so raved about. We were lucky to have been given a huge jar of this wonder oil by some friends of the family, and they raved about the benefits of using coconut oil in cooking, and on your skin.
So here's what we found! Coconut oil is made from the flesh of the coconut, and is solid at room temperature, but melts pretty quickly when warmed on the skin, or in cooking. It's best if found in it's 100% raw, virgin state, and although it smells and tastes a little like coconut when raw, when mixed with other ingredients, such as using it in a stew or bolognese sauce, you cannot taste it.
Coconut oil has been proven to have the following benefits: Treat and reduce the risk of Alzheimers, prevents heart disease and high blood pressure, can cure UTI's and kidney infections, protects the liver, protect against cancer, it's anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral, improves energy and endurance, improves skin issues, treats and prevents gum disease, prevents osteoporosis, improves type 2 diabetes, can help with weight loss, anti-aging for the skin and body, and can balance hormones (and breathe!) (Dr. Axe)
So how does it do all that? The fat in coconut oil is made up of healthy 'medium chain fatty acids', which are more easily absorbed by the body than other fats, and are easier to use for energy by the body, meaning they don't get stored as fat like other less healthy alternatives, such as animal fats and sugars. One of the fatty acids in coconut oil is Lauric acid, which is proven to be anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and create a hostile environment for viruses, meaning that if eaten, or applied topically to the skin, your body will get quite the boost in battling infections. I can vouch for the healing properties of coconut oil on a cold sore; gone in two days!
So how does eating this saturated fat help you lose weight? Studies conducted as far back as 1985 found that the other fatty acids present in coconut oil, Capric and Caprylic acid, boosted thyroid function, reduced appetite, and helped the body burn up it's fat reserves at a rate as if the body was fasting! This is particularly good for reducing harmful tummy fat, which is a pre-cursor to type 2 diabetes.
How do you use it?
Replace your usual cooking fat with coconut oil, I've tried a lot of different recipes with it and I've never been able to taste the coconut when mixed in with other ingredients. I was sceptical, and did not want my bolognese sauce tasting like a pina colada, but take my word for it, there is absolutely no hint of Malibu!
Rub coconut oil into your skin directly. It's fantastic as a make up remover, a lip balm, a moisturiser and a hair conditioner all directly from the jar. It's also great at loosening built up ear wax in the ear, but you do have to heat it up first (we felt a little like we were cooking up heroin in a spoon!), but only to the point that its just melted, don't burn your ears!
Oil Pulling- This sounds weird, but there's a lot of raving going on about this technique. Basically, you put a tbsp of coconut oil in your mouth, and sloosh it around your teeth for about 20 minutes, spitting it out once your done. This has proven to get rid of nasty bacteria in your mouth, treat gum disease and bad breath, and fight off colds and flu. 20 minutes sounds like a long time to me, but you can't argue with the benefits!
Coconut Oil in your coffee- Yep, this sounds gross, and a lot of people are raving about 'bulletproof coffee' which has organic grass fed butter in it as well! For now, I'm sticking with just the coconut oil. Add 1tbsp of raw coconut oil to your coffee, and use this as a way of reducing your appetite, boosting your energy and getting all those benefits easily into your routine.
Are you sold yet? If so, there are lots of places to buy extra virgin 'raw' coconut oil in the UK, including health food shops, Boots, even Lidl (although it was one of their 'temporary' products). It's not as cheap as other oils, but clearly it's worth splashing out on, and it lasts a long time. I've got a jar in my kitchen for cooking and eating, and one on my dresser for beauty.
So thats the deal with Coconut Oil! Next week we're looking into 'e-counselling'.
(sources: Dr Axe- www.draxe.com/coconut-oil-benefits, pinterest, and http://blog.cococlear.co/coconut-oil-coffee-to-lose-weight/)