Many people associate the benefits of coconut oil with hair or skin care. While it is beneficial as a conditioner to reducing protein loss in hair and a great skin moisturizer that helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections, there are so many other benefits to this natural oil.

There is a misconception that coconut oil is not good for the heart because it contains a large quantity of saturated fats. However, 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 do not lead to an increase in LDL levels. It also reduces the incidence of injury in arteries therefore preventing atherosclerosis.

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.

Coconut oil is great 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. It also increases the body metabolism by removing stress on the pancreas. It is often preferred by athletes and body builders and those who are dieting because coconut oil contains lesser calories than other oils, its fat content is easily converted into energy and it does not lead to accumulation of fat in the heart and arteries. Coconut oil helps in boosting energy and endurance, and enhances the performance of athletes.

It’s also beneficial for our 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. Because of these properties, it is very effective against a variety of infections. 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. Coconut oil is also effective on fungi and yeast that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, and diaper rash.

This wonder oil improves the ability of our body to absorb important minerals such as calcium and magnesium which are necessary for development of bones. Thus coconut oil is very useful to women who are prone to osteoporosis after middle age. Coconut oil helps in preventing kidney and gall bladder diseases as well as helps in dissolving kidney stones.

Internal use of coconut oil occurs primarily as cooking oil although you can add it to your diet creatively. Try adding some to your nightly tea, on top of a morning cereal bar, soups, etc.