Ever hear the saying “Life happens. Coconut oil helps”? There are many oils out there, but it’s no secret that coconut oil is the new black. The coconut may look like a very straightforward average dry drupe, but don’t be fooled – because of its versatility the coconut’s components are used in various ways. Those components have given us coconut milk, coconut water, coconut meat, and last, but not least coconut oil. Coconut oil can be used on several things such as skin, hair, nails, in meals, and even as a makeup remover. “Coconut oil is good for everything” is a big statement, but can it be mythbusted?
What is coconut oil?
Coconut oil is an edible oil that comes from the meat of that is harvested from the coconut palm. It comes in two forms: refined and unrefined. The refined oil doesn’t come from fresh coconuts as one would think, but dry ones because raw coconut meat isn’t safe for human consumption. To purify the coconut meat it is deodorized and bleached. Unrefined coconut oil, sometimes called virgin coconut oil, is a different beast entirely. It undergoes “wet milling”, which is simply extracted oil from fresh coconuts spun down. Unrefined coconut oil does not include any processing steps. Both refined and unrefined offer benefits, but there is an appearance and taste difference present.
Unrefined coconut oil is better than refined coconut oil – Myth
This all depends on what you’re using it for and your tastebuds. Refined coconut oil has a smoke point of 350 degrees so it’s great for baking and sauteing dishes. It doesn’t give you a heavy coconut taste and is ideal for hair and skin products. It is also more cost-effective. Whereas unrefined coconut oil has a smoke point of 400 degrees that makes it a solid candidate for frying foods. Without undergoing those levels or processing it will impart a stronger coconut-y flavor into your dishes. This also in turn results in a shorter shelf life for virgin coconut oil, which tends to be a little more pricey.
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Coconut oil helps with hair growth – Fact
Yes! Coconut oil is a natural product to help all beautiful hair types grow thicker, longer, and stronger. However whether it is the best moisture sealant depends on a person’s hair type, hair history, and even curl pattern. Oil can be used to nourish your scalp as mentioned, but it is used as a sealant to lock in moisture. The essential fatty acids and vitamins found in coconut oil help clear and nourish the scalp, but also makes the oil very light, which may not be ideal for thicker hair that craves a heavier moisture sealant. All hair types are beautiful and tell a story, experiment and find which oil works best for you.
Coconut oil can help reduce your hunger – Fact (within reason)
Fact! A study conducted in 1998 by the Nutrition and Human Metabolism Group at the European Institute of Taste Sciences and Food Behaviors showed that 14 healthy men who had a fair portion of MCTs (medium-chain triacylglycerols – a manmade fat often found in some coconut oil) in their breakfast consumed less food for lunch. The fatty acids in coconut oil can reduce your appetite! When it comes to healthy weight loss, coconut oil will not get you the results you need alone. Coupled with exercise and a good diet suitable for your body and lifestyle, it could possibly help you reach a healthy weight loss goal over time.
If you use coconut oil to oil pull you don’t have to brush your teeth – Myth
Debunked! Coconut oil contains lauric acids that kill certain bacteria and fungi in the body. People have adapted “oil pulling” from India saying it pulls out toxins that cause the teeth to decay or develop bad breath. Though there are potentially good dental benefits with solely using coconut oil, it’s still strongly suggested you brush your teeth with toothpaste afterwards. You really want to make sure all of the toxins from oil pulling are removed from the mouth and a good two to three minute brush helps.
So the age old questions…
Is coconut oil really good for everything? It depends on you, your needs, and your lifestyle. You do not have to fall in line with the coconut craze if it makes your hair break off or doesn’t whiten your teeth. Use it because it’s good for your needs not because everyone else is doing it.