As I mentioned in my "I'm Back!" post my family and I all came down with the flu at the end of April. A friend suggested that I look into coconut oil, and when I did the obsession began. After my first teaspoon of coconut oil my throat felt better, and within hours I noticed a big difference in how I felt. My husband, being the loving skeptic he is, watched with eyebrows raised. I finally convinced him to try to virgin coconut oil (VCO) after hours of complaints, and after a few short moments his scratchy throat felt fine.
After I saw the difference the coconut oil made I began hours of research on this wondrous oil. I started to read how VCO is high in lauric acid which is known for having antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. This was crucial in getting over sickness, but it also passes through breast milk which was important to me having a breastfed infant who was sick.
For centuries coconut oil has been used for healthy hair and skin. Applied to the scalp VCO helps moisturize hair, get rid of dandruff and even kill lice. Coconut oil smeared on skin helps heal eczema, soothe sunburns, protects cuts against infections, and heals bruises quickly. Due to it's antifungal properties, VCO also helps clear athlete's foot and toenail fungi. Coconut oil also helps low thyroid function and endocrine system.
Since I was a little girl I have struggled with digestive issues. After many surgeries I finally said enough was enough and that I would just deal with it. When I started the coconut oil I noticed that food was digesting easier, and within a few days I became regular. (You guys are really getting to know me, aren't you? :)
Another huge benefit to the coconut oil is weight loss. Yup, you read right. I began to lose weight faster than I ever have, and my husband noticed the same effect. After digging deeper I learned that VCO contains medium-chain fatty acids that help in taking off excessive weight. The body uses medium-chain fatty acids as energy, and does not store the acids as fat. Once your body learns that it is getting a steady supply of good fat it begins to release stored fat. A great book that explains the benefit and need for fat in the diet is Eat Fat, Lose Fat.
The problem that I have continually run into, with the only exception being the aforementioned book, is that many of the sources for this information are somehow linked to the coconut oil industry. There are plenty of people with tremendous, close to miraculous, stories of how VCO helped them with various ailments, but concrete evidence has been hard to come by.
Knowing that the coconut oil couldn't hurt by breastfed baby I decided to be a guinea pig. The worst thing that could happen would be gaining a few pounds. Here were the many benefits I noticed:
- Got over sickness very fast
- My skin seem significantly less dry
- Significant weight loss
- A ton of energy
- My consistently low body temperature (norm 96.4 degrees) went up over a degree
- My hands and feet warmed up
When buying coconut oil you want to make sure that it's organic unrefined virgin coconut oil. Refinement changes the composition of the coconut oil, and you will not get the same benefits as you would the virgin coconut oil. I buy our coconut oil from Vitacost. If the oil gets warmer than 76 degrees it melts, cooler and it solidifies. The oil can go through this process many times over without it effecting the oil, and it is perfectly normal.
I am now taking 3 tablespoons of organic virgin coconut oil a day. I mix 1 T of VCO into a smoothie, smear it on toast, or put it in a splash of juice. I have also started to cook with VCO because heat does not change the composition of the oil. When you first start taking coconut oil start out slow or you will have an upset stomach. 1 tsp/ 3x's a day is a good start, and when you can handle that start working up.
I have barely touched on the benefits of coconut oil. Here are some more sites:
Coconutoil.com (I realize this source is biased but there is some good information on the site)
- If you're doing this to lose weight know that you may gain a couple pounds at first, but it will come off after a few days. Again, if your body is not used to having fats (which it needs!!!) it won't know what to do with the VCO.
- If you're not "regular" you will become regular using VCO, but while your body is learning to digest good fats you may get bloated and constipated.
- Start slow if you're worried about the side effects.
- Try to stick to a low(er) carb diet and you'll see results much, much faster