Real coconut with spoon full of coconut oil.
October 28, 2016 | by The Polyclinic

Organic coconut oil is one of the bigger mysteries when it comes to your health. Some health professionals don’t believe in the benefits while others swear by it. Here are a few facts when using “superfood of oil:”

Healthy or Unhealthy Fats?

A quick glance at the nutritional facts and you’ll see that 85 - 90 percent of coconut oil is saturated fat. That’s 20 percent more saturated fat than butter.

However, coconut oil contains “healthy fats” such as short and medium-chain fatty acids (MCT), which easily digest and provide instant energy. These fatty acids aren’t stored in the body like other fats. They speed up the metabolic rate by reducing stress in the pancreas, which helps burn calories. Coconut oil also consists of lauric, caprylic and capric acids that boost your immune system and help fight viruses and diseases.

Some studies have shown coconut oil can assist in weight loss, but there are still unanswered questions. Polyclinic dietitian, Tracey Graber, says that coconut oil should be consumed moderately as an alternative to other oils, along with a healthy diet and exercise. “Patients should remember that coconut oil contains a lot of calories in small amounts and excess calorie intake leads to weight gain,” Tracey says. “Focusing on reducing overall calorie intake by eating a balanced diet and incorporating routine physical activity is the best strategy for successful weight loss.”

A Moisturizer for All Skin Types

Coconut oil has become very popular for its use as a moisturizer for all skin types, especially those trying to cure dry or flakey skin (psoriasis). It has also been linked to reducing wrinkles and sagging skin and in treating problems such as eczema, and dermatitis. With no side-effects from applying extra virgin organic coconut oil, it’s a go-to base ingredient for many lotions, soaps and skin care products. Coconut oil can be an excellent and safe skin care product as long as you are comfortable with a scented oil.

Keeping Hair Healthy

Countries in Southern Asia have historically used coconut oil to fortify and moisturize hair. The Vitamin-E and lactic acids from coconut oil can penetrate the hair shaft and prevent protein loss and cure damaged hair. Coconut oil has also been linked to protecting hair from dandruff, lice and excessive hair loss. Like many skin care products, coconut oil is an ingredient used in shampoo and conditioners. However, more research is needed to gauge the effectiveness of the use of coconut oil for hair care.