Uses for Coconut Oil
There are more than a thousand uses for coconut oil. Every day, scientists are discovering more and more about the wonderful positive effects of this natural oil derived from coconut ‘meat.’ It is essentially rich, aromatic oil full of saturated fatty acids that until now were considered to be harmful when eaten in excess. Recent research, however, shows that saturated fats are actually harmless; these studies aren’t just isolated incidents – they involved hundreds of thousands of people from all segments of society
But despite the ongoing debate about the ills and benefits of saturated fatty acids, it cannot be denied that there are entire cultures that thrive – in the best of health, too – on a diet made up primarily of coconut products, including oil. In this article, we will see the many ways in which coconut oil has been and continues to be used by human societies around the world.
Cooking with coconut oil has long been a standard practice in many parts of the globe. In Southern India, many curries are made in a coconut oil base. It is also used as a frying medium for vegetables, meats and seafood. Coconut oil is also being used extensively in the baked goods and confectionery industries as a lighter substitute for butter and other shortening ingredients. The result is sweeter yet healthier desserts.
In the South Pacific, many older cultures such as the Kitavans and the Tokelauans have also used coconut oil for many generations, and there are no significant signs of heart disease in either of these cultures, as one would normally expect if the World Health Organization is to be believed! As a cooking medium, coconut oil is considered one of the healthiest; the reason for this is the high lauric acid content and the presence of medium-chain triglycerides – both of which can lead to a desirable lipid profile and contain the risk of heart disease through this particular pathway.
Health and Medicine
Coconut oil has several medicinal properties, either when ingested as food or applied externally. When made part of the regular dietary intake, it promotes improved functioning of nearly every organ in the body: heart, kidney, liver, brain, pancreas, thyroid, gall bladder, prostate, etc.
It also enhances the immunity of the body against infection, improves circulation, normalizes intestinal function, creates a positive lipid profile, increases sperm mobility and much more. It also acts as an effective preventive agent against cancer, stroke, diabetes, atherosclerosis, metabolic disorders and heart failure.
But that’s not all: in fact, regular consumption of coconut oil as part of the daily diet can improve energy levels, help with weight loss by increasing metabolic rates by up to 5%, prevents muscular catabolism during dieting or fasting and gives the body a healthy glow from inside out.
In fact, Victoria’s Secret supermodel Miranda Kerr says that the biggest secret of her great complexion, fantastic figure and luxuriant hair is the fact that she’s been taking at least four teaspoons of coconut oil in her food every day since the age of 14!
Coconut oil also has fantastic anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties when applied directly to the affected area. It promotes faster healing when canker sores strike, and is regularly used as a home remedy against infections of the ear, eye, gums, sinuses and other organs susceptible to infection. It is also a natural way to treat several other medical conditions from gonorrhea to gangrene to gastroenteritis.
It would seem that there is practically no medical miracle that this humble oil is incapable of; if you look at a comprehensive list of things it can prevent, cure or help heal, it’s easy to see where this belief comes from.
New research is continually revealing more and more amazing health facts about this unique oil. Alzheimer’s disease, a dreaded degenerative disorder of the brain, has had very little success in past years with regard to a source of treatment. Today, however, there are hundreds of anecdotal reports of patients’ conditions improving after including coconut oil to their daily diets. Though research evidence is still to come, doctors have definitely sat up and taken notice of the amazing claims by patients and their caregivers alike.
Coconut oil is not only beneficial to the human body, as we have seen; it is also an excellent source of alternative energy. Tests have been conducted using coconut oil as a source stock for biodiesel, and have shown very encouraging results. However, even after the ‘transesterification’ process that makes it a viable fuel, it can only be used in tropical climates because of its low get point – the point at which it begins to solidify and form a polymer network. A gelled liquid can no longer be used for combustion in engines because of its increased viscosity.
Coconut oil derivatives are also used in the cleaning industry to make surfactants. In fact, the first product to be released by Amway – a global leader in direct marketing – was LOC, or liquid organic cleaner, which is made from such derivatives. Taking their cues, other companies have also started making organic cleaners using coconut oil derivatives.
It is also used to lubricate engines (in addition to being an ideal organic fuel) in many parts of the world. Depending on the availability of coconut trees in the area, the price may vary; however, it is still a more viable lubricant when compared to fossil fuel derived alternatives or even synthetic variants because of the manufacturing process.
The Future of Coconut Oil
Most countries have studied and recognized the many benefits of coconut oil. Several industries have taken it up as a ‘pet’ product that is versatile, easily available and organic. Innumerable cultures depend on coconut oil for their daily food, health and medicinal needs. This ancient oil is now at the forefront of most modern research in medicine and biotechnology. Pharmaceutical companies are trying to tap into its potential; engineering companies are experimenting with it; doctors of Western medicine are seeing its beneficial qualities; in fact, nearly every area of human endeavor can benefit from the extraordinary properties of coconut oil. It can be honestly said that it is one of the most important “re-discoveries” of the modern era.
Finally take a moment to let us know in the comments below, of any other ways you use coconut oil.