Coconut oil provides benefits for all who consume it. However, it can be especially beneficial for vegans.
A vegan is someone who refrains from eating any animal products. This includes all meat, dairy, eggs, and honey.
Many of us use oil as a daily part of cooking. Whether it’s making a tofu scramble for breakfast, or pan-frying some tempeh, everything that is normally used as oil could be replaced with coconut oil.
Some of you might already be cooking with coconut oil, which is great! For those who don’t regularly consume this oil, we wanted to outline some of the benefits it provides. No matter what type of diet you consume, it’s always good to know nutritional information about it.
Outlined below are some of the many health benefits that coconut oil can provide for vegans, along with some tips at the end.
Amazing Energy Source
Many people consume coconut oil purely as an energy supplement. Oil isn’t typically a food that is known for providing energy, but with coconut oil, it’s different.
Coconut oil contains healthy statured fats in the form of MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides). MCTs are a unique form of saturated fat because unlike others, it actually provides energy for the body. Most oil is stored in the body, but coconut oil is immediately used when consumed.
The reason why the MCTs in coconut oil are used for energy right away is because of how easily the body digests them.
The Fat It Contains is Beneficial
Many vegans naturally eat a low-fat diet, especially those who abstain from processed foods. One issue with this way of eating long term is that your body really lacks the healthy fat it needs.
Therefore, coconut oil is a great healthy fat source to add to your diet occasionally if you normally eat low-fat. There’s a common misconception out there that “the fat you eat is the fat you wear.”
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, if you’re eating deep fried-chicken wings, the fat from that might stick on your body. However, eating healthy fat sources such as coconut oil can actually do the opposite (help you lose fat).
Coconut oil is a fat-burning food, so it’s great for those who want to lose weight. The MCTs in coconut oil boosts your metabolism, which naturally helps your body burn more calories. Long-term, this leads to weight loss!
It’s Anti-Microbial and Anti-Bacterial
Good gut health is extremely important for overall health. If your gut isn’t healthy, you might experience digestive issues and more. Much of the bacteria found in our body is located in our gut, the microbiome.
Coconut oil is both anti-microbial and anti-bacterial. It contains an acid called Lauric acid, which then forms something called monolaurin. Both of these things have been proven to effectively kill off bacteria, fungus, and even viruses inside the body.
Coconut oil helps to prevent infections and general sickness caused by bacteria. It can also prevent and help treat overgrowths of bacteria such as yeast infections.
Coconut oil doesn’t just remove bacteria in the gut. It’s also extremely beneficial for getting rid of bad bacteria in the mouth.
One great way to do this is through a practice called oil pulling. All you do is swish 1 tablespoon of coconut oil around your mouth first thing in the morning. Do this for around 20 minutes to extract as much bacteria as possible. When you’re done, spit the oil out in the garbage and brush your teeth.
Oil pulling can also help bad breath.
Coconut Oil Protects Your Skin, Hair and Teeth
Now that you know what oil pulling is, did you know that it also protects your teeth? It makes the enamel stronger, and the same results can be achieved through brushing your teeth with coconut oil.
If you’re a vegan who tends to skimp out on eating nutritious greens and other healthy foods, it could be worth it to just add some coconut oil to your routines.
In terms of hair health, coconut oil can be used as a hair mask then rinsed out. It helps to strengthen the hair and reduce any damage. Coconut oil contains Vitamins E & K, which are especially known for nourishing the hair.
For skin health, you can add coconut oil directly onto it to prevent acne. It can also be used as a natural form of sunscreen. Coconut oil also works as a moisturizer, and it can prevent wrinkles and fine lines.
How To Shop For Coconut Oil
If you’ve gone shopping for coconut oil in the past, you likely noticed how many different versions there were. Refined, unrefined, virgin, extra virgin, cold-pressed, expeller-pressed, raw, and more. What version is the best?
Cold-pressed coconut oil is one of the best versions you can get. This means that the oil wasn’t heated at all, from start to finish. This keeps it raw and perseveres the antioxidants and nutrients it contains.
Extra-virgin (sometimes can be called unrefined coconut oil) are also great versions to get. These are the highest-quality oils with the least amount of processing.
Anything else is a lesser version of this oil that won’t provide as many health benefits. Refined coconut oil and expeller-pressed should always be avoided.
The final tip is to look for coconut oil in glass jars, rather than plastic containers. These will always be higher-quality, and the glass stores the oil itself better.
Ideas & Tips For Consuming More Coconut Oil
Now that you know just how good coconut oil is for your body, we wanted to provide you with a variety of ways to include it in your diet. Here are just a few ideas:
- Use coconut oil to spread on toast instead of butter
- When baking, use coconut oil instead of other ones
- Add a teaspoon or tablespoon of coconut oil to your smoothies
- Whenever pan-frying or sautéing anything, use coconut oil
- Include coconut oil in salad dressings
- Drizzle coconut oil on popcorn
- Add it to coffee and/or tea to make it creamier
We hope this article helped you understand the health connections between veganism and coconut oil better. There are so many different ways to include coconut oil in your diet, what we provided were only a few examples.
Coconut oil is a heart-healthy, energy boosting, anti-bacterial oil that we all can benefit from.
Guest Post by Alice Webster – Founder of alices.kitchen