Coconut oil is one of the few foods that can be classified as a “superfood.” Its benefits include weight loss, better brain function, skin health and many more.
Here are 10 impressive health benefits of coconut oil.
1. Coconut Oil Contains Fatty Acids With Powerful Medicinal Properties
Coconut oil has been demonized in the past because it contains saturated fat. In fact, coconut oil is one of the richest sources of saturated fat known to man, with almost 90% of the fatty acids in it being saturated. However, new data is showing that saturated fats are mostly harmless. Many studies with hundreds of thousands of people have found no link to heart disease.
Additionally, coconut oil doesn’t contain your average saturated fats, like the ones you would find in cheese or steak. They contain Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) – which are fatty acids of a medium length. Most of the fatty acids in the diet are long-chain fatty acids, but the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil are metabolized differently. They go straight to the liver from the digestive tract, where they are used as a quick source of energy or turned into so-called ketones, which can have therapeutic effects on brain disorders like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s.
Coconut oil contains a lot of medium chain triglycerides, which are metabolized differently and can have therapeutic effects on several brain disorders.
2. Populations That Eat a Lot of Coconut Oil Are Healthy
Coconut is an exotic food in the Western world, primarily consumed by health conscious people. However, in some parts of the world, coconut is a dietary staple that people have thrived on for many generations. The best example of such a population is the Tokelauans, which live in the South Pacific.
They eat over 60% of their calories from coconuts and are the biggest consumers of saturated fat in the world. These people are in great health, with no evidence of heart disease. Another example of a population that eats a lot of coconut and remains in excellent health is the Kitavans.
Plenty of populations around the world have thrived for multiple generations eating massive amounts of coconut fat.
3. Coconut Oil Can Help You Burn More Fat
Obesity is currently one of the biggest health problems in the world. While some people think obesity is only a matter of calories, others (myself included) believe that the sources of those calories are important too. It is a fact that different foods affect our bodies and hormones in different ways. In this regard, a calorie is not a calorie.
The medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil can increase how many calories you burn compared to the same amount of other fats. One study found that 15-30 grams of MCTs per day increased 24 hour energy expenditure by 5%, totalling about 120 calories per day.
The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil have been shown to increase calories burned over 24 hours by as much as 5%, potentially leading to significant weight loss over the long term.
4. Coconut Oil Can Kill Harmful Microorganisms
Coconut oil contains lauric acid, a powerful compound that can destroy any bacteria it comes in contact with. When combined with monolaurin (which the oil also contains), the unique mixture can destroy a variety of viruses, bacteria and fungi as well. According to studies, both compounds can kill the Candida Albicans yeast as well as the dangerous Staphylococcus Aureus bacterium.
5. Curbs your cravings
Coconut oil is the best snack which will curb your cravings and prevent you from overeating. This may be because of the different way the fatty acids are metabolized, or due to the ketones’ ability to curb cravings. One study examined how coconut oil affects the way our body spends calories.
The scientists fed 6 subjects with either medium or long-chain fatty acids, and the men who got the MCTs ate 256 calories less per day. Another study performed on more subjects showed the same, so it’s pretty safe to say that the oil can successfully keep cravings at bay.
6. Ketones can reduce seizures
A so-called ketogenic (very low carb, very high fat) diet is currently being studied to treat various disorders. The best known therapeutic application of this diet is treating drug-resistant epilepsy in children. This diet involves eating very little carbohydrates and large amounts of fat, leading to greatly increased concentrations of ketones in the blood.
For some reason, this diet can dramatically reduce the rate of seizures in epileptic children, even those who haven’t had success with multiple different types of drugs. Because the MCTs in coconut oil get shipped to the liver and turned into ketones, they are often used in epileptic patients to induce ketosis while allowing for a bit more carbs in the diet.
The MCTs in coconut oil can increase blood concentration of ketone bodies, which can help reduce seizures in epileptic children.
7. Coconut Oil Can Improve Blood Cholesterol Levels
Coconut oil contains healthy saturated fats. The saturated fats in coconut oil may increase “good” HDL cholesterol in your body, but also help convert the “bad” LDL cholesterol into a less harmful form. Coconut oil may also improve other risk factors and therefore protect against heart disease.
In one study in 40 women, coconut oil reduced Total and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL compared to soybean oil. There are also rat studies showing that coconut oil reduces triglycerides, total and LDL cholesterol, increases HDL and improves blood coagulation factors and antioxidant status.
Studies in both humans and rats show that coconut oil improves important risk factors like Total, LDL and HDL cholesterol, which may translate to a reduced risk of heart disease.
8. Good for the skin
Coconut oil not only helps your skin manage the aging process (fine lines/wrinkles, etc.), but it is also an excellent natural moisturizer that’s free of toxins and pesticides. It keeps the skin’s connective tissues strong, which prevents sagging and wrinkles.
9. The fatty acids in the oil can treat Alzheimer’s disease
Several studies have shown that the MCTs in coconut oil are beneficial for the brain once turned to ketones in the body. Results from these studies have shown that ketones can act as fuel for the brain and improve the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease patients. At the moment, ketones are a subject of advanced studies which are trying to see if they can be used as therapeutic agents in patients suffering from milder or advanced forms of Alzheimer’s disease.
10. It will reduce your excess abdominal fat
It contains something called short and medium-chain fatty acids; these fatty acids help in taking off excessive weight. Since it is easy to digest, it helps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and endocrine system. It also helps to burn more energy by increasing the body’s metabolic rate by removing stress on the pancreas. Doesn’t mean you should eat a gallon of it…everything in moderation!!