Coconut Oil: A myriad of health benefits

The coconut, fruit or nut? If you guessed fruit, you’re correct. Growing on tall palm trees, a full-sized coconut weights about 3.2 pounds. In order to thrive and bear fruit, the palms require very specific growing conditions, including warm, humid climates. Abundant sunlight and regular yearly rainfall are a must. Precisely why we don’t see coconut palms in dry Arizona.

So what’s all the fuss about over this fruit, once condemned by experts due to its high fat content? Recent studies reveal not only is it good for you, Research has discovered the reason resides in the fat molecules found in the coconut. Most oils contain long-chain fatty acids, or LCFAs, which contain 12 or more carbon atoms in a row and are more prevalent in meat and dairy products. Coconut oil, on the other hand, contains medium-chain fatty acids, or MCFAs, a type of saturated fat consisting of eight to 10 carbon atoms strung together in a row. Studies demonstrate that LCFAs are more likely to end up as fat deposits in the body compared with MCFAs, which are more easily metabolized in the body. The same MCFAs are known to improve metabolism, thyroid function, boost energy, and promote weight loss, but the benefits don’t stop there. Coconut oil has been found to possess anti-viral and anti-carcinogenic properties. Dr. Oz, renowned cardiothoracic surgeon and host of “The Dr. Oz Show” has also touted coconut oil’s ability to treat skin conditions like eczema and fungal infections.

Coconut oil contains 117 calories and 13.6 grams of fat per tablespoon. It has a mild delicate flavor and maintains a long shelf life.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF COCONUT OIL

Hair Care: It promotes growth of healthy hair and increases shine. Try: Massaging your scalp with a tablespoon of coconut oil.

Skin Care: Coconut oil is very moisturizing and delays wrinkles and sagging of the skin. It also helps treat psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, and other skin infections. Try: Soaps with high concentrations of coconut oil.

Digestion: 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 also have anti-microbial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, parasites, etc., that cause indigestion. Try: Cooking with coconut oil in place of vegetable oil.

Where to Find Coconut Oil in Scottsdale, Arizona:

Whole Foods
Trader Joes

Sprouts

 

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