The coconut’s status as one of those elusive “good fats” has skyrocketed in recent years, with the tropical stone fruit being repurposed as a dairy substitute (think coconut milk and butter), beauty product (hair masks, skin lotion) and household cleaner among countless other uses. Coconut oil even has an SPF of 8! Check out some additional ways that the coconut can be added to your health, beauty and healing regimens.
According to many studies, lauric acid—a protective type of fatty acid—has been linked with improved cholesterol levels and heart health. Because coconuts contain minerals important for circulation and controlling blood flow, coconut milk is also useful for lowering blood pressure and keeping blood vessels flexible, elastic and free from plaque buildup.
The Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) in coconuts can help rid your gut of harmful microorganisms. Coconut oil, which can be used in baking and as an alternative to butter and oil for sautéing, is considered an anti-inflammatory food. Those anti-inflammatory benefits help heal injury to the digestive tract in patients who suffer from diseases like Crohn’s. Finally, coconut fats fight candida yeast that lives within the digestive tract.
It’s no wonder that coconut products make the perfect natural additions to add to your beauty regimen. Naturally antibacterial and antifungal, coconut oil is an excellent body moisturizer and it penetrates hair better than other “typical” hair conditioners. However, be careful not to overdo it when applying it to your skin. Coconut oil is comedogenic, meaning it may clog pores.
Monolaurin and Monocaprin are the naturally occurring fatty acids in coconuts than can boost the immune system. For an example of what they can do, consider that Monolaurin is found in breast milk as a way for mothers to boost the immune strength of babies.
Compared to the long-chain fatty acids found in most of your diet, the medium-chain fatty acids found in coconut oil are metabolized a bit differently, heading from your digestive tract straight to the liver. There they are converted to energy which helps nourish and rejuvenate the body.