6 Science-Backed Health Benefits Of Using Coconut Oil In Cooking
Image Credit: Freepik

Several chefs and culinary experts are increasingly turning to coconut oil as a cooking fat instead of vegetable or seed oils. Coconut oil comprises a subtly sweet and playfully nutty flavour that complements numerous dishes, ranging from food items as basic as potato chips to beloved international classics, such as pasta. Owing to its versatility, this oil is being utilised in various cuisines, including Indian, Chinese, and Mediterranean.

Locally, coconut oil is especially popular in South Indian delicacies as it seamlessly helps bring the mild flavours of the dishes to the forefront without overpowering them. In addition to these culinary advantages, coconut oil also boasts a series of health benefits, which include enhancing oral health, improving skin, and promoting hair growth, among others. Thus, coconut oil serves as a tasty as well as a healthy cooking substitute.

Check out some science-backed health benefits of incorporating coconut oil in cooking.

Protects Skin

According to a 2017 study entitled “Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils,” published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, coconut oil can potentially help moisturise dry skin. The use of this oil has also been found to limit high levels of water loss, and to shield the skin from foreign agents, such as infections and chemicals.

Strengthens Hair

Coconut oil is popularly applied to hair to promote overall hair health as well as boost hair growth. Similarly, taking coconut oil orally could also be beneficial for hair as it’s believed that this oil has the capacity to deeply nourish hair strands and hair follicles, making them more pliable, and decreasing hair loss and breakage. In this way, coconut oil could potentially stimulate hair strength.

Image Credits: Freepik

Improves Oral Health

As per a study entitled “The Role of Coconut Oil in Treating Patients Affected by Plaque-Induced Gingivitis: A Pilot Study,” published in the European Journal of Dentistry, coconut oil is rich in an antibacterial substance called lauric acid. When this acid interacts with saliva, it transforms into a soapy material that limits the growth of cavities, and helps combat oral conditions, such as plaque buildup and inflaming of gums.

Boosts Energy

Coconut oil is abundant in saturated fats known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). These fats function quite the same way as energy-supplying carbohydrates; like carbohydrates, they immediately find their way to the liver, giving the body a rapid burst of energy. This is also the reason why it’s recommended for athletes to eat MCT-rich foods as they dissolve quickly, producing energy and stamina at a quick pace.

Image Credits: Freepik

Helps Prevents Diseases

As touched on above, coconut oil is a potent source of lauric acid, a fatty acid that potentially has powerful antimicrobial properties. These properties help guard the body against multiple harmful disease-causing bacteria, including E coli. The acid inhibits bacteria in the body from multiplying, thus limiting bacterial growth, and as a result, reducing the risk of developing bacterial diseases like strep throat.

Image Credits: Freepik

Aids Weight Management

The MCTs present in coconut oil could potentially help reduce the number of calories one consumes, thus aiding in weight management as well as weight loss. When MCTs are digested, they get converted to molecules called ketones. These molecules are known to kill hunger pangs and suppress appetite by promoting a feeling of fullness in the body.