Coconut oil may help reduce belly fat, also known as visceral fat, which is linked to increased health risks such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes (21, 22, 23).
In one study, obese men lost 1 inch (2.54 cm) from their waist fat by adding 2 tablespoons (1 oz or 30 ml) of coconut oil to their diet (21).
Another study looked at women on calorie-restricted diets. Those who took 2 tablespoons of coconut oil per day had a decrease in waist size, while the soybean oil group actually had a slight increase (22).
14. Protect Your Hair from Damage
Coconut oil can help keep your hair healthy.
One study compared the effects of coconut oil, mineral oil and sunflower oil on hair.
Only coconut oil significantly reduced protein loss from hair when applied before or after shampooing. This result occurred with damaged as well as healthy hair.
The researchers concluded that the unique structure of lauric acid, the main fatty acid in coconut oil, can penetrate the hair shaft in a way that most other fats can’t (24).
15. Massage Your Newborn
Massaging newborns with oil has been shown to promote normal weight gain and growth.
One study suggests that coconut oil may be the best type of oil to use for this purpose.
Premature babies who were massaged with coconut oil for 30 days gained significantly more weight than those massaged with mineral oil for the same time period (25).
In a small study, men who followed a high-MCT diet took in fewer calories and lost more weight than men who ate diets with low or medium MCT content (27).
17. Improve Wound Healing
One study found that rats whose wounds were treated with coconut oil had a reduction in inflammatory markers and increased production of collagen, a major component of skin. As a result, their wounds healed much faster (28).
To speed healing of minor cuts or scrapes, apply a little bit of coconut oil directly to the wound and cover it with a bandage.
18. Boost Bone Health
Animal research suggests that the the antioxidants in virgin coconut oil may protect bone health by neutralizing free radicals, which can damage bone cells (29, 30).
A 6-week study of rats showed that the group receiving 8% of their calories from coconut oil had significantly more bone volume and improved bone structure (30).
Coconut oil contains fats called medium-chain triglycerides, which are digested differently than the long-chain triglycerides found in most foods.
These fats go directly from the gut to the liver, where they can be used as a quick source of energy that won’t raise blood sugar levels (3).
25. Heal Ragged Cuticles
Coconut oil can be used to improve your cuticles, including hangnails.
Simply apply a small amount of coconut oil to your cuticles and massage for a few moments. Do this several times a week for the best results.
26. Relieve Symptoms of Arthritis
Arthritis is characterized by pain and immobility of the joints due to inflammation.
Animal research suggests that antioxidants called polyphenols found in coconut oil may be able to relieve some symptoms of arthritis.
A study of arthritic rats found that treatment with polyphenols from coconut oil reduced swelling and several inflammatory markers (39).
27. Make Your Wood Furniture Shine
Coconut oil may help keep your furniture looking shiny and well-cared-for.
In addition to bringing out the beauty in natural wood, it seems to act as a dust repellent. It also has a pleasant, delicate aroma, unlike many commercial furniture polishes that contain strong fragrances.
28. Remove Eye Makeup
Coconut oil is a gentle and effective eye makeup remover. Apply with a cotton pad and wipe gently until all traces of makeup are gone.
29. Improve Liver Health
Animal research has found that the saturated fats in coconut oil can help protect the liver from damage due to alcohol or toxin exposure (40, 41).
In one study, mice treated with coconut oil after exposure to a toxic compound had a decrease in inflammatory liver markers and increased activity of beneficial liver enzymes (41).
30. Soothe Chapped Lips
Coconut oil makes an ideal natural lip balm.
It glides on smoothly, leaves your lips moist for hours and even provides some protection from the sun.