National Nutrition Week: Coconut oil can help you lose weight, build immunity and also get great skin and hair, here’s how – fitness

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Losing weight may seem almost as daunting as keeping the weight off, which requires regular exercise, a healthy diet, and most importantly, the motivation to stay fit and follow a healthy lifestyle.

While there are various diets that one can follow to lose the excess weight and inches, it’s important to know what you’re eating and how is it helping your body for the long haul. Few tweaks in your diet can not only help you burn fat, but also accelerate your weight loss regime.

Coconut oil, for example, has been an indispensable part of most Indian households for several years, and also one that’s seen in South-East Asian cuisines and daily lives. It’s also a natural beauty solution passed on from generation-to-generation, as it’s good for both skin and hair or can even be used as a base if you wish to make your own hair oil, mixing various herbs and other oils for added benefits.

Coconut is rightly hailed as Nature’s Superfood due to its myriad health benefits, and has also been called the ‘tree of life’ sometimes.

ALSO READ: Immune-boosting foods: Make these additions to your meals for a healthy lifestyle

Virgin coconut oils have also been gaining popularity for overall use, especially in cooking and more specifically vegan cooking. Veganism is gradually taking over the world as consciousness rises for doing something for the planet, reducing one’s carbon footprint and more. Meat consumption too, has been found to be a major contributor towards global warming in recent times.

Virgin coconut oil is obtained from fresh, matured kernel of the coconut without the use of heat. Using the cold pressing technique of extraction, cold pressed virgin coconut oil has an unfiltered taste and smell and essentially preserves the natural goodness of the oil.

Why you should use coconut oil

Loaded with vitamin E, antioxidants and polyphenols, coconut oil helps balance hormones that prevent weight gain. However, be mindful when investing in this oil variety as not all are the same. Virgin coconut oil is considered the best for weight loss as it does not contain saturated fats, which are a major cause for increased cholesterol levels and other related lifestyle disorders.

According to a study by the Stanford Chiropractic Center, “Millions of people across America (not to mention worldwide) struggle with stubborn abdominal fat, which can be difficult to shed even when a healthy lifestyle is adopted. Not only is abdominal fat, also called visceral fat or ‘belly fat,’ unsightly, it can can lead to an increased risk of a number of health conditions.”

“Some of the risks associated with carrying excess fat around your middle are a greater susceptibility to type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Additionally, as this fat tends to coat vital organs, it can cause system-wide inflammation that can trigger an array of other chronic illnesses.”

Speaking about virgin coconut oil’s various benefits, Mumbai-based nutritionist Sheryl Salis says, “Virgin Coconut Oil is an oil source containing a high concentration of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) which have shown beneficial effects on weight management. Research suggests that regular consumption of virgin coconut oil reduces food cravings and thereby helps trim abdominal fat, this in turn aids in weight management.”

Cooking with virgin coconut oil

The important Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFAs) present in coconut oil are Lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid which help improve the body’s immunity and also maintain good gut health. “Fitness advocates have perpetuated that the oil has several health benefits that can be easily integrated in the daily diet as well. Virgin coconut oil is vegan-friendly and is suitable for all types of cooking, sautéing, baking and stir-frying. It can also be used as a base oil to coat vegetables while cooking or to simply dress salads,” adds Sheryl Salis.

How to use the oil for hair and skin care

Coconut oil’s umpteen health benefits also help nourish the hair, promote hair growth, and also condition the scalp.

For a head massage:

1. Heat the oil until it’s lukewarm and dab it on the scalp with your finger tips or using a small cotton ball. Massage the scalp gently after application

2. Once you have oiled the scalp, you may also choose to oil your hair from roots to the ends

3. Coconut oil can be kept on the hair overnight, or if you’re hard-pressed for time then can be washed off 30 minutes after application

It’s an effective moisturizer for both the face and the body. It’s anti-bacterial, anti-fungal properties keep the skin smooth and hydrated, in turn helping in improving skin elasticity.

Did you know that coconut oil also works miracles as a makeup remover especially when you want to take off waterproof makeup? Just apply it onto the face as a cleanser or use a cotton pad to swipe away makeup residue.

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