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World Coconut Day 2021: 33 Different Uses Of Coconut Oil - Benefits, Allergies And How Much To Consume Per Day

World Coconut Day is observed on 2 September every year. The APCC (Asian and Pacific Coconut Community) initiative, the first observance of World Coconut Day, took place in 2009. In 2020, the theme was 'Invest In Coconut To Save The World,' World Coconut Day 2021 theme is yet to be published.

In India, the day is celebrated with the support of the Coconut Development Board (CDB) in various coconut growing states across the country, such as Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Orissa, West Bengal etc. India is the top country in the global list of countries with coconut production and productivity.

In the event of World Coconut Day, let's take a look at the different uses of coconut oil. One of the most versatile foods out there, coconut oil is used for a plethora of purposes. From weight loss to dandruff, coconut oil application knows no boundaries.

The article contains the following:

  • Benefits Of Coconut Oil
  • Different Uses Of Coconut Oil
  • Coconut Oil For Beauty
  • Coconut Oil For Health
  • Coconut Oil For Cooking
  • Side Effects/Allergies Of Coconut Oil
  • How Much Coconut Oil Can You Consume Per Day?
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Coconut Oil: The Most Versatile Food Out There!

Coconut oil is extracted from coconut meat and stands out due to its content of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are metabolised differently, therefore, possessing various health benefits [1]. 50 per cent of coconut oil is lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that is broken down into a compound called monolaurin that help protect your body from harmful bacteria, fungi and viruses [2].

The edge that coconut oil has over cooking oils containing long-chain fatty acids is that coconut oil, especially virgin coconut oil (VCO), is rich in medium-chain fatty acids. This fact makes it a functional food that can be considered to offer various health benefits [3].

Some of the common and proven health benefits of coconut oil are that it helps reduce abdominal fat, boosts immunity, improves bone health, prevents high blood pressure, raises good cholesterol levels, and improves digestion [4][5].

So, take a look at all the different ways you can use coconut oil.

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Uses Of Coconut Oil

Here, we have listed all the possible uses of coconut oil for health, beauty, cooking etc.

A. Coconut Oil For Health

1. Improves dental health: The many benefits of using coconut oil for dental/oral health include reducing plaque build-up, preventing tooth decay by fighting off the Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus bacteria. The lauric acid in the oil, according to studies, is extremely effective in fighting off bacteria that cause bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease [6].

2. Provides relief from skin irritation and eczema: Topical application of coconut oil has been seen to reduce symptoms of various skin diseases, such as eczema [7]. Studies have pointed out that coconut oil improves dermatitis and other skin disorders.

3. Protects skin from UV rays: Coconut oil, when applied on the skin, can help protect from the harmful UV rays and has been shown to blocks about 20 per cent of the sun's UV rays [8].

4. Improves brain function: MCTs refer to medium-chain triglycerides found in coconut oil, which can help improve your brain function and have impressive benefits for brain disorders, including epilepsy and Alzheimer's [9].

5. Increases good cholesterol levels: While coconut oil can raise cholesterol levels in some people, it is more effective in increasing the good HDL cholesterol [10].

6. May help reduce belly fat: For years, coconut oil has been known to be an appetite suppressant. Added to this quality of reducing appetite is its ability to burn fat. Both of these combines to make it a potent tool for burning fat in your body, especially the hard to dislodge fat deposits around your waist [11].

7. May help fight infections: Coconut oil, especially virgin coconut oil, has antibacterial properties that can help treat infections [12].

8. Controls hunger: The medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil may help reduce hunger, which gives coconut oil its space in the 'weight-loss world.

9. Improves wound healing: Applying coconut oil on minor wounds and cuts can help speed up the healing process [13]. Coconut oil promotes the production of collagen, a major component of skin, allowing the wound to heal faster. You can apply coconut oil directly on small cuts and wounds and cover them with a bandage.

10. Improves bone health: Clinical trials on rats have proved that virgin coconut oil greatly improves bone structure, preventing osteoporosis to a great extent. This can be attributed to the presence of a high amount of anti-oxidative polyphenols in VCO.

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11. Prevents candida (yeast infection): Clinical trials have established that coconut oil is more effective at 100 per cent concentration than fluconazole in treating fungal infections caused by candida. With recently emerging species of candida that are drug-resistant, coconut oil can be effectively used for treating fungal infections [14].

12. Reduces inflammation: Consuming coconut oil provides strong anti-inflammatory effects and may help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation.

13. Improves energy levels: Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglyceride fatty acids, which goes directly to your liver and can be used as a quick energy source.

14. Provides relief from arthritis symptoms: The polyphenols (antioxidants) present in coconut oil may help relieve some arthritis symptoms [15]. A clinical study had shown that treatment with polyphenols from coconut oil reduced swelling and several inflammations caused by arthritis.

15. Improves liver health: The saturated fats present in coconut oil can help protect your liver from damage due to alcohol or toxin exposure [16].

16. May help with constipation: Coconut oil, when consumed in moderation, has been shown to help ease constipation. However, this may not work the same for everyone. So, if you are suffering from chronic constipation, do consult a doctor.

17. May help with psoriasis: Studies have shown that coconut oil may help in treating scalp psoriasis [17]. Some people have an allergic reaction to coconut oil, so if you are one of them, do not use it to treat the condition, as it may make it worse.

18. May boost heart health: Although the saturated fat in coconut oil is known to raise cholesterol levels, some saturated fats in coconut oil (called medium-chain triglycerides) are less harmful and may help improve heart health.

19. May reduce seizures: Studies have shown that the MCTs in coconut oil can increase the blood concentration of ketone bodies, which can help reduce seizures in children with epilepsy [18].

20. Can be used for diaper rash: Topical application of coconut oil has been proven to help relieve inflamed diaper rash and any redness, irritation, or itching.

Recently, there have been more studies on the effect of coconut oil used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease, rosacea (a chronic skin condition), cellulite, UTIs [19][20]. However, coconut oil should not be used as a replacement for any prescription medications.

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B. Coconut Oil For Beauty

21. Helps with chapped lips: The moisture content in coconut oil makes it a safe and all-natural lip balm, especially for chapped lips. It leaves the lip moisturised for long hours and protects from the sun.

22. Good for your eyebrows and eyelashes: Coconut oil is generally safe and is good for your eyelashes and eyebrows due to its moisturising ability. It helps protect against breakage ad kills bacteria [21]. Coconut oil can also be used on your eyelashes for fuller lashes.

23. Natural, chemical-free makeup remover: One of the best and safest makeup removers you can choose is coconut oil. Apply with a cotton pad and wipe gently to remove face and eye makeup.

24. Moisturises the skin: As mentioned previously, coconut oil has amazing moisturising quality, keeping your skin feeling supple and dryness-free. You can apply coconut oil all over your body without any hesitation. It is also beneficial for managing cracked heels.

25. Protects hair from damage: Hair damage can be prevented to a certain extent by applying coconut oil. It also works as a mild sunscreen and can block around 20 per cent of the sun's harmful UV rays. Due to the unique structure of lauric acid, coconut oil can improve your hair quality better than most other oils [22].

26. Chemical-free deodorant: The antibacterial property of coconut oil makes it a good deodorant. You could be wondering how you can use oil as deo, worry not, there are several easy recipes available online to make chemical-free deo at home.

27. Heals cuticles: A cuticle is a layer of clear skin located along the bottom edge of your finger or toe and can get really dry fast. Applying coconut oil several times a week can help prevent that as well as hangnails.

28. May help with treating lice: While applying coconut oil alone may not help everyone in getting rid of lice when combined with apple cider vinegar and essential oils, coconut oil can help get rid of these pesky head lice.

29. May help reduce minor wrinkles: Although applying coconut oil will not help put a stop to your skin ageing, it can definitely help reduce the blow your skin takes as you age.

30. Help treat dandruff: Coconut oil has also been traditionally used as a natural antimicrobial product. For people with dry skin along with dandruff, coconut oil can help reduce the dryness and thus control dandruff [23].

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C. Other Uses Of Coconut Oil

31. Removes tough stains: Coconut oil can be used to get rid of stains on carpets and furniture. Add one part coconut oil with one part baking soda and mix into a paste, apply on the stain and wipe away from 5 minutes.

32. Chemical-free insect repellent: Combining Thai essential oils with coconut oil can provide protection against insects. Most insect repellents are loaded with toxic chemicals that can be bad for your health when inhaled or exposed to continuously. Apply this coconut oil mixture to avoid insect bites [24].

33. Used as a furniture shine: Coconut oil moisturises wood, brings out its natural colours and acts as a dust repellent. Clean the wooden surface with a damp towel, rub a small amount of oil into the surface using circular motions and a clean cloth to increase the shine.

34. Salad dressing, healthy mayonnaise and sugar-free dark chocolate: In addition to being used as cooking oil, coconut oil can also be used as a salad dressing, mayonnaise (egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper, olive oil and coconut oil) and also in making home-made dark chocolate.

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Is Coconut Oil An Allergen? How To Know If You Are Allergic To Coconut Oil

While coconut oil does not cause allergy to the majority, coconut oil allergy is real and can be dangerous. Although it is not common, coconut oil allergy symptoms are similar to the symptoms of any other food allergies. Nevertheless, as the coconut (Cocos Nucifera) is a fruit and not a nut as such, it is not right to assume that someone would also be allergic to coconuts if he has a nut allergy. Allergic reactions to coconuts, though quite rarely witnessed, should not be ignored.

Here are the symptoms of coconut oil allergy [25]:

  • Nausea
  • Hives
  • Rashes
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • In extremely rare cases, anaphylaxis (life-threatening)
  • If you have a coconut oil allergy, avoid food items that may contain it, such as cake, chocolate, chips, candy, popcorn etc. While keeping track of your food and reactions, make sure you visit a doctor and discuss the possibilities of an underlying coconut oil/coconut allergy.

    Some side effects of coconut oil are as follows:

    • Weight gain: Rich in saturated fatty acids, coconut, either whole or as an oil, should be consumed in moderation [26].
    • Might cause acne breakout: While most people can apply coconut oil as a moisturiser or facial cleanser, it is not recommended for use by people with very oily skin. As coconut oil is highly comedogenic or prone to clog pores, the application of coconut oil to the face can make acne much worse for certain people.
    • Can cause diarrhoea: As always, moderation is the key. When consumed daily, coconut oil can cause various gut problems, including diarrhoea, even for healthy individuals.
    • Might cause skin irritation when applied to open wounds: Known for its anti-inflammatory property, coconut oil can be effectively used to cure minor skin troubles. Nevertheless, it must be kept in mind that coconut oil should only be applied to intact skin. When applied to large, open wounds, coconut oil might lead to itching, redness, and skin irritation [27].
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How Much Coconut Oil Can You Consume Per Day?

Coconut oil is high in saturated fats and should be consumed like any other oil (in moderation). Limit your daily intake of coconut oil to a maximum of 30 ml or two tablespoons. Overconsumption of coconut oil has been seen to cause dizziness, fatigue, and headaches [28].

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On A Final Note…

As always, moderation is the key. When consumed daily, even by healthy individuals, coconut oil can cause stomach issues and weight gain, and when consumed the right way, coconut oil can help improve your overall health, beauty and even your home.

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