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The health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, maintaining cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer, dental care, and bone strength. These benefits of coconut oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and its properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, soothing, etc.
How is Lauric Acid Used by our body?
The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which is claimed to help in dealing with viruses and bacteria causing diseases such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. It helps in fighting harmful bacteria such as listeria monocytogenes and heliobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia. As a result of these various health benefits of coconut oil, though its exact mechanism of action was unknown, it has been extensively used in Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicinal system. The Coconut Research Center has compiled various references on scientific research done on coconut oil.
Composition of Coconut Oil: Coconut oil consists of more than ninety percent of saturated fats (Don’t panic! First read to the last word. Your opinion may change), with traces of few unsaturated fatty acids, such as monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Virgin Coconut Oil is no different from this. Let us have a bit detailed study of this.
The Saturated Fatty Acids: Most of them are Medium Chain Triglycerides, which are supposed to assimilate well. Lauric Acid is the chief contributor, with more than forty percent of the share, followed by Capric Acid, Caprylic Acid, Myristic Acid and Palmitic.
The Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: Linoleic Acid.
The Monounsaturated Fatty Acids: Oleic Acid.
The Poly-phenols: Gallic Acid, which is phenolic acid. These poly-phenols are supposed to be responsible for the fragrance and the taste of Coconut Oil and Virgin Coconut Oil is rich in these poly-phenols.
Certain derivatives of fatty acid like Betaines, Ethanolamide, Ethoxylates, Fatty Esters, Fatty Polysorbates, Monoglycerides and Polyol Esters.
Fatty Chlorides, Fatty Alcohol Sulphate and Fatty Alcohol Ether Sulphate, all of which are derivatives of Fatty Alcohols.
Vitamin-E and Vitamin K and minerals such as Iron.
Hair Care: Coconut oil is one of the best natural nutrition for hair. It helps in healthy growth of hair providing them a shiny complexion. Regular massage of the head with coconut oil ensures that your scalp is free of dandruff, lice, and lice eggs, even if your scalp is dry. Coconut oil is extensively used in the Indian sub-continent for hair care. It is an excellent conditioner and helps in the re-growth of damaged hair. It also provides the essential proteins required for nourishing damaged hair. It is therefore used as hair care oil and used in manufacturing various conditioners, and dandruff relief creams. Coconut oil is normally applied topically for hair care.
Skin Care: Coconut oil is excellent massage oil for the skin as well. It acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skins including dry skin. The benefit of coconut oil on the skin is comparable to that of mineral oil. Further, unlike mineral oil, there is no chance of having any adverse side effects on the skin with the application of coconut oil. Coconut oil therefore is a safe solution for preventing dryness and flaking of skin. It also delays wrinkles, and sagging of skin which normally become prominent with age. Coconut oil also helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections. Therefore coconut oil forms the basic ingredient of various body care products such as soaps, lotions, creams, etc., used for skin care. Coconut oil also helps in preventing premature aging and degenerative diseases due to its antioxidant properties.
Heart Diseases: There is a misconception spread among many people that coconut oil is not good for the heart. This is because it contains a large quantity of saturated fats. However, coconut oil is beneficial for the heart. It contains about 50% lauric acid, which helps in preventing various heart problems including high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. The saturated fats present in coconut oil are not harmful as it happens in case of other vegetables oils. It does not lead to increase in LDL levels. It also reduces the incidence of injury in arteries and therefore helps in preventing atherosclerosis.
Weight Loss: Coconut oil is very useful in reducing weight. It contains short and medium-chain fatty acids that help in taking off excessive weight. It is also easy to digest and it helps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and enzymes systems. Further, it increases the body metabolism by removing stress on pancreases, thereby burning out more energy and helping obese and overweight people reduce their weight. Hence, people living in tropical coastal areas, who eat coconut oil daily as their primary cooking oil, are normally not fat, obese or overweight.
Digestion: Internal use of coconut oil occurs primarily as cooking oil. Coconut oil helps in improving the digestive system and thus prevents various stomach and digestion related problems including irritable bowel syndrome. The saturated fats present in coconut oil have anti microbial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, parasites, etc., that cause indigestion. Coconut oil also helps in absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
Immunity: Coconut oil is also good for the immune system. It strengthens the immune system as it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which is claimed to help in dealing with viruses and bacteria causing diseases such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. It helps in fighting harmful bacteria such as listeria monocytogenes and heliobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia.
Healing and Infections: When applied on infections, it forms a chemical layer which protects the infected body part from external dust, air, fungi, bacteria and virus. Coconut oil is most effective on bruises as it speeds up the healing process by repairing damaged tissues.
Infections: Coconut oil is very effective against a variety of infections due to its antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. According to the Coconut Research Center, coconut oil kills viruses that cause influenza, measles, hepatitis, herpes, SARS, etc. It also kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and gonorrhea, etc. Coconut oil is also effective on fungi and yeast that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, diaper rash, etc.
7 Vitamins that’ll make you look younger
Anti-aging benefits: Despite Vitamin C’s notoriety for boosting our immune systems, what you might not know is that it’s also involved in collagen production and helps protect skin cells from sun damage.
Where it’s found: Bell peppers (any color), Broccoli, Strawberries, Guava, Citrus fruits like pineapples, lemons, limes, oranges, etc.
How much you need: Did you know that bell peppers are packed with 280 mg of Vitamin C, whereas oranges (the poster child of this vitamin) only contain 90 mg? While you need at least 100 mg of Vitamin C daily, there’s not really a set daily amount that you should eat, so go out of your way to eat two of the aforementioned fruits and/or veggies per day.
Anti-aging benefits: Vitamin E acts as a cell membrane protectant — it guards what comes in and what goes out of the skin. When combined with Vitamin C, it protects against UV damage.
Where it’s found: Wheat germ (can be added to protein shakes, oatmeal, bread crumbs, muffins, yogurt) Nuts and seeds (like sunflower seeds, peanuts, almonds) and Avocados.
How much you need: Eat one tbsp of wheat germ; two avocado slices; or a small handful of nuts.
Anti-aging benefits: Beta-carotene is crucial for skin health. It converts to Vitamin A, which is critically responsible for cell repair and growth.
Where it’s found: (Hint: Orange and deep green produce), Carrots, Pumpkins, Cantaloupe, Swiss chard, Spinach, and Kale.
How much you need: Aim for two servings a day of one of the above fruits and/or veggies.
Anti-aging benefits: While “fat” is typically a four-letter word in the dieting world, Omega-3 is a good fat. Healthy fats keep the skin lubricated, help maintain the integrity of the cell membrane, which keeps toxins out of the skin and may even help protect against sun damage.
Where it’s found: Ground flax seeds, Walnuts, Safe, low contaminate fatty fish (such as Wild Salmon, Atlantic Mackerel and sardines), and Edamame.
How much you need: Eat 3-5 ounces of fish three to five times per week. If you don’t eat fish, you can get your Omega-3’s in the form of a fish oil supplement and choose a supplement that has 1000 mg of EPA and DHA combined.
Anti-aging benefits: Studies have shown that polyphenols exhibit anti-cancer properties and may reduce the risk of sun-related cancers.
Where it’s found: Green tea.
How much you need: Drink at least one cup a day.
Anti-aging benefits: Selenium protects the skin’s quality and elasticity and protects it from the sun.
Where it’s found: Wheat germ, Seafood (suggest crab), and Eggs.
How much you need: There’s not really a set amount that is suggested, but try to incorporate these foods into your diet to make sure you’re getting some selenium.
Anti-aging benefits: Okay, okay water may not be a vitamin per se. And while we’ve all heard a thousand times that it’s important to drink water (and plenty of it), it’s critical for our skin’s health and beauty. The more water you drink the better your organs function, including your largest organ — your skin. Water keeps your cells well hydrated, which can give your skin a plumper, fuller, firmer and an overall more youthful appearance.
Where it’s found: Besides your tap, you can also eat some of your water by consuming produce like: Watermelon, Pineapples, Blackberries, Cauliflower, Cherry tomatoes, (Incidentally, you’ll get more bang for your bite with some of these fruits and veggies since they also contain Beta-carotene and Vitamin C.)
How much you need: There are varying debates about how much water we really need, but let your thirst be your guide. Always opt for water over sugary iced teas and sodas since there is a correlation between sugar intake and breakouts.
Oatmeal is one of the best natural treatments for dry skin. Plain rolled oats, can be used to make a gentle and very effective natural skin cleanser, facial scrub, and soothing facial mask. It provides nourishment for the skin, as well as soothing protection against harsh weather conditions. An excellent multi-purpose skin care treatment, oatmeal helps to relieve dryness, restoring natural moisture balance to aid in healing minor irritations due to the many causes and sources of skin sensitivities. Minor skin irritations can be caused by sensitivities to the ingredients in skin care products, exposure to chemicals found in household cleaning products, exfoliation with the wrong product, excessive scrubbing or rubbing during the exfoliation process, and many other factors. Cleansing the face with oatmeal helps to soothe skin irritation and reduce discomfort.
Oatmeal, when used as a skin cleanser, actually absorbs and removes surface dirt and impurities while providing very gentle exfoliation, leaving skin smooth, soft, and clean, without soap. As a facial mask, oatmeal deep cleanses pores without irritating and drying out skin. And as a facial scrub, oatmeal gently but effectively removes dead skin cells, to reveal softer, smoother looking skin. In addition, cleansing and exfoliating with oatmeal provides the bonus of a natural, healthy glow.
To enjoy the beauty benefits of oatmeal skin care you will need:
- Rolled oats (not instant) - found in the supermarket cereal section
- Blender or food processor
Directions: Grind oats in blender or food processor until oats have the consistency of flour. Pour into a jar, cover tightly, and use as follows:
Oatmeal Facial Cleanser & Scrub: Pour a small amount of ground oatmeal into palm, and add a little water to make a paste. Apply to face and throat and massage onto skin. Rinse. Follow with moisturizer.
Oatmeal Facial Mask: Pour a small amount of ground oatmeal into palm, and add a little water to make a paste. (For a more moisturizing mask, use milk instead of water.) Apply to face and throat and leave on skin for about 5 minutes. Rinse. Follow with moisturizer.
Oatmeal Lemon Facial Mask: Add a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to oatmeal and make a paste. Apply to face and throat and leave on skin for 5 minutes. Rinse. Follow with moisturizer. Weekly use of Oatmeal Lemon Facial Mask can help to bleach dark spots and freckles naturally. Lemon juice contains citric acid and vitamin C that functions as natural alpha hydroxy acids to help dissolve dead skin cells for brighter, more even toned skin.
Caution: Fresh lemon juice can cause a tingling sensation that may become uncomfortable. For sensitive skin, dilute lemon juice with an equal amount of water before mixing into oatmeal and applying to skin. If tingling becomes severe, rinse skin immediately with warm water.
Lemon can help relieve many digestion problems when mixed with hot water. These include nausea, heartburn and parasites. Due to the digestive qualities of lemon juice, symptoms of indigestion such as heartburn, bloating and belching are relieved. By drinking lemon juice regularly, the bowels are aided in eliminating waste more efficiently. Lemon acts as a blood purifier and as a cleansing agent. The intake of lemon juice can cure constipation. It is even known to help relieve hiccups when consumed as a juice. Lemon juice acts as a liver tonic and helps you digest your food by helping your liver produce more bile. It decreases the amount of phlegm produced by your body. It is also thought to help dissolve gallstones.
Excellent for Skin Care
Lemon, being a natural antiseptic medicine, can participate to cure problems related to skin. Lemon is a vitamin C rich citrus fruit that enhances your beauty, by rejuvenating skin from within and thus bringing a glow on your face. Daily consumption of lemon water can make a huge difference in the appearance of your skin. It acts as an anti-aging remedy and can remove wrinkles and blackheads. Lemon water if applied on the areas of burns can fade the scars. As lemon is a cooling agent, it reduces the burning sensation on the skin.
Aids in Dental Care
Lemon water is used in dental care also. If fresh lemon juice is applied on the areas of toothache, it can assist in getting rid of the pain. The massages of lemon juice on gums can stop gum bleeding. It gives relief from bad smell and other problems related to gums.
Cures Throat Infections
Lemon is an excellent fruit that aids in fighting problems related to throat infections, sore throat and tonsillitis as it has an antibacterial property. For sore throat, dilute one-half lemon juice with one-half water and gargle frequently.
Good for Weight Loss
One of the major health benefits of drinking lemon water is that it paves way for losing weight faster, thus acting as a great weight loss remedy. If a person takes lemon juice mixed with lukewarm water and honey, it can reduce the body weight as well.
Controls High Blood Pressure
Lemon water works wonders for people having heart problem, owing to its high potassium content. It controls high blood pressure, dizziness, nausea as well as provides relaxation to mind and body. It also reduces mental stress and depression.
Assist in curing Respiratory Disorders
Lemon water assists in curing respiratory problems, along with breathing problems and revives a person suffering from asthma.
Good for treating Rheumatism
Lemon is also a diuretic and hence lemon water can treat rheumatism and arthritis. It helps to flush out bacteria and toxins out of the body.
Lemon water can treat a person who is suffering from cold, flu or fever. It helps to break fever by increasing perspiration.
Acts as a blood purifier
The diseases like cholera or malaria can be treated with lemon water as it can act as a blood purifier.
How much should I drink?
In case you are in good health and weigh 70 kg or less, it is advisable for you to have juice of one-half of the lemon squeezed into one glass of water, twice daily. However, if you weigh more than 70 kg, juice of one whole lemon in a glass of water should be preferred. For maximum benefit, this mixture should also be taken two times a day, though you may dilute more lemon juice according to your taste if you wish.
Do not just remain oblivious to the gifts of nature such as this, for you should always try to make the most of them. So, make it a part of your daily routine to drink a glass of warm lemon water in the morning and then open your gateway to enjoy it’s health benefits.
Fooducate is probably my newest favorite app!
I wanted to share this for those interested in their health and what they eat.
With the Fooducate iPhone app, you can:
- Automatically scan a product barcode- See product highlights (both good & bad)- Compare products- Select better alternatives!
It has over 160,000 products in their food database, and growing daily. When you scan a product, the software analyzes the information found in the nutrition panel and ingredient list, and comes up with a rating and a tidbit or two explaining the product.
You get to see the stuff manufacturers don’t want you to notice, such as excessive sugar, tricky trans fats, various additives and preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, controversial food colorings, and more.
Looking to get in shape for summer? then bodyrock.tv is just right for you. You can follow their Youtube page which is full of killer workout videos which will give you real results. Along with healthy diet recipes you can find in their website.