Coconut oil is one of the popular foods in the market, and for a good reason. In fact, it is marketed and considered as one of the superfoods. Herein, you will learn some of the uses of coconut oil.

Coconut oil is obtained from the sap of pressed coconut flesh. It is widely known for its heavy content of fat which has been shown to have positive effects on general health. These include facilitating loss of fat, improving heart health, and supporting brain function, among others.Coconut itself is incredibly delicious and can be added to meals for taste in different ways. Its oil, on the other hand, has many health benefits and is used for various reasons. The following are some of the benefits of coconut oil.

1.      Protect the Skin from Ultraviolet Rays

Ultraviolet (UV) rays significantly harm the skin. This is because they increase your risk of skin cancer. Furthermore, they lead to wrinkling of the skin and formation of brown spots. Coconut oil can block up to 20% of the ultraviolet rays hitting the skin. It is wise to note that coconut oil does not effectively block UV rays like the conventional sunscreens, which block up to 90% of the ultraviolet rays. According to a study, coconut oil possesses a sun protection factor (SPF) score of 7. This is lower than what some countries recommend for SPF.

2.      May Increase Your Metabolism

Increased metabolism has several advantages in your body, including increasing weight loss. Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) are contained in coconut oil. They are a special type of fatty acid with a quick absorption rate, leading to increased burning of calories.Successful studies by the National Center for Biotechnology Information have found that MCTs temporarily boost a person’s metabolic rate. Also, 120 calories can be burnt within a 24-hour duration with just 15-30 g of MCTs.

3.      Coconut Oil Can Be Cooked Safely at Extreme Temperatures

Published studies have shown that most of the fats in coconut oil are saturated by up to 87%. This means that it can be used safely to cook at high temperatures, such as frying. Unlike vegetable oils which mainly have polyunsaturated fatty acids, saturated fats in coconut oil tend to retain their structure even when heated to high temperatures. Several studies by the National Center for Biotechnology Information have found that some oils such as corn and safflower can be converted to toxic compounds when heated to high temperatures. As a result, this can lead to harmful effects on general health. It is therefore wise to use coconut oil which cooks safely at high temperatures.

4.      Coconut Oil Can Improve Dental Health

Published studies have shown that coconut oil has antibacterial characteristics. This includes being active against oral bacteria Streptococcus mutansthat causes tooth decay, dental plaques, and periodontal diseases. Oil pulling or swishing with coconut oil for about 10 minutes can reduce oral bacteria the same way rinsing with antiseptic mouthwash could.Also, oil pulling daily with coconut oil led to a significant reduction of gum inflammation and plaque.

5.      Coconut Oil Can Help Protect The Skin

Having diseased skin can severely lower an individual’s self-esteem and be demoralizing. Common skin problems include skin irritation, dermatitis, and eczema. Several studies carried out by the National Center for Biotechnology Information have shown that applying coconut oil may help improve dermatitis and other acute skin disorders. Its efficacy was as strong as mineral oil and commonly used conventional moisturizers.Another study published by the National Institutes of Health on children with eczema found that 47% of them improved remarkably.

6.      Coconut Oil May Support Brain Function and Health

Constant supply of energy to your brain is very essential at keeping it healthy for perfect functioning. Coconut contains MCTs, which are broken down by the liver into readily available ketones. Ketones are, in turn, taken to the brain, where they act as an alternative source of energy.MCTs manage chronic brain conditions such as epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease. Some researchers highly propose using coconut oil to produce MCTs to increase the yield of ketones.

7.      Coconut Oil Can Help Moisturize Your Skin

Dry skin can open a route for bacterial invasion. This is because it can crack easily and harbor bacteria and fungi. For instance, when coconut oil is applied to the skin, especially on the arms, elbows, and legs, it becomes moisturized. Furthermore, coconut is applied directly to the face, although it is not recommended for people with oily skin. Those with cracked heels can also use coconut oil by applying it thinly on the cracked heel at bedtime and cover them with socks. For quicker results, continue applying it every night until the heel heals.

8.      May Help Reduce Bacterial Infections

Many bacteria have become resistant to most medications. Fortunately, virgin oil has been shown to possess antibacterial properties that help fight bacterial infections.A study carried out by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that virgin oilinhibits the multiplication of Clostridium, commonly known as C. diff. This is an intestinal bacterium commonly associated with severe diarrhea.

9.      Can Increase HDL Cholesterol

Accumulation of cholesterol is harmful, especially LDL cholesterol. Coconut oil has been shown to increase “good” HDL cholesterol levels and lower “bad” LDL cholesterol.


Coconut oil is an essential food with several health benefits. It can be consumed orally or applied directly to the skin. Its use comes with health benefits like fighting bacteria, moisturizing the skin, and increasing metabolism, among others.

MS, University of Tartu
Sleep specialist

Using the acquired academic and professional experience, I advise patients with various complaints about mental health - depressed mood, nervousness, lack of energy and interest, sleep disorders, panic attacks, obsessive thoughts and anxieties, difficulty concentrating, and stress. In my free time, I love to paint and go on long walks on the beach. One of my latest obsessions is sudoku – a wonderful activity to calm an unease mind.

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