30 things travelers should do before turning 30 by Jordan Rane.
(CNN) — First, some comforting reassurance to all panicked late 20-somethings fighting off enough unchecked lists already. This isn't really a checklist, and 30 is really just a number. So if you're 72 and don't feel a day over 29 ½, the following naturally applies to you as well.
Just two suggestions if you haven't done some version of these open-ended "must do" experiences before you turn "30."
1. Approach the following with a healthy dose of imagination, caution and wild abandon.
2. Get started:
1. Travel solo
Travel is a social endeavor. So why do it alone? For that very reason.
What greater incentive to meet new people, hang with locals, compare notes with fellow travelers and turn a world full of strangers into new friends when the alternative is to retreat to your Rick Steve's guidebook or converse with the empty train seat beside you?
Traveling alone is courageous. It's also convenient. Stop, go, stay, leave without a group vote. It's comfortable -- guess who gets the better seat? And uncomfortable -- guess who has to leave their safe place and make it happen?
Most importantly, traveling alone gives you a chance to spend some quality time with that special someone just yearning to get to know you better -- you.
2. Climb a mountain
Japan's Mount Fuji is a great place to start your climb-a-mountain assignment.
Yes, you'll probably need to be in decent shape.
No, you won't need supplemental oxygen, a small fortune, a team of sherpas and a revised life insurance policy to plant your flag on your own doable version of Everest.
Mount Kilimanjaro (Africa's highest peak), Mount Fuji (Japan's), Mount Elbrus (Europe's), Mount Whitney (U.S. Lower 48's), Pico de Orizaba (Mexico's) and scores of other superlative walk-up mountains around the globe are sufficiently challenging and bucket-listable for the rest of us.
So is any captivating, less-famous peak with a safe, well-maintained trail that leads to the very same place: The top of the world.
MORE: 12 of the world's most memorable mountains
3. Take a classic train ride
Carving its own path between giant peaks. Through blasted-out tunnels. Across trestled rivers. Rolling, mile after mile, without the distraction of a steering wheel or "mild turbulence" warnings from the captain.
In a world possessed by planes and automobiles, there's still nothing quite like a great train ride.
Whether it's in a Great Dome Car on Amtrak's Adirondack route during the height of fall foliage season in Upstate New York aboard Mexico's spirited Tequila Express from Guadalajara to Amititán or through eight time zones on the Trans-Siberian Express, no other conveyance ties us to our planet's myriad shades and sheer size like the iron horse.
MORE: 11 of the world's most luxurious train journeys
4. Browse through a market
You can browse for fish, fabrics and figurines anywhere.
Entering the souk-maze of Marrakech, Istanbul's Grand Bazaar, Cairo's Khan el-Khalili or Old Delhi's Chandni Chowk isn't ultimately about any of those things. It's about people. And all the colorful chaos that comes with them in places like this. Some other places to think about:
-- Thailand's floating markets.
-- Holland's flower markets.
-- Tokyo's tuna markets.
-- Argentina's antiques markets.
-- Pasadena's Sunday flea market at the Rose Bowl. The list can go on and on.
Choose your own random human encounters and sensory overload. Then go ahead, wear the invisible tourist badge and acquire lots of stuff you don't really need. No beige pants and money belt required.
5. Trek an epic trail
Fastening your waist belt. Snapping your sternum strap. Taking a deep breath of real air at the trailhead.
Performing your greatest disappearing act for untold days or weeks. Nothing hanging over you but sun, moon, stars, spectacular scenery and spare packs of dried ramen.
For some, the voluntary act of hoofing across miles of pristine backcountry in the vaguely present company of bears, javelinas and the odd roaming mountain lion is a no-go. For others, it's the long-awaited walk of a lifetime. If you're in the latter camp, the first challenge is choosing the perfect walkabout from a world's supply of epic options, near and far.
They range from Peru's famous Inca Trail with its Machu Picchu payoff to California's John Muir Trail, featuring over 210 miles of prime Sierra Nevada mountain backcountry between Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks.
You can walk across an entire country on England's C2C Trail (190 rugged green miles from Irish Sea to North Sea) or whet the knee joints along New Zealand's famously stunning, 33.2-mile Milford Track.
Wherever you go, in no time it all starts to make perfect, life-affirming, shoulder-incinerating sense.
MORE: 10 of the world's most amazing long-distance trails
6. Visit where your great-great-great grandparents grew up
If your family has lived in the same house for the past six generations, you're done. If you have a coat of arms traceable to a village on the Isle of Man, you're halfway there.
If you haven't a clue where any of your umpteen great-great-great-grandparents grew up, you have some adventurous charting to do. And, no, "Somewhere near Brazil" or "Basically Central Asia" doesn't count.
C'mon people. These are our hallowed forebears. They were around before "Moby Dick" was published. They bequeathed their nose to you and their facility with numbers to your future twin great-granddaughters.
The least we can all do is adventurously traipse to those arbitrary coordinates -- Minsk, Famagusta -- where you never expected to say "these are my roots."
7. Learn a language
Why bother when you failed 11th-grade Tagalog, you're a gifted pantomime artist and you'll only be going to Manila for a week? The excuses for not picking up a new language grow exponentially as we do. And so do the reasons for taking a little time to master (or just muster) a few useful (or charmingly useless) phrases in some other tongue.
Like doing crosswords, learning a new language is good for your brain (they say). More importantly, dour-faced, tourist-fatigued locals everywhere may even smile for your honest efforts.
MORE: Does being bilingual make you sexy?
8. Watch a game in a famous stadium
See the Sox at Fenway in Boston, Major League Baseball's oldest stadium (b. 1912). FC Barcelona at Camp Nou, Europe's largest stadium (99,354 people). The Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome, western Canada's greatest homage to hockey and giant saddles.
There are so many possibilities: Wembley, Wrigley, Estadio Azteca, Kaohsiung National, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Sapporo Dome and on and on. Even if you couldn't care less who's playing, winning or which sport it is, half the fun is high-fiving frenzied strangers who do.
9. Change the world -- volunteer abroad
There's a special place (several, actually) for free-spirited travelers who place signing on for a stretch of international volunteer work above, say, running with the bulls. The list of charitable organizations allowing you to lend a hand to a world's supply of worthy causes is long. And the geographic possibilities are just as wide.
Options range from staple orgs such as Habitat for Humanity operating in all 50 U.S. states and nearly 100 other countries, to the Peace Corps, which offers some shorter programs than the usual two-year stint.
Projects Abroad is designed specifically for grads and professionals on a career break. Global Vision International offers a range of over 150 volunteer abroad projects up to six months long.
Volunteering with a solid program won't just change your life but other lives, too.
10. Cross a border on skis, bicycles, zip line, etc.
Any traveler can enter another country through an airport, train station or bus terminal. Much less perfunctory: crossing a border practically any other way:
-- On skis with an international pass between Zermatt, Switzerland, and Cervinia, Italy, under the crest of the Matterhorn.
-- Or zip line between Andalucia, Spain, and Algarve, Portugal.
-- In a water taxi from southern Belize to coastal Guatemala.
-- Or a bicycle between Glacier National Park and southern Alberta.
Remember your passport just to keep things friendly and fun.
11. Stay at a hostel and make some friends
The mattresses aren't Four Seasons quality, and there will be no Aveda products in the communal bathroom. But there are other perks at the cheapest communal flophouse: a complimentary set of new travel buds you'd never meet at some sterile hotel.
Ever since 1912, when a German schoolteacher hatched a plan to create the first youth hostel (originally for school kids to have a clean, affordable, communal place to stay on class trips), the concept has evolved into the backpacking backbone for "youth" of all ages.
Today, Hostelling International tallies thousands of official HI hostels in more than 80 countries, and the industry has spawned many more independent joints wherever backpackers congregate -- plus new terms such as boutique hostel, 5-star hostel and mobile hostel.
The best amenity at all of them: A comforting sense that the planet isn't that lonely after all.
MORE: 7 swanky hostels around the world
12. Take a cooking course abroad
Give a traveler a Sichuan catfish and you feed her for a day.
Teach her how to make fresh-made pasta in Italy, perfect dumplings in Shanghai, beef-and-Guinness casserole in Ireland, or authentic southern barbecue in North Carolina at a fun, informal cooking class, and she has several to-go boxes.
Plus an exotic, hands-on culinary experience and some badly needed new recipes to bring home.
13. See amazing animals in the wild
There's no match for seeing a majestic creature in the wild.
Head to Brazil's Pantanal region -- one of the world's largest inland wetlands and last strongholds of the largest cat in the Americas -- and join one of numerous wildlife outfitters who'll happily help you find wild jaguars. And there are bonus animals: hyacinth macaws, capybaras and caimans lounging in their natural habitat.
Same goes for grizzlies and bighorn sheep in Glacier National Park. Royal Bengal tigers and sloth bears in India's Kanha National Park. Chimps and gorillas in Uganda. Lemurs in Madagascar.
Close encounters with wild, often endangered animals in their actual homes imprints on more than just our zoom lens. It serves that greater, crucial reminder -- that we're all in this together.
MORE: World's most extreme tours with wild animals
14. Sample a wine country that's not Napa or Burgundy
Why voyage to some distant town hiding on the bottom of Africa, the far side of the Adriatic, or the foot of the Andes and beyond to drink wine that will often enough gladly come to you? For the same reason we wine hop through those must-sip spots in California and France.
It's not just about what's in the glass, but what's swirling out there all around you. Sometimes way out there. Mendoza, Argentina. Dubrovnik, Croatia. Walla Walla, Washington. Cape Town.
These and other farther-flung wine regions confirm what we've always suspected. Great wines can transport us. Literally.
15. Have a one-of-a-kind aquatic experience
Millions of benign jellyfish fill a marine lake in the Republic of Palau.
Water. It's everywhere. Covering 71% of the planet. Comprising at least 60% of our bodies. Supporting an entire whale-watching industry. Is there anything we can say about water that would further enhance your appreciation of this stuff?
Possibly, if you haven't had a truly off-the-deep-end waterborne experience yet.
Like, for example, peacefully and painlessly basking in a lake full of jellyfish in the Rock Islands of Palau. This is where millions of benign Mastigias papua etpisoni ("golden jellyfish") draw thousands of day-trip visitors to Jellyfish Lake from nearby Koror.
Or snorkeling with salmon on Vancouver Island's Campbell River where visitors can float past schools of pink, coho, Chinook and sockeye salmon making their amazing journey upstream during the heart of the salmon run.
MORE: World's weirdest snorkeling spots
16. Go to a wild and crazy party or festival
Just because you're only young once, it doesn't mean you have to experience Burning Man, attend a Full Moon Party or get pummeled with ripe tomatoes at late August's La Tomatina Festival in Buñol, Spain. But in a world full of one-of-a-kind life celebrations, there's a perfect one out there for each and every one of us.
Best done before you risk running into your kids at one of them.
17. Be a game show contestant
Many a game show has come and gone since 1972, but thankfully you can still be a contestant on "The Price Is Right."
The longest running, single-network game show in television history has been a mainstay on the CBS daytime grid for 45 years. Tickets are free and technically any prescreened audience member could be the next contestant to "Come on down!"
If it isn't you, hundreds more seats need filling at all of those other shows taped before a live audience in Los Angeles, where you can see first-hand how these masterworks get cranked out while perfecting your best canned laugh.
Or, for a behind the scenes look at Hollywood's most hallowed dream factories without all the endless takes, VIP tours at the Warner Brothers Lot and Universal Studios whisk guests around the lot (for a price) without a line or a lookie-loo crowd in sight.
18. Ride a famous subway
London's subway signage is known around the world.
Here's your long-awaited opportunity to "mind the gap" in London, take the "A Train" in New York, visit all 300 stations on Paris's 16-line Métro, or approach a stranger in Moscow and ask that burning question: "How do I get to Preobrazhenskayaploshchad Station."
Don't overlook those also-running subway towns. Los Angeles is home to a handsome pair of Red and Purple Lines that most residents don't even know about. Tashkent, Uzbekistan features one of the world's most ornate undergrounds along 29 stations decked in glass, granite, marble and carved alabaster -- all designed by prominent artists and architects.
MORE: What are the world's best metro systems?
19. Double down in Deadwood or Monte Carlo or Vegas
Step past the golden fountains of Las Vegas' Bellagio, through the lion-sculptured lobby into that tireless golden-hued room of cruddy odds.
Go up the stairs of the fabled Casino de Monte-Carlo, past the dubious, square-shouldered Monégasque doorman, through the marble atrium and into the chip-snatching jaws of the frescoed, chandeliered Salle Europe.
Strut down Main Street in Deadwood, South Dakota past a commemorative No. 10 Saloon where Wild Bill Hickok once mused over his final poker hand and into the awaiting Three Card and Blackjack tables at the Gold Dust, Midnight Star and Mineral Palace.
Even if you're at the cheap table, it still counts.
20. Ride a horse -- or some other sturdy animal
Seeing any place from a saddle changes your whole perspective: On the beach in Costa Rica. At a dude ranch in New Mexico. On the Mongolian Steppe. At the nearest stable to your house.
And there's a range of animals ready to transport you:
-- Descend into the Grand Canyon on a sure-footed mule.
-- Explore Chiang Rai, Thailand, on a willing elephant.
-- Ride a camel through Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote, Canary Islands.
-- Take a yak fpr a spin in the Mongolian Gobi.
-- And, apparently, you can ride an ostrich a la "Swiss Family Robinson" in Oudtshoorn, South Africa.
MORE: 15 destinations for horse fans
21. Eat a hot dog in Times Square
If you'd rather eat a giant spider than a hot dog on a busy street corner, the option is open to you -- along with all those other classic street food choices:
Hot, warm, soft pretzels in Philadelphia. Falafel in Beirut, Haifa or Cairo. Arepas in Cartagena. Pani puri in Mumbai. Simit bread ring in Istanbul. Deep-fried tarantula on a stick in Phnom Penh.
Whatever open-air munchie appeals to your taste buds and gastrointestinal courage, down the hatch.
22. Drive a magnificent coast
Few roads are as spectacular as California's Pacific Coast Highway at Big Sur.
Close your eyes and imagine these stunning coastal drives:
Maybe you drive from Naples to Amalfi with the wind in your hair and the Mediterranean a single perilous hairpin away. Go from Cape Town to Hermanus along South Africa's rugged Western Cape. For something really off the radar, there's Iquique to Antofagasta along Chile's Ruta 1.
And there's a host of others:
-- California's Big Sur.
-- Canada's Cabot Trail.
-- Corsica's D81.
-- Croatia's Adriatic Highway.
-- Australia's Captain Cook Highway.
-- Florida's connect-the-Keys Overseas Highway.
Unless you're in Bolivia or Saskatchewan, finding a stretch of life-affirming shoreline to drive beside shouldn't be too hard in a world with this much coastline.
23. Hail a New York taxi or a London cab
Paying to much for a canary yellow taxi in Manhattan during rush hour or shelling out £80 for a ride from Heathrow to central London in a black sedan may not seem logical when you can shave that bill to a low fraction with the tap of an app.
Take the ride anyway. Tip well. Pay in cash. The fast-fading old world thanks you for it.
MORE: Which city has the best taxis?
24. Walk across a famous bridge
San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge is among the world's most identifiable.
With some bridges -- such as China's 102.4-mile Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge (part of the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway) -- you may prefer to experience on a very fast train.
With others -- such as Switzerland's just-opened Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge, a 1,621-foot-long span with 279 feet of alpine country air wafting below your hiking boots -- you may want to be honest with yourself before you try to cross.
That still leaves hundreds of spectacular bridges to marvel upon on foot at the right pace.
Drivable icons such as San Francisco's Golden Gate, Sydney's Harbour Bridge, New York's Brooklyn Bridge and Budapest's Széchenyi Chain Bridge are too important to unceremoniously whiz across in a car. And then there are pedestrian-only crossings such as Florence's Ponte Vecchio and London's Millennium Bridge you'll want to consider.
25. See a live volcano
Witnessing a smoldering portal into the Earth's soft center up close is both a thrilling and sobering reminder that our planet isn't filled with the sweet, creamy nougat we thought.
"A thousand branching streams of liquid and gorgeously brilliant fire ... like a colossal railroad map of the State of Massachusetts done in chain lightning on a midnight sky," is how a young Mark Twain described an erupting Kilauea volcano in Hawaii in 1866.
Expecting an anticlimax, the writer of course was blown away.
As are today's visitors to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Italy's Stromboli, Etna and Vesuvius. Costa Rica's Mount Arenal. Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull, Indonesia's Merapi, DRC's Nyiragongo and other alluring volcano sites -- all best approached with sound risk assessment and a knowledgeable guide.
MORE: 10 of the most photogenic volcanoes
26. Visit the observation deck of a skyscraper
First it was the Washington Monument. Back in the 1880s, D.C.'s namesake edifice ruled the skies with the world's loftiest observation deck -- an amazing 499 feet high. Until Paris's Eiffel Tower owned the highest perch (905 feet) for the next 42 years.
Then came New York's Empire State Building, with views across four state lines. That was bested in the 1970s by New York's Two World Trade Center, then Chicago's Willis Tower, then Toronto's CN Tower with its unsurpassable 1,467-foot-high Space Deck (now SkyPod).
Then came this past decade, which saw an onslaught of record-breaking towers overlooking Shanghai (Shanghai World Financial Center), Guangzhou (Canton Tower) and Dubai -- home to the current 1,841-foot observation deck record-setter in the Burj Khalifa.
The tallest projected viewing deck is expected to hit the 2,080-foot mark in the upper reaches of Saudi Arabia's 3,280-foot colossus, Jeddah Tower, in 2019 -- though we still suggest you start with the Washington Monument and take it all in stride.
27. Enter a real castle
California's Hearst estate, Florida's Ca d'Zan and North Carolina's Biltmore all count as castles in their own young Gilded way. But for the real-deal, iconic stone domicile where kings and countesses slept back when suits were made of metal and pillows from very small pebbles, you'll have to cross an ocean and other drawbridges.
And pick your country -- because there are so many spectacular castles, all rife with colorful histories, colorless turrets and so-12th-century plumbing.
There's Scotland's Edinburgh Castle. Wales' Raglan Castle. Ireland's Blarney. England's Warwick, Leeds, Windsor and Bodiam -- just to name a few favorites from those parts.
There's Germany's Burg Frankenstein. Portugal's Palácio da Pena. Prague's Prague Castle. Japan's Himeji Castle. And don't get us started on France and Transylvania.
Like Florentine churches, you can overdo it. Pick one or two castles to visit (three at most). And, please, no Monty Python reenactments.
28. Attend a rodeo
Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming happens in July.
Yes, you can pull off a cowboy hat and matching boots. You just need to be in the right place at the right time with the right bronc riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling, team roping lovin' crowd.
Virtually any U.S. state west of the Mississippi will point you to its vote for the "daddy of 'em all in the rodeo capital of the world."
Annual contenders include:
-- Wyoming's Cheyenne Frontier Days (late July)
-- Texas' Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo (January 12 - February 3)
-- Oregon's Pendleton Roundup (September 13-16)
-- Kansas' Dodge City Roundup (early August)
-- Arizona's Prescott Frontier Days (June)
-- Colorado's Durango Fiesta Days (late July).
Outside the United States, Canada's 105-year-old classic Calgary Stampede (July), Brazil's Festa do Peão de Boiadeiro de Barretos (August 17-27) and ÉquiBlues in Saint-Agrève, France, prove cowboys know no borders.
29. Leave the guidebook at home
Thanks to a multimillion dollar industry serving our need to know absolutely "everything" about a place before arriving, we never have to be without the Top 10 bars in Chicago at our fingertips.
Just for kicks, try this next time. Leave your dog-eared Rough Guide and Yelp reflexes at home. Just go. Follow your own footsteps. Give your own intrinsic travel smarts room to surface. Let the Monsoon take you where we want travel to take us at its core. Into the greater unknown.
30. Get a massage in an airport
If there's one thing on this list you need to do as soon as possible, even if you're not actually flying anywhere, start here.
If there's a more important place than a jammed international airport to relieve stress and boost an against-all-odds feeling of wellness, we haven't been there.
It's no secret (at leat among premium class passengers) that major airline hubs now offer a lineup of spa services in their private lounges and clubhouses -- facials, hot stone treatments and cooling leg rubs in quiet rooms piped with ethereal tunes beyond all the plebeian gate noise.
If you're not part of that club, take heart that full-service spa chains such as U.S.-headquartered XpresSpa and France's BeRelax are well in the process of offering fast, friendly, gate-side massages at multiple airports for the rest of us. Just in time.
Regular CNN contributor and award-winning travel writer Jordan Rane vaguely remembers his 30th birthday and has yet to ride an ostrich.
Benefits Of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has several benefits such as skin care, hair care, weight loss, treating yeast infections, improving digestion and immunity against a host of infections and diseases. The oil is used not just in tropical countries, where coconut plantations are abundant, but also in the US and the UK. People are discovering the wonders this oil can create and it is again gaining popularity throughout the world. Let us look at some of the known benefits of this oil.
Health Benefits Of Coconut Oil
Skin care: Coconut oil is an excellent massage oil that acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skin, including dry skin. Unlike mineral oil, there is no chance of having any adverse side effects on the skin from the application of this oil. Therefore, it is a safe solution for preventing dryness and flaking of skin. It also delays the appearance of wrinkles and sagging of skin, which normally accompany aging.
It helps in preventing degenerative diseases like premature aging due to its well-known antioxidant properties. It also helps in treating various skin problems, including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections. For this exact reason, coconut oil forms the base ingredient of various body care products like soaps, lotions, and creams that are used for skin care.
Hair care: Coconut oil helps in healthy growth of hair and gives your hair a shiny quality. It is also highly effective in reducing protein loss, which can lead to various unattractive or unhealthy qualities in your hair. It is used as hair care oil and is used in manufacturing various conditioners and dandruff relief creams. It is normally applied topically for hair care.
Coconut oil is extensively used in the Indian sub-continent for hair care. It is an excellent conditioner and helps the re-growth process of damaged hair. It also provides the essential proteins required for nourishing and healing damaged hair. Research studies indicate that it provides better protection to hair from damage caused by hygral fatigue.
By regularly massaging your head with coconut oil, you can ensure that your scalp is dandruff free, even if your scalp is chronically dry. It also helps in keeping your hair and scalp free from lice and lice eggs.
Heart diseases: There is a misconception spread among many people that coconut oil is not good for heart health. This is because it contains a large quantity of saturated fats. In reality, it is quite beneficial for the heart. It contains about 50% lauric acid, which helps in actively preventing various heart problems like high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. Coconut oil does not lead to increase in LDL levels, and it reduces the incidence of injury and damage to arteries, and therefore helps in preventing atherosclerosis. Study suggests that intake of coconut oil may help in maintaining healthy lipid profiles in pre-menopausal women.
Weight loss: Coconut oil is very useful for weight loss. It contains short and medium-chain fatty acids that help in taking off excessive weight. Research suggests that coconut oil helps to reduce abdominal obesity in women. It is also easy to digest and it helps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and endocrine system. Further, it increases the body’s metabolic rate by removing stress on the pancreas, thereby burning more energy and helping obese and overweight people lose weight. Hence, people living in tropical coastal areas, who use coconut oil every day as their primary cooking oil, are normally not fat, obese or overweight. Several people focus on exercise to lose weight, from using indoor machines like leg press machines to outdoor exercises like running and playing sports. While this is a good approach to lose weight, including products like coconut oil enhances your weight loss efforts.
Immunity: It strengthens the immune system because it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which research has supported as an effective way to deal with viruses and bacteria that cause diseases like herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. Coconut oil helps in fighting harmful bacteria like listeria monocytogenes and helicobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia.
Digestion: Internal functions of coconut oil occur primarily due to it being used as cooking oil. It helps to improve the digestive system and thus prevents various stomach and digestion-related problems including irritable bowel syndrome. The saturated fats present in coconut oil have antimicrobial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, and parasites that can cause indigestion. It also helps in the absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
Dental care: Calcium is an important component of our teeth. Since coconut oil facilitates absorption of calcium by the body, it helps in developing strong teeth. It also stops tooth decay. Recent research suggests that coconut oil is beneficial in reducing plaque formation and plaque induced gingivitis.
Candida: Candida, also known as Systemic Candidiasis, is a tragic disease caused from excessive and uncontrolled growth of yeast called Candida Albicans in the stomach. Coconut provides relief from the inflammation caused by candida, both externally and internally. Its high moisture retaining capacity keeps the skin from cracking or peeling off. Capric acid, Caprylic acid, caproic acid, myristic acid and lauric acid found in coconut oil help in eliminating Candida albicans.
Further, unlike other pharmaceutical treatments for candida, the effect of coconut oil is gradual and not drastic or sudden, which gives the patient an appropriate amount of time to get used to the withdrawal symptoms or Herxheimer Reactions (the name given to the symptoms accompanying body’s rejection of toxins generated during elimination of these fungi). But in the treatment of this condition, people should systematically and gradually increase their dosages of coconut oil and shouldn’t initially start with a large quantity.
Healing and Infections: When applied to infected areas, coconut oil forms a chemical layer that protects the infected body part from external dust, air, fungi, bacteria and viruses. Coconut oil is highly effective on bruises because it speeds up the healing process of damaged tissues.
Keeping Organs Healthy: The presence of medium chain triglycerides and fatty acids in coconut oil helps in preventing liver diseases because those substances are easily converted into energy when they reach the liver, thus reducing the work load of the liver and also preventing accumulation of fat. It also helps in preventing kidney and gall bladder diseases and helps to dissolve kidney stones. Coconut oil is also believed to be useful in keeping pancreas healthy by treating pancreatitis.
HIV and cancer: It is believed that coconut oil plays an instrumental role in reducing viral susceptibility for HIV and cancer patients. Preliminary research has shown an indication of this effect of coconut oil on reducing the viral load of HIV patients.
According to the Coconut Research Center, coconut oil kills the viruses that cause influenza, measles, hepatitis, herpes, SARS, and other serious health risks. It also kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and gonorrhoea. Finally, coconut oil is also effective in the elimination of fungi and yeast that cause ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, and diaper rash.
Coconut oil is strongly recommended for a number of other benefits that are explained below. Using coconut oils has been shown to mildly help the following:
Stress relief: Coconut oil is very soothing and hence it helps in removing stress. Applying it to the head, followed by a gentle massage, helps to eliminate mental fatigue. According to research virgin coconut oil gives relief from stress and has antioxidant properties.
Diabetes: Coconut oil helps in controlling blood sugar, and improves the secretion of insulin. It also promotes the effective utilization of blood glucose, thereby preventing and treating diabetes.
Bones: As mentioned earlier, coconut oil improves the ability of our body to absorb important minerals. These include calcium and magnesium, which are necessary for the development of bones. Thus, it is very useful to women who are prone to osteoporosis after middle age.
Boosts Energy: Coconut oil is often used by athletes, body builders and by those who are dieting. The reason behind this being that it contains less calories than other oils, its fat content is easily converted into energy, and it does not lead to accumulation of fat in the heart and arteries. Coconut oil helps boost energy and endurance, and generally enhances the performance of athletes.
Coconut oil and Alzheimer’s disease: The research conducted by Dr. Newport states that the oil is useful in treating Alzheimer’s disease. Apart from this there is no scientific evidence or traditional knowledge of coconut oil being used for treating Alzheimer’s. In fact, it is not traditionally thought that the oil helps in boosting the function of the brain in any form.
Use As Carrier Oil
Carrier oils are those oils, which easily penetrate or absorb into the skin and thus facilitate seepage or absorption of other oils (such as essential oils) and herbal extracts through the skin when mixed into it. It is easily absorbed through the skin’s pores and thus is used as carrier oil. Furthermore, being one of the most stable oils, it doesn’t go rancid, nor does it let the other oils, herbal extracts, or medicines spoil inside of it. It does not alter the properties of the oils and herbs mixed within it. It also protects the herbs and oils from microbial or fungal interactions. Coconut oil is expensive in several countries; however, in tropical countries its cost is low enough to make it affordable as carrier oil.
How to Use and Store Coconut Oil?
Unlike most other oils, coconut oil has a high melting point – about 24 to 25 degrees Celsius or 76-78 Fahrenheit. Therefore it is solid at room temperature and melts only when the temperature rises considerably. It is often in this form, and obviously, don’t keep it in your refrigerator.
If you are using coconut oil for topical purposes, especially hair care, just melt the oil (if it is solid) by keeping the bottle in the sun or soaking it in warm water. You can also take some oil out and put it in a small bowl and heat the bowl over a flame (don’t use a microwave). Then, take the oil on your palm and apply it to your hair. If you want to use it for internal consumption, simply replace butter or vegetable oils with coconut oil in your recipes. Remember, you don’t need to completely switch to coconut oil, because then you will lose the other benefits of more traditional oils and dairy products.
In colder countries, coconut oil comes in good, broad containers. However, if you get it in a pack (tetra-pack or plastic pouch), after opening the pack, be sure to keep the oil in containers with tight lid and broad mouth so that you can scoop it out with a spoon if it solidifies. Keeping it sealed or lidded is necessary because there are other admirers of coconut oil too (ants, cockroaches, other insects and rodents just love it!).
I don’t like the taste of coconut oil. What should I do?: Try using it in a variety of different recipes. However, if you get nauseated after eating coconut oil, don’t force yourself to eat it. As can happen with any food item, your body may be allergic to coconut oil and it is best not to consume it in that case.
Composition Of Coconut Oil
More than 90% of coconut oil consists of saturated fats (Don’t panic! It’s not as bad as it sounds, read to the end of this review and your opinion may change), along with traces of a few unsaturated fatty acids, such as monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Virgin coconut oil is no different from this.
Saturated fatty acids: Most of them are medium chain triglycerides, which are supposed to assimilate well in the body’s systems.
-Lauric acid: It is the chief contributor, representing more than 40% of the total, followed by capric acid, caprylic acid, myristic acid and palmitic. The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin. Lauric acid is helpful in dealing with viruses and diseases.
-Capric acid: It reacts with certain enzymes secreted by other bacteria, which subsequently convert it into a powerful antimicrobial agent, monocaprin.
-Caprylic acid, caproic acid and myristic acid: They are rich in antimicrobial and antifungal properties
Unsaturated fatty acids: Polyunsaturated fatty acids- linoleic acid, monounsaturated fatty acids- Oleic acid
Poly-phenols: Coconut contains Gallic acid, which is also known as phenolic acid. These polyphenols are responsible for the fragrance and the taste of coconut oil and Virgin Coconut Oil is rich in these polyphenols.
Derivatives of fatty acid: Betaines, ethanolamide, ethoxylates, fatty esters, fatty polysorbates, monoglycerides and polyol esters.
Derivatives of fatty alcohols: Fatty chlorides, fatty alcohol sulphate and fatty alcohol ether sulphate
Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamin E, vitamin K and minerals such as iron.
Hope this will be of some help to you. Got any suggestions? Your comments are welcome! You may also share this information with your friends. Thanks!