by Lisa Nelson, L.Ac., Dipl.O.M.
Try a Daily Dollop (or more) of Coconut Oil
Virgin Coconut oil is one of the healthiest foods on the planet and it is considered a superfood!
- Gives my brain and body an energy boost? Yes!
- Helps improve how I digest my food? Yes!
- Moisturizes my winter season dry hands and hair? Yes, this too!
The health benefits are many but to summarize Coconut oil is helpful in 3 main ways: provides the body with a healthy energy source, improves the functioning of your digestive system, and protects you from infections and inflammation.
So how can this superfood be helpful in so many ways?
Coconut oil is made up of 3 healthy medium chain fatty acids (MCFA); caprylic acid, lauric acid, and capric acid. As the name indicates, these chains are shorter in length. They are able to break down much more rapidly than other plant oils and fat we consume. This is why coconut oil packs such an energy punch…the fatty acids are quickly converted to fuel in your liver and are available to both your brain and body to use!
So how does coconut oil improve my digestion? Lauric acid is the primary fatty acid in coconut oil (almost 50 percent). When coconut oil is enzymatically digested it also forms monolaurin. Both lauric acid and monolaurin have antimicrobial properties that can fight harmful pathogens like bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites. For example, these substances are able to kill Staphylococcus bacteria and the yeast Candida Albicans (overgrowth contributes to yeast infections and poor digestion). When your gut flora is more balanced, it improves your ability to absorb nutrients from the food you eat.
Coconut oil is a wonderful moisturizer for most skin types and provides mild sun protection. When applied to skin abrasions, it forms an antimicrobial chemical layer that protects the infected body part from external dust and bacteria.