Coconut oil is often used as a natural dietary supplement to boost the immune system in patients suffering from thyroid conditions, heart disease, diabetes, Crohn's disease and irritable bowel syndrome, according to WebMD. Coconut oil may also be used as a moisturizer for the skin and a treatment for skin conditions.
Coconut oil has also been used as an energy booster for individuals suffering from chronic fatigue. The medium-chain triglycerides present in coconut oil increase energy compared to the longer-chain fats in foods with the same amount of calories. Although coconut oil exhibits high saturated fat content and a high calorie count, some people use it to lower cholesterol and lose weight when substituting fatty oils with it when cooking. In fact, the fatty acids within coconut oil may also help reduce hunger.
The moisturizing agents within coconut oil have been known to treat skin conditions, such as psoriasis, and provide comfort from dry, cracked and peeling skin.
The benefits of cooking or consuming coconut oil are attributed to the 12-carbon lauric acid present within the fatty acids of coconut oil, which means that the oil is digested enzymatically and helps to kill fungi, viruses and bacteria within the body, ultimately helping to fight off infections.