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Top 10 Natural Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

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Coconut oil is one of the few foods that can be classified as a “superfood.” Its unique combination of fatty acids can have positive effects on your health. This includes fat loss, better brain function and various other impressive benefits. Here are the top 10 natural health benefits of coconut oil.

1. Coconut Oil Contains Fatty Acids With Potent Medicinal Properties

Coconut oil is high in healthy saturated fats that have different effects than most other fats in your diet.

These fats can boost fat burning and provide your body and brain with quick energy. They also raise the good HDL cholesterol in your blood, which is linked to reduced heart disease risk.

Most fats in the diet are called long-chain triglycerides, but the fats in coconut oil are known as medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). What this means is that the fatty acids are shorter than most other fats.

When you eat these types of fats, they go straight to the liver, where they are used as a quick source of energy or turned into ketones.

Ketones can have powerful benefits for the brain, and are being studied as treatment for epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and other conditions.

SUMMARY:Coconut oil is high in fats called medium chain triglycerides, which are metabolized differently than most other fats. These special fats are responsible for a lot of the health benefits of coconut oil.

2. Populations That Eat a Lot of Coconut Oil Are Healthy

Coconut is an exotic food in the Western world, primarily consumed by health conscious people.

However, in some parts of the world, coconut (loaded with coconut oil) is a dietary staple that people have thrived on for many generations.

The best example of such a population is the Tokelauans, which live in the South Pacific.

They used to eat over 60% of their calories from coconuts. When studied, they were found to be in excellent health, with very low rates of heart disease.

Another example of a population that ate a lot of coconut and remained in excellent health is the Kitavans.

SUMMARY:Several populations around the world have thrived for multiple generations eating massive amounts of coconut.

3. Coconut Oil Can Increase Fat Burning

Obesity is one of the biggest health problems in the world.

While some people think obesity is only a matter of calories, others (myself included) believe that the sources of those calories are important too.

It is a fact that different foods affect our bodies and hormones in different ways. In this regard, a calorie is not a calorie.

The medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil can increase how many calories you burn compared to the same amount of calories from longer chain fats.

One study found that 15-30 grams of MCTs per day increased 24 hour energy expenditure by 5%, totaling about 120 calories per day.

SUMMARY:The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil have been shown to increase calories burned over 24 hours by as much as 5%.

4. Coconut Oil Can Kill Harmful Microorganisms

The 12-carbon lauric acid makes up about 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil.

When lauric acid is digested, it also forms a substance called monolaurin.

Both lauric acid and monolaurin can kill harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses and fungi.

For example, these substances have been shown to help kill the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus (a very dangerous pathogen) and the yeast Candida albicans, a common source of yeast infections in humans.

SUMMARY:The fatty acids in coconut oil can kill harmful pathogens, including bacteria, viruses and fungi. This could potentially help to prevent infections.

5. Coconut Oil Can Reduce Your Hunger, Helping You Eat Less

One interesting feature of the fatty acids in coconut oil is that they can reduce your hunger.

This may be related to the way the fats are metabolized, because ketones can have an appetite reducing effect.

In one study, varying amounts of medium and long chain triglycerides were fed to 6 healthy men.

The men eating the most MCTs ate 256 fewer calories per day, on average.

Another study in 14 healthy men discovered that those who ate the most MCTs at breakfast ate fewer calories at lunch.

These studies were small and only done for short periods of time. If this effect were to persist over the long term, it could help lead to reduced body weight over a period of several years.

SUMMARY:The fatty acids in coconut oil can significantly reduce appetite, which may lead to reduced body weight over the long term.

6. The Fatty Acids in Coconuts May Reduce Seizures

A so-called ketogenic (very low carb, very high fat) diet is currently being studied to treat various disorders.

The best known therapeutic application of this diet is treating drug-resistant epilepsy in children.

This diet involves eating very few carbohydrates and large amounts of fat, leading to greatly increased concentrations of ketones in the blood.

For some reason, the diet dramatically reduces the rate of seizures in epileptic children, even those who haven’t had success with multiple different types of drugs.

Because the fatty acids in coconut oil get shipped to the liver and turned into ketones, they are often used in epileptic patients to induce ketosis while allowing for a bit more carbs in the diet.

SUMMARY:The MCTs in coconut oil can increase blood concentration of ketone bodies, which can help reduce seizures in epileptic children.

7. Coconut Oil Can Raise The Good HDL Cholesterol

Coconut oil contains natural saturated fats that increase the good HDL cholesterol in your body. They may also help turn the bad LDL cholesterol into a less harmful form.

By increasing HDL, many experts believe that coconut oil could be good for heart health compared to many other fats.

In one study in 40 women, coconut oil reduced total and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL compared to soybean oil.

Another study in 116 patients showed that a dietary program that included coconut oil raised levels of the good HDL cholesterol.

SUMMARY:A few studies have shown that coconut oil can raise blood levels of HDL cholesterol, which is linked to improved metabolic health and a lower risk of heart disease.

8. Coconut Oil Can Protect Your Skin, Hair and Dental Health

Coconut oil has many uses that have nothing to do with eating it.

Many people are using it for cosmetic purposes and to improve the health and appearance of their skin and hair.

Studies on individuals with dry skin show that coconut oil can improve the moisture content of the skin. It can also reduce symptoms of eczema.

Coconut oil can also be protective against hair damage and one study shows effectiveness as a weak sunscreen, blocking about 20% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays

Another application is using it like mouthwash in a process called oil pulling, which can kill some of the harmful bacteria in the mouth, improve dental health and reduce bad breath.

SUMMARY:Coconut oil can also be applied topically, with studies showing it to be effective as a skin moisturizer and protecting against hair damage.

9. The Fatty Acids in Coconut Oil Can Boost Brain Function in Alzheimer’s Patients

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia worldwide and occurs primarily in elderly individuals.

In Alzheimer’s patients, there appears to be a reduced ability to use glucose for energy in certain parts of the brain.

Researchers have speculated that ketones can provide an alternative energy source for these malfunctioning brain cells and reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

In one 2006 study, consumption of medium chain triglycerides led to improvement in brain function in patients with milder forms of Alzheimer’s.

However, keep in mind that research is still early and there is no evidence to suggest that coconut oil itself helps with Alzheimer’s disease.

SUMMARY:Preliminary studies suggest that medium-chain triglycerides can increase blood levels of ketones, supplying energy for the brain cells of Alzheimer’s patients and relieving symptoms.

10. Coconut Oil Can Help You Lose Fat, Especially The Harmful Abdominal Fat

Given that coconut oil can reduce appetite and increase fat burning, it makes sense that it can also help you lose weight.

Coconut oil appears to be especially effective at reducing belly fat, which lodges in the abdominal cavity and around organs.

This is the most dangerous fat of all and is highly associated with many chronic Western diseases.

Waist circumference is easily measured and is a great marker for the amount of fat in the abdominal cavity.

In a study of 40 women with abdominal obesity, supplementing with 30 mL (2 tablespoons) of coconut oil per day led to a significant reduction in both BMI and waist circumference over a period of 12 weeks.

Another study in 20 obese males noted a reduction in waist circumference of 1.1 inches (2.86 cm) after 4 weeks of 30 mL (2 tablespoons) of coconut oil per day.

Coconut oil is still high in calories so you shouldn’t add a ton of it to your diet. But replacing some of your other cooking fats with coconut oil could have a small weight loss benefit.

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Natural Health

7 of the Healthiest Oils for You

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Bottles in Brown Woven Basket

One of the biggest myths in healthy eating is that fat is bad. Fat has been demonized in the past few decades and it was blamed for so many health issues in the past. 

Fat actually serves several things. It helps cell growth and protects organs in the body. It’s also essential in absorbing certain nutrients that are fat-soluble. Fat is also key in giving a sense of fullness during meals.

Fat is an essential nutrient, and one of the best sources of it are oils. Now, there are several types of oils that you can use. We have listed here 7 of the healthiest oils that you can use. 

Olive Oil

Olive is an essential ingredient of Mediterranean cuisine which is known for dishes that are good for the heart. Olive oil has a lot of supposed health benefits. For example, it has been linked to fighting Alzheimer’s disease and to better heart health. Olive oil is perfect for baking and for sauteeing dishes, but it should not be used for deep frying because it has a low smoke point.

Canola Oil

Canola oil only contains 7% saturated fat while being rich in monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. Because it has a higher smoke point than other oils and it has a somewhat neutral flavor, it is ideal for deep frying foods. 

Flaxseed Oil 

Flaxseed Oil: Benefits, Side Effects, Dosage, and Interactions
Verywell Health

Flaxseed oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids which is believed to be helpful in preventing certain types of cancer. On top of that, flaxseed oil is believed to be helpful in reducing some symptoms of arthritis. Flaxseed oil should not be heated as that may remove some of its health benefits. It should be used in cold dishes instead.

Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is a great source of monounsaturated fats. Research has found that avocado oil provides great nutritional value at both high and low temperatures.  It also has a high smoke point, so it can be used for stir-frying and sauteing. 

Walnut Oil

What Is Walnut Oil and How Is It Used?
The Spruce Eats

Walnut oil may not be that well-known, but it is also an excellent source of  omega-3 fatty acids. This kind of oil is not refined and has a low smoke point, so it should not be used for frying or for any kind of cooking for that matter. It is perfect as a dressing, though.

Sesame Oil

Sesame oil has been used extensively in Asian cuisine. It is also considered by experts to be one of the best oils for heart health. Some believe that sesame oil has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Because it has a high smoke point, sesame oil can be used in different types of cooking.

Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil is high in unsaturated fat, which makes it a healthy oil option. Using sunflower oil can potentially lower LDL cholesterol.

These are seven of the healthiest oils that you can use.  At the same time, you need to avoid certain types of oil which may not be as healthy. Those oils you should avoid include coconut oil and palm oil.

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Natural Health

6 Surprising Natural Ingredients That Are Good for Your Skin

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Woman With Brown

How do you take care of your skin?

If you buy skincare products, you need to buy it and make sure it does not have harsh chemicals. The harsh chemicals used on some skincare products can break through the barriers of your skin and cause more harm than good.

Natural Ingredients

If you want to be sure about the safety of what you are using on your skin, you should stick to natural ingredients. To give you a clearer idea of what you should use, here are some natural ingredients that are good for your skin. Some of these ingredients might surprise you.

Coconut Oil

White Powder in Clear Glass Jar Beside Brown Wooden Spoon

Coconut oil is arguably the most popular natural skincare ingredient in use today. One of the things that make coconut oil is very versatile. You can apply it topically and you can ingest it. You can still get the benefits from it. It can help in removing dead skin cells and also fortify your skin. It’s also excellent for the hair and many hair care products have it as an ingredient.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil has a long history of being used for treating skin problems. It is good for treating breakouts, redness, and inflammation. It is a natural anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory ingredient. It can be applied directly to the skin.

Grape Seed Oil

Grapeseed oil is a common food ingredient. What you may not realize is that it has excellent qualities for skincare as well.  This oil is extracted from the seeds of grapes after they have been processed for wine. This oil is also effective an antioxidant which is why it is so good for the skin.  One of the best things about grape seed oil is that it does not clog pores so it can be used on almost any skin type.

Rose Water

Rose Water Benefits: 4 benefits rosewater has for your skin and hair that  you didn't know about
Healthshots

Rosewater is not just fragrant and relaxing but is also useful for skincare.  If you are looking for a natural treatment for irritated skin then rose water should be the first thing you should try.  Rosewater contains vitamins and is an excellent antioxidant.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar contains a powerful acetic acid that makes it perfect for cleansing your skin. It can kill fungi, bacteria, and other pathogens that can be found on your skin.

Sea Salt

Don’t be surprised, but sea salt can actually be beneficial for your skin. Sea salt is very rich in minerals that are very good for the skin. Those minerals include potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Those minerals are needed by your skin cells. Sea salts can be applied topically and can be used with some natural facial scrub. You can mix it with honey and raw avocado for example. 

These are just six natural skincare ingredients that you can use. There are others that are equally beneficial as these ones. Don’t rely too much on the commercial products that are being sold today. Natural is always best when you want to care for your body.

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Natural Health

8 Tips To Help You Quit Smoking

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Person Smoking Cigarette

Do you want to quit smoking?

It’s not the easiest thing in the world. Some people find it impossible to quit.  If you find it difficult to quit smoking, then here are some tips that you can use to help you.

Tip#1: Find a Solid Reason for Quitting

There are a lot of legitimate reasons why you should quit smoking. First of all, smoking has been linked to higher risks of developing all kinds of diseases. Then there’s the fact that those who do not smoke live longer than smokers. You won’t run out of reasons for quitting, but you need to take those reasons and make them your own. If you don’t have a reason for stopping a habit that you enjoy, you will not be motivated to stick to your decision.

Tip#2: Prepare for It

Some people can quit cold turkey, but they’re more like the exception rather than the rule. Keep in mind that smoking is a form of addiction. So, just deciding to stop may not work for you. Ask help from your doctor about how you can help prepare to quit. There are classes that you join which can help you.

Tip#3: Nicotine Replacement Therapy

As mentioned, smoking is a kind of addiction, and quitting will cause withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms might include headaches, mood swings, and lack of energy. If you don’t want to go through those, then you should consider getting nicotine replacement therapy.

Tip#4: Consider Using Prescription Pills To Help You

There are some prescription pills that you can use to help you to ease the withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop smoking. Just remember, you should not take any medicine without asking for advice from your doctor first.

Tip#5: Tell Your Family and Friends

Photo of Women Sitting While Talking

Don’t keep your quitting a secret because there’s a good chance that you will backslide and go back to smoking, and no one can hold you accountable. Make sure that you reveal your plans to your friends and family so they can encourage you and remind you of your commitment if you start smoking again.

Tip#6: Give Yourself Time to Relax

For many people, smoking is a way to relax. They do it when they feel stressed. This means when they quit, they would lose the thing that allows them to destress. So, if you are going to quit, you need to give yourself some time to relax and unwind.

Tip#7: Avoid Triggers

You need to avoid the triggers that might compel you to start smoking. If you smoke when you drink, then maybe you should avoid drinking. If you smoke after eating, then maybe you need to do something else.

Tip#8: Clean Up

After you have smoked your last cigarette, start cleaning your house and remove anything that might remind you of smoking. Throw away all your ashtrays and lighters and wash the clothes and curtains that might smell of cigarette smoke.

These are just some of the tips that you can use if you want to quit smoking now.  Quitting smoking is not easy, but these tips can make things easier for you.

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