Virgin Coconut Oil Benefits, Uses, and Sustainability
As far back as 4,000 years ago, Ayurvedic medicine recognized virgin coconut oil benefits and used it for its medicinal properties. Today more and more of us are finally learning how to use coconut oil in our modern lives, as well.
Just a few of the claimed benefits and uses of this special oil are:
- Hair Care
- Skin Care
- Maintaining cholesterol levels
- Weight loss
- Increased immunity
- Proper digestion and metabolism
- Relief from or support in various health issues, such as kidney and liver problems, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer
These are just a fraction of the numerous health benefits of coconut oil that we'll look at below.
Health Benefits of Virgin Coconut Oil
I'm still surprised so few people are unaware of all coconut oil benefits. Some still think it's an artery clogging fat thanks to an anti-saturated fat and anti-tropical oil publicity campaign in the mid-1980's funded by the soybean industry. These claims have been proven false over and over but the soybean industry doesn't want the public to know.
Not all saturated fats are the same.
Fats can be divided into 3 categories, depending on how long their molecule chains are. There are short, medium and long chain fatty acids. The short and medium chain fatty acids are beneficial to health, and coconut oil consists mainly of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs), or medium chain triglycerides.
Many of the coconut oil benefits can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and of course its antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. These antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, and antibacterial properties help explain why coconut oil is used to help boost the immune system.
The lauric acid - also found in human breast milk - also boosts immunity and destroys harmful bacteria and viruses. We should all use how to use coconut oil for these health benefits alone.
Coconut oil benefits many of your organs, like your heart and kidneys, but is especially beneficial for your hard-working liver. Your liver is the focus of harmful microbes and has the job of neutralizing toxins and free radicals. MCFA's in the oil assist in maintaining your liver's health by destroying these microbes and minimizing free radical formation.
Other health benefits of coconut oil include:
- Virgin coconut oil for weight loss: Click the link to read why coconut oil is not just another fad and how it helps you to burn fat.
- Virgin coconut oil for thyroid problems: This is the same link but discusses the benefits of virgin coconut oil for thyroid health and function, too.
- If you know someone with Alzheimer's, you may want to look into how many are seeing improvement with the use of coconut oil here.
It is important that to see the real coconut oil benefits, the oil has not been highly processed. We love the Gold Label oils from one of our affiliates, Tropical Traditions. The quality is higher, which means you can really feel the benefits compared to processed or hydrogenated oils.
Is Virgin Coconut Oil Sustainable?
When looking into the sustainability of coconut oil, it appears that the Philippine and Indian governments are taking action to make sure coconut growers are acting responsibly and sustainably for the healthy future of their palms. It actually appears that many of the large growers are concerned about their product and their environment and act responsibly simply on their own without the government intervention.
Here are some of the steps that they are taking in order to ensure a sustainable product:
- Harvesting is either done by groups of contractors who use bamboo poles equipped with knives and cut the ripe fruit bunches from the treetops in order not to damage the trees. Extremely tall trees are harvested by expert workers who carefully climb the trees to retrieve the coconuts.
- They use non-chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.
- They maintain soil fertility, weed control and pest control by natural means.
- Growers use custom-made compost that meets the specific nutrient needs of coconut palms. Mulch is also used to provide high levels of potassium needed by the trees for fruit production. The mulch contains coconut leaves and fronds.
- The fertility of the soil is known by the output of coconuts and therefore monitored for health. An average, healthy coconut palm can produce 75 to 200 nuts per year and live to be up to 100 years old.
- Many companies are using metal free packaging and are ensuring they are completely recyclable and biodegradable.
As with any product we consume you have to know your provider in order to know if the product is truly being harvested responsibly, both for the environment and for working conditions. Research your supplier and make sure you trust their practices. I'm a huge fan of Tropical Traditions for their traditional and proven methods of extracting virgin coconut oil.
How to Use Virgin Coconut Oil
There are so many options for that we've broken down how to use coconut oil into several different articles:
- Baking and Cooking with Virgin Coconut Oil: This article shows you many of the ways you can use coconut oil in your everyday cooking, as well as shares some simple coconut oil recipes.
- Virgin Coconut Oil for Hair: Discover the coconut oil benefits offered to your hair!
- Virgin Coconut Oil for Skin: Find out why you should be using coconut oil on your skin too.
- Virgin Coconut Oil for Weight Loss and Thyroid: Learn how it helps you lose weight.
Where to Buy High-Quality Virgin Coconut Oil
The healthiest coconut products are ones that have gone through an exact, traditional process of expelling and processing. The higher the quality of oil, the more properties and benefits you'll receive.
This is why we love and support our affiliate, Tropical Traditions. They offer so much research and information and many more natural, organic products for your health, and clearly spell out the difference between "good" coconut oil and the truly great stuff.
Plus, new customers who purchase from our links get a free book!
Their book, Virgin Coconut Oil: How it has changed people's lives, and how it can change yours, includes the research behind coconut oil benefits, over 100 testimonials from coconut oil users and over 85 recipes to incorporate these health benefits into your life easily.
April Sheets is a peaceful parenting, babywearing and unschooling mom of three, an alternative medicine and natural immunity advocate, and raw food loving, juicing enthusiast. She is a lactivist, intactivist woman "altruistically trying to save the world from itself." Learn more from Sheets at Primitive Mommy: Instinctual Eating, Parenting and Living.