Not many foods can be classified as “superfoods”, but coconut oil is definitely one of them. It contains many qualities that can prevent, and even cure, various types of ailments from cardiovascular diseases to Alzheimer’s.
Have you ever tried coconut oil for some health or beauty purpose?
Here are some reasons why you will definitely love it:
10 Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
1. Powerful Combination of Fatty Acids with Potent Medicinal Properties
In the past, coconut oil was highly criticized because of the saturated fat in it. In fact, coconut oil is the richest source of saturated fat with 90 percent of saturated fatty acids.
According to recent data, saturated fats can’t harm the organism. Some massive studies which include thousands of people found that the “artery clogging” notion was just a myth.
Also, the coconut oil does not contain the common saturated fats in steak and cheese. They contain the medium chain triglycerides, fatty acids of a medium length.
These medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil are metabolized in a different manner rather than the long-chain fatty acids found in other foods.
From the digestive tract, they go to the liver when they are used as quick source energy or turned into ketone bodies which can provide therapeutic effects on brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s or epilepsy.
2. The More Coconut Oil You Consume, The Healthier You Become
This exotic food in the Western world is mainly consumed by people who are health conscious. In some parts of the world, coconut oil is used as a dietary staple that people have been using for generations.
One such population is the Tokelauans, from South Pacific whose diet is mainly based on coconuts and are considered the biggest consumers of coconuts.
What is specific to these people is the excellent health and no heart diseases. Another population which consumes a lot of coconut oil is the Kitavans.
3. Increases Energy Expenditure and Stimulates Fat Burning Process
Currently, obesity is the top leading health problem worldwide. For this condition, calories are not only that matter but the source of these calories.
This means that different foods affect the body and hormones in different ways. So, the coconut oil’s medium-chain triglycerides can increase the energy expenditure in comparison with the longer chain fats.
According to one study, 15-30 grams of medium-chain triglycerides on a daily basis can increase the total energy expenditure by 5% or 120 calories.
4. Kills Bacteria, Fungi and Viruses and Cures Infections Due to The Lauric Acid
Half of the fatty acids in coconut oil is the Lauric Acid (12-carbon). When enzymatically digested, this oil forms monolaurin. Both monolaurin and the lauric acid can kill bacteria, fungi and viruses.
It was found that these substances can kill Staphylococcus Aureus and Candida Albicans, very serious bacteria that can cause many infections.
5. Suppresses Hunger
One important property of coconut oil is that it can suppress hunger. This may be a result of the way these fatty acids metabolize, because the ketones have the ability to reduce appetite.
One particular study included 6 men who were given different amounts of long and medium chain triglycerides. Those men who ate the most medium-chain triglyceridesconsumed 256 fewer calories than the other men.
Another study with 14 participants showed that those who ate the most medium-chain triglycerides consumed fewer calories at lunch. This can have a dramatic impact on the overall body weight if practice for a longer period.
6. Turns Fatty Acids into Ketones and Reduces Seizures
You have probably heard of the ketogenic diet or a diet high in fat but low in carbs. This particular diet can successfully treat many different disorders especially drug-resistant epilepsy in children.
It involves more fats and very little carbohydrates which can lead to great concentrations of ketones in the blood.
This diet can significantly reduce the rate of seizures in epileptic children whose treatment has proved resistant to drugs.
Because of the transition of medium-chain triglycerides into ketones, they are used in epileptic patients to cause ketosis and allowing more carbs in the diet.
7. Improves Blood Cholesterol Level and Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease
As we mentioned before, the coconut oil is rich in saturated fats which do not harm the blood lipid as it was thought. In fact, they increase the level of good cholesterol and turn the bad one into a benign subtype.
In one study, which included 40 participants, the coconut oil in comparison with soybean oil reduced the bad cholesterol and increased the good one.
In laboratory animals, coconut oil reduced triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, improved blood coagulation, antioxidants and increased HDL.
By improving these cardiovascular risks, coconut oil leads to a long-term reduced risk of heart disease.
8. Protects Hair, Moisturizes Skin and It Is Used as Sunscreen
Along these benefits, coconut oil provides many other that have nothing to do with eating. It is widely used for cosmetic purposes because it improves the health of hair and skin.
The studies have shown that coconut oil can improve the lipid content and moisture of the skin in individuals with dry skin. It can also protect the hair from hair damage, function as sunscreen, blocking more than 20 percent of the UV rays.
Also, it can be used as a mouthwash in a process known as oil pulling. In this way, it improves the dental health, kills bacteria in the mouth and reduces bad breath.
9. Boosts Brain Function in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is the top leading cause of dementia and can primarily affect older populations. In patients with Alzheimer’s, this tends to be a reduced ability to use glucose as energy in some parts of the brain.
According to researchers, ketones can provide the needed energy thus reducing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
One study from 2006 has shown that consumption of medium-chain triglycerides could immediately improve the brain function in patients with a mild form of Alzheimer’s.
These findings are supported by other studies, and the medium-chain triglycerides are studied as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
10. Stimulates Fat Loss Especially in the Abdominal Part
Since coconut oil can suppress appetite, it can help you burn fats and lose weight. It is especially effective in the reduction of abdominal fat, which is one of the most dangerous types associated with many diseases.
In a study of 40 women with abdominal fat, only 30 ml of coconut oil on a daily basis significantly reduced the body mass index in 12 weeks. Yet, another study has shown a 2.86 cm reduction in waist circumference with 30ml of coconut oil for 4 weeks.
You may find this information not impressive enough but make sure that these people are neither exercising nor restricting calories. They just implemented coconut oil in their diet and lost notable amounts of abdominal fat.
To provide the numerous health benefits of coconut oil, choose organic coconut oil, not a refined one.