Coconut oil is well known for its numerous health benefits it serves the body with. It is claimed by many to cure constipation.
How Does Constipation Occur?
The food eaten undergoes a process in the digestive tract and the liver and is finally excreted. Sometimes this process gets disrupted or prolonged and leads to constipation. The stool on getting deposited in the large intestine for long gets hardened, making it difficult for the intestinal muscles to push it out through the rectum.
Constipation can occur due to poor dietary conditions, lack of water intake, during pregnancy, lack of activity, or eating dairy foods in large amounts.
There are numerous treatments for constipation and coconut oil is amongst the best natural laxative that one can choose to get rid of it.
Coconut Oil For Constipation
Coconut oil is fibrous in nature and the purest form of medium-chain fatty acid which plays a major role in easing bowel movements. Medium-chain fatty acids also boost the energy of the intestinal cells and speed up metabolism.(1)
Coconut oil also helps in softening stool and can be used by those suffering from chronic constipation.
Apart from constipation, eating coconut can be beneficial for overall health. It aids the digestive process and also makes the skin radiant.
The coconut flesh can be hard or soft depending on the age of the fruit.
How Can You Consume Coconut Oil To Cure Constipation?
Small amounts of coconut oil can be introduced in the meals to cure constipation.
It is important to read labels of the coconut oil carefully as the refined varieties have lesser benefits. The label should have ‘unrefined’ written on it. Unrefined oil is not processed and has all the goodness preserved.
Coconut oil is solid at a temperature below 24°C. It can be consumed in the following ways:
- Place the semi-solid oil in the mouth and let it melt
- Drink the melted oil
- Make dishes with coconut oil instead of any other oil
- Add it to the smoothies
- Make popcorns in coconut oil instead of butter
- Add it to yogurt or oatmeal
- Coconut can be added to hot soup, stews, and curries
- It can be used in the bakery products instead of butter or margarine
- Coconut oil should be slowly introduced into the diet.
- Excess of it can harm and lead to indigestion, stomach cramping, and even diarrhea.
Coconut Oil And Other Aspects Of Digestion
Coconut oil is effective against the colonization of Candida albicans’ bacteria in the gut.(2) This bacterium can cause oral thrush and vaginal yeast infection. Coconut oil helps by killing the bacterium or preventing its growth.
Though not scientifically proved, Candida albicans presence in the gut is believed to cause constipation.
Different Ways Of Using Coconut To Ease Constipation
Other than oil, coconut can also be useful if consumed in the following ways:
Delicious coconut meat can be eaten raw or be prepared into dishes. It is a very good source of fiber.
Lack of fiber in the diet can lead to irregular bowel. The fiber present in coconut flesh can help soften the stool, making it easier to pass through the intestines.
Coconut milk is made by extracting coconut flesh and has a pleasant taste. It is mostly used for the culinary purpose and helps relieve constipation.
Its fiber content helps ease the bowel movements.
Coconut water has a great taste, eases constipation and offers several health benefits.
However, drinking excess of it can cause diarrhea.
Side Effects Of Consuming Coconut Oil
While consuming coconut oil is beneficial in resolving constipation, it can be problematic in some cases.
This happens because coconut has some substances that may cause digestive issues such as bloating, abdominal pain, cramping, and diarrhea.
The side effects can occur in the following conditions:
Those with fructose mal-absorption would face problems after eating coconut.
Other than coconut oil, other coconut products have fructose. If someone has fructose mal-absorption and he eats coconut, there could be abdominal pain or bloating.
Coconut based products also contain fructans which are short-chain fermentable carbohydrates. This can cause gastrointestinal problems.
All the coconut products except coconut oil contain this product.
Salicylates and Amines
Salicylates and amines are the food chemicals present in foods made from coconut and coconut oil.
These may pave the way for digestive problems.
Coconut oil is beneficial in giving relief from constipation, but moderation is advisable. The diet should not be changed suddenly. The change should be introduced slowly.
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