Guest writer for Wake Up World
Cultures and countries across the world use and appreciate the coconut tree. Because of its nutritional and therapeutic values, it’s referred to as “Kalpavriksha” (the all giving tree) in India. As the name implies, the coconut palm is extremely versatile and used in many capacities. Everything from the coconut water, to the leaves, to the kernel hull have characteristics that are beneficial to human health. Coconut oil, specifically, has become quite popular for cooking and even other uses. Let’s take a look at a few facts about coconut oil that you may not know.
1. The Saturated Fat in Coconut Oil isn’t All Bad
I’ve heard reports from people who are confused when they spot coconut oil at the grocery store, read the nutritional label, and see the high saturated fat content. “What gives?” they ask, “I thought this stuff was healthy?” Well, it is.
Unfortunately, the fat in coconut has been the subject of much misinformation. Although we’re told that saturated fat, across the board, is bad, the saturated fats in coconut oil are medium chain fatty acids and do not degrade within the body. In fact, the human body uses them directly as energy and coconut oil consumption has even been associated with beneficial lipid profiles. 
Coconut oil is even better than other vegetable oils like sunflower or safflower oil. Those oils contain polyunsaturated fatty acids, which aren’t good for the cardiovascular system. Many nutritional experts recommend switching to coconut oil to avoid the health risks. 
2. Coconut Oil is Great for Hair
Coconut oil is used in a staggering amount of shampoos, conditioners, and hair care products. The reason for its inclusion is quite simple. With its low molecular weight and straight linear chain, coconut oil can effectively penetrate the hair shaft to reduce protein loss, leaving it nourished and healthy. 
3. And, It’s Great for Skin
Coconut oil is also very moisturizing and beneficial for the skin.  In many cultures, it’s used as a remedy for a great many skin conditions.  The reason? It’s chemical structure. The short-chain and saturated fatty acids, which prevent it from oxidizing and becoming rancid, are nourishing to the skin and have even been found to encourage wound healing. 
4. Useful Against Harmful Organisms
Perhaps one of the most astounding facts about coconut oil is how potent it is against harmful organisms.
- When a 2007 study evaluated the effectiveness of virgin coconut oil against candida, a 25% concentration of coconut oil was found to be 100% effective against candida. 
- Randomized and controlled research in 2010 found that a coconut oil and anise spray was effective against head lice. 
- Coconut oil has been found to repel mosquitoes. 
- Tungiasis, or sand flea disease, is a nasty problem not common in the United States but way too common elsewhere. Research earlier this year discovered that coconut oil may be an effective repellant to the flea that spreads the disease. 
5. Can Replace Milk in Ice Cream
Everyone loves ice cream but not everyone is keen on the milk fat used to produce it. What’s the alternative? Bland, fat-free ice cream? Maybe not. It seems that virgin coconut oil may be an acceptable replacement for milk fat in ice cream. Those who have tried it claim that the ice cream has a pleasant coconut flavor and an excellent appearance, texture, and aroma.
6. Is a Beneficial Massage Oil for Newborns
Did you know that giving oil massages to newborns has been found to improve thermoregulation and encourage healthy weight gain? A 2005 study evaluated the effect of coconut oil on the growth of newborn babies in India. Starting on the second day of their lives, an oil massage was given four times a day by a trained person until the baby was discharged, and then by the mother until the baby was 31 days old. The results? Coconut oil massage significantly increased weight gain and growth. 
7. Might be a Remedy for Poison?
It might be premature to call coconut oil an antidote for poisoning but a 2005 incident in Iran certainly suggests it may have something to offer. Hospital officials there reported of a young man who had attempted suicide by ingesting the pesticide aluminium phosphide. Upon admittance to the hospital, he was experiencing severe indications of toxicity and given several counteractive substances, including charcoal, sodium bicarbonate, magnesium sulphate, and coconut oil. The result? He survived, and coconut oil, while probably not deserving of all the credit, was labeled as an important part of the protocol.
Do you know a coconut oil factoid that we missed? Or do you just have great things to say about coconut oil… or even constructive criticism? Please leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook!
Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
- DebMandal M, Mandal S. Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.: Arecaceae): in health promotion and disease prevention. Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2011 Mar;4(3):241-7. doi: 10.1016/S1995-7645(11)60078-3. Epub 2011 Apr 12.
- Amarasiri WA, Dissanayake AS. Coconut fats. Ceylon Med J. 2006 Jun;51(2):47-51.
- Feranil AB, Duazo PL, Kuzawa CW, Adair LS. Coconut oil is associated with a beneficial lipid profile in pre-menopausal women in the Philippines. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2011;20(2):190-5.
- Sircar S, Kansra U. Choice of cooking oils–myths and realities. J Indian Med Assoc. 1998 Oct;96(10):304-7.
- Burnett CL, Bergfeld WF, Belsito DV, Klaassen CD, Marks JG Jr, Shank RC, Slaga TJ, Snyder PW, Andersen FA. Final report on the safety assessment of Cocos nucifera (coconut) oil and related ingredients. Int J Toxicol. 2011 May;30(3 Suppl):5S-16S. doi: 10.1177/1091581811400636.
- Rele AS, Mohile RB. Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage. J Cosmet Sci. 2003 Mar-Apr;54(2):175-92.
- Verallo-Rowell VM, Dillague KM, Syah-Tjundawan BS. Novel antibacterial and emollient effects of coconut and virgin olive oils in adult atopic dermatitis. Dermatitis. 2008 Nov-Dec;19(6):308-15.
- Saikia AP, Ryakala VK, Sharma P, Goswami P, Bora U. Ethnobotany of medicinal plants used by Assamese people for various skin ailments and cosmetics. J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Jun 30;106(2):149-57. Epub 2006 Feb 13.
- Sachs M, von Eichel J, Asskali F. [Wound management with coconut oil in Indonesian folk medicine]. Chirurg. 2002 Apr;73(4):387-92.
- Ogbolu DO, Oni AA, Daini OA, Oloko AP. In vitro antimicrobial properties of coconut oil on Candida species in Ibadan, Nigeria. J Med Food. 2007 Jun;10(2):384-7.
- Burgess IF, Brunton ER, Burgess NA. Clinical trial showing superiority of a coconut and anise spray over permethrin 0.43% lotion for head louse infestation, ISRCTN96469780. Eur J Pediatr. 2010 Jan;169(1):55-62. doi: 10.1007/s00431-009-0978-0. Epub 2009 Apr 3.
- Das NG, Baruah I, Talukdar PK, Das SC. Evaluation of botanicals as repellents against mosquitoes. J Vector Borne Dis. 2003 Mar-Jun;40(1-2):49-53.
- Feldmeier H, Sentongo E, Krantz I. Tungiasis (sand flea disease): a parasitic disease with particular challenges for public health. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2013 Jan;32(1):19-26. doi: 10.1007/s10096-012-1725-4. Epub 2012 Sep 1.
- Choo SY, Leong SK, Henna Lu FS. Physicochemical and sensory properties of ice-cream formulated with virgin coconut oil. Food Sci Technol Int. 2010 Dec;16(6):531-41. doi: 10.1177/1082013210367546. Epub 2010 Nov 11.
- Sankaranarayanan K, Mondkar JA, Chauhan MM, Mascarenhas BM, Mainkar AR, Salvi RY. Oil massage in neonates: an open randomized controlled study of coconut versus mineral oil. Indian Pediatr. 2005 Sep;42(9):877-84.
- Shadnia S, Rahimi M, Pajoumand A, Rasouli MH, Abdollahi M. Successful treatment of acute aluminium phosphide poisoning: possible benefit of coconut oil. Hum Exp Toxicol. 2005 Apr;24(4):215-8.
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- Top 10 ProBiotic Foods to Add to Your Diet
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- The Benefits of Organic Hemp Milk + How to Make Your Own
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About the author
Dr. Edward F. Group founded Global Healing Center in 1998 and is currently the Chief Executive Officer. Heading up the research and development team, Dr. Group assumes a hands-on approach in producing new and advanced degenerative disease products and information.
Dr. Group has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.