Various oils are popular for both topical use and consumption. As there is a variety of types of oils available, there is also a variety of uses for them. Traditional oils, however, can be harmful to the human body if used improperly or in the wrong quantities.
So-called "healthy" fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats — which are found in olive oil — may be seen as beneficial to health. But if these oils are not used and stored properly, they can be damaging. These oils go through an oxidation process, which creates health-damaging free radicals in the body.
The Detroit News suggests that oxidized vegetable oils — when consumed by animals — cause inflammation and damage to brain cells, and increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Eating oils that have oxidized on a regular basis can be harmful.
Many oils, such as vegetable oil, are very unnatural for the human body to process. Vegetable oils like soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil and canola oil contain high levels of active fats called omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, which add up to be harmful. While the human body has been evolving for centuries, industrial food processing is new. The human body has not evolved to be accepting of these.
According to Authority Nutrition, over the past century, soybean oil has become the supplier of 7 percent of all calories consumed in the US. This is an increase of over a thousandfold. The processing method of these oils involves pressing and heating a variety of industrial chemicals, as well as highly toxic solutions.
The trans fats in cooking oils are fats that are unsaturated and modified to become solid when at room temperature. Trans fats are very toxic, and are known to cause several diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity. These fats are so dangerous, laws have been set by the government that require food manufacturers to reduce the content of trans fats in their products.
Essential oils, when used topically, can also be very dangerous to human health. While some oils, such as refined coconut oil, are considered to be safe, others can cause skin irritation, itching, skin discoloration, interactions with asthma or heart problems.
Some people opt to even ingest some essential oils like pennyroyal and wintergreen, which can be fatal. Some of these toxic oils can also cause miscarriages in pregnant women. Other essential oils similar to vegetable oils can become highly toxic and irritating when they're not properly stored.
Topical oils should be treated like any other type of medicine. They should be researched prior to being blended and used. As with other drugs, topical oils have various unnatural chemical makeups and varying potential side effects. Even mineral oil is known to contain toxins.
Mineral oil is used as many things, from a skin hydrator to a lubricator of engines and mechanical equipment. Dr. Frank Lipman reports that the World Health Organization has found that there is evidence that mineral oil is a carcinogen.
Some oils, however, are not only safe, they are actually beneficial to health. Refined coconut oil is coconut oil that has been deodorized and bleached. The oil is extracted from dried coconut meat, and is bleached due to the possibility of contaminants arising during the coconut drying process. High heat is used to deodorize the oil, removing its distinctive flavor and color.
Coconut oil is very beneficial to human health. Its uses include skin and hair care, increased immunity against infections and diseases and improved digestion. Coconut oil is great to use in place of other massage oils because it acts as an effective moisturizer on skin that is dry or damaged. Unlike mineral oil, coconut oil has no chance of creating any adverse reactions on the skin. It is a risk-free solution for preventing dry skin. It can also combat aging of the skin by delaying the appearance of wrinkles.
Refined coconut oil is also a well-known antioxidant. It helps to treat various skin problems, such as psoriasis, eczema and dermatitis. Due to its quantity of saturated fats, many people believe coconut oil is unhealthy for heart health.
However, coconut oil is very beneficial for the heart. It contains lauric acid, which lowers cholesterol and blood pressure. Coconut oil does not increase LDL levels, and helps to prevent atherosclerosis by reducing damage and injury to arteries.
Coconut oil strengthens the immune system with its antimicrobial lipids, capric acid, lauric acid and caprylic acid. These have antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties. Certain viruses and bacteria that lead to diseases such as herpes, the flu and HIV can be fought with coconut oil.
Clearly, some oils can be very harmful to your body. Coconut oil, however, is a safe substitute, both for topical use and consumption.
This article was originally published Healthy Women Community.