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The many uses the newly popularized ‘super food’, coconut oil

Monday, Apr. 28 | By Hannah Dellinger
Brandy Brogdon, owner of Simply Pure, holds a glob of coconut oil – the key to many of her health products.
Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
Would you gargle with your hair conditioner? Would you cook with your mouthwash?

You might, if it's coconut oil.

In the past, dietitians have steered people away from consuming coconut oil, because it contains high amounts of saturated fat. Now, research is showing that those rich natural fatty acids are good for us.

Since the fats in coconut oil are medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), they are metabolized differently than the long chain triglycerides (LCTs) that can be harmful. There are many tested and proven dietary, dermatological and dental benefits to using coconut oil.

“I believe that in the future coconut oil will be the next all-natural cure-all,” said Brandy Brogdon, a natural supplement specialist and owner of the all-natural beauty product line, “Simply Pure,” in Vint Hill.

Brogdon said that she uses the oil in all but two of the products that Simply Pure makes because of the oil’s moisturizing qualities.

“Coconut oil is wonderful for giving your hair a nice natural shine and works as a de-tangling conditioner. It also fights dandruff,” said Brogdon. “It is very easily absorbed into skin. We use it in all of our soaps and lotions because of it’s so moisturizing.”

Brogdon said that the oil can be applied directly to the scalp for eczema and psoriasis relief.

“It also has great dental benefits,” she said. “You can mix it with aluminum-free baking soda to make a simple toothpaste. Or you can swish a tablespoon of coconut oil around in your mouth for two to three minutes as a mouthwash for a process that is known as, ‘oil pulling.’ It helps fight gingivitis and bacteria in your mouth.”

Jerry Brick, a sales associate at the Natural Market Place in Warrenton, said that coconut oil is very popular at the store.

“We sell a lot of it have and about four or five different brands,” said Brick. “We always recommend extra virgin coconut oil, because it hasn’t been processed as much as other oils.

“Sometimes labels won’t indicate if it’s extra virgin or not, but we tell people to always look on the back label. It shouldn’t have any extra ingredients. I personally like the Dr. Bronner’s brand and the Barleans brand.”

Brick said that there are many benefits to cooking with coconut oil.

“Because the fat is in such high quality, it is easily used for energy in the body,” said Brick. “You can use it as a fitness supplement. We recommend taking one tablespoon per 50 pounds of body weight per day.”

There are studies in the works that are concluding the benefit of coconut oil on HIV-AIDS patients as well. Dr. Conrato S. Dayrit at the University of the Philippines has performed preliminary testing that shows that coconut oil

Dietary benefits

Increased 24-hour energy expenditure by 5 percent, which can lead to weight loss overtime.

The fatty acids in coconut oil can kill harmful pathogens and prevent infections in the body.

Eating coconut oil can decrease appetite because of the fatty acids it contains.

MCTs increase blood concentration and help to reduce seizures in people with epilepsy.

Coconut oil increases counts of Low-density lipoprotein () cholesterol (the good kind of cholesterol) and brings High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the bad kind of cholesterol) to a healthy level. This means a reduced risk of heart disease.

MCTs in coconut oil increase ketone body levels and supply brain cell energy in Alzheimer’s patients and decrease symptoms, according to Biomed Central study: Nutrition & Metabolism 2009.

Source: U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health study.

Oil Pulling

Oil pulling can help kill harmful bacteria in the mouth and gums, like plaque and gingivitis.

Oil pulling decreases bad breath and is just as effective as commercial mouth washes.

Oil pulling improves gum health.

Oil pulling whitens teeth.

Source: “Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing,” Fife, N.D.

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