(HealthyResearch.com) – Coconut oil smells great and can add nutrients to your diet, but there are other ways to use coconut oil to enhance your health, too. Check out our suggestions for four ways to use coconut oil to boost your health.
1. Lip Balm
Whether it’s to moisturize or to soothe a rash or eczema, coconut oil might be a great choice. Studies have shown using virgin coconut oil to treat mild to moderate eczema worked well and better than using mineral oil. It helps the skin to retain more moisture, but it also has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
Because of these healing properties, wounds treated with virgin coconut oil healed much faster than wounds left to heal on their own. An additional benefit of using coconut oil as a balm is that it provides a small amount of protection from the sun. It may block up to 20% of the sun’s harmful UV rays, or approximately an SPF of about 7. Additional protection should be used by those who intend to be in the sun for long periods, as well as those who are at a higher risk for skin cancer.
2. Hair Treatment
Have you noticed the proliferation of hair products that incorporate coconut oil? That’s because coconut oil helps protect both damaged and undamaged hair from protein loss and promotes healthy hair. Lauric acid, the principal fatty acid in coconut oil, has a unique structure that allows it to penetrate hair and bond to hair proteins. Using coconut oil before or after shampooing might help both prevent damage and restore already damaged hair.
3. Dental Aid
Another way to use coconut oil might be to improve your dental health. Oil-pulling has become more popular in the US, and coconut oil is often an oil of choice because of its more pleasant taste. But it has also proven effective at reducing plaque and gingivitis. A 2015 study found that plaque was reduced after using coconut oil in oil-pulling therapy after only 7 days.
Another study from 2016 showed that coconut oil was as effective as chlorhexidine in antibacterial action against Streptococcus mutans, a common bacteria that causes tooth decay. The oil also helped reduce inflammation. The antibacterial properties of the oil also helped with bad breath.
4. Butter or Vegetable Oil Substitute
Coconut oil may be a healthier alternative to butter or certain vegetable oils. It’s cholesterol-free and contains 15% medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs have been linked with better brain health, a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and increased levels of HDL cholesterol. It’s always a good idea to eat a well-balanced diet and eat fats in moderation.
Coconut oil has so many versatile uses and potential health benefits. We’ve suggested just a few ways you might use it to improve health aspects, but there are certainly others. Get creative, and if you have any questions or concerns, talk with your health provider to make the right choices.
~Here’s to Your Health & Safety!
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