There are only few foods that can be classified as “superfoods”, and one of them is coconut oil. It has a profound positive effects on the health, due to its unique combination of fatty acids. This includes better brain function, fat loss and many other amazing benefits.
We have here the top 10 health benefits of coconut oil that have been scientifically confirmed in human studies.
Coconut Oil Can Help You Burn More FatByIncreasing Your Energy Expenditure,
One of the biggest health problems in the world currently is obesity.
While some people think obesity is only a matter of calories, others (myself included) believe that the sources of those calories are important as well.
It is a fact that different foods affect our hormones and bodies in different ways. In this regard, a calorie is NOT a calorie.
The MCTs or medium-chain triglyceridesin coconut oil can increase energy expenditure compared to the same amount of calories from longer chain fats.
In one study it was confirmed that 15-30 grams of MCTs per day, increased the 24 hour energy expenditure by 5%, totalling about 120 calories per day.
Bottom Line: The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil have been shown to increase 24 hour energy expenditure by as much as 5%, potentially leading to significant weight loss in a long term period.
The Fatty Acids in Coconut Oil Are Turned into Ketones, Which Can Reduce Seizures
The so-called ketogenic (very high fat, very low carb) diet is currently being studied to treat various disorders.
Treating drug-resistant epilepsy in children is the best known therapeutic application of this diet.
This diet involves eating large amounts of fat and very little carbohydrates, leading to greatly increased concentrations of ketone bodies in the blood.
This diet can dramatically reduce the rate of seizures in epileptic children, for some reason,even in those who haven’t had success with multiple different types of drugs.
Because the MCTs in coconut oil get transferred to the liver and turned into ketone bodies, while allowing for a bit more carbs in the diet they are often used in epileptic patients to induce ketosis.
Bottom Line: The MCTs in coconut oil can help reduce seizures in epileptic children by increasing of blood concentration of ketone bodies.
The Fatty Acids in Coconut Oil Can Boost Brain Function in Alzheimer’s Patients
The most common cause of dementia worldwide that occurs primarily in elderly individuals is Alzheimer’s disease.
In certain parts of the brain,in Alzheimer’s patients, appears to be a reduced ability to use glucose for energy.
Ketone bodies can supply energy for the brain and researchers have speculated that ketones can provide an alternative energy source for these malfunctioning cells and reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
In one 2006 study, consumption of medium chain triglycerides lead to an immediate improvement in brain function in patients with milder forms of Alzheimer’s.
Other studies support these findings and medium chain triglycerides are being intensively studied as potential therapeutic agents in Alzheimer’s disease.
Bottom Line: Studies show that the fatty acids in coconut oil can increase blood levels of ketone bodies, supplying energy for the brain cells of Alzheimer’s patients and relieving symptoms.
Because it contains saturated fat,coconut oil has been demonized in the past. 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 harmless. Many recent studies that include hundreds of thousands of people prove that the whole “artery – clogging” idea was a myth.
Even more, coconut oil doesn’t contain your average saturated fats like you would find in steak or cheese.
No, they contain so-called Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) – which are fatty acids of a medium length.
Most of the fatty acids in the diet are so-called long-chain fatty acids, but the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil are metabolized differently.
From the digestive tract,they go straight to the liver, where they are turned into so-called ketone bodies or used as quick source energy, which can have therapeutic effects on brain disorders like Alzheimer’s and epilepsy.
Bottom Line: Coconut oil contains a lot of medium chain triglycerides, which can have therapeutic effects on several brain disorders because they are metabolized differently.
Coconut Oil Can Protect Hair Against Damage, Moisturize Skin and Function as Sunscreen
Coconut oil can serve various purposes that have nothing to do with eating it.
Many people are using it to improve the appearance and health of their skin and hair and for cosmetic purposes.
Studies on individuals with dry skin show that coconut oil can improve the lipid and moisture content of the skin.
Coconut oil can also be very protective against hair damage and one study shows effectiveness as sunscreen, blocking about 20% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Another application is in a process called oil pulling where you should use it like mouthwash, which can improve dental health,kill some of the harmful bacteria in the mouthand reduce bad breath.
Bottom Line: Studies showed thatcoconut oil can be applied topically, and it is effective as a skin moisturizer and protecting against hair damage. It can also be used as a mild form of sunscreen and as a mouthwash.
Populations That Eat a LOT of Coconut Are Among The Healthiest People on The Planet
Coconut is primarily consumed by health conscious people, and that is why it is akind of an “exotic” food in the Western world.
However, coconut is a dietary staple that people have thrived on for many generations,in some parts of the world.
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.
With no evidence of heart disease,these people are in excellent health.
The Kitavans are another example of a population that eats a lot of coconut and remains in excellent health.
Bottom Line: Plenty of populations around the world have thrived for multiple generations eating massive amounts of coconut.
The Lauric Acid in Coconut Oil Can Kill Bacteria, Viruses and Fungi, Helping to Stave Off Infections
The 12-carbon Lauric Acid is almost 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil.
When coconut oil is enzymatically digested, it also forms a monoglyceride called monolaurin.
Both lauric acid and monolaurin can kill harmful pathogens like viruses, fungi and bacteria.
For example, these substances have been shown to kill the yeast Candida Albicans, a common source of yeast infections in humans and the bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus (a very dangerous pathogen).
Bottom Line: The breakdown products and fatty acids in coconut oil potentially helping to prevent infections,can kill harmful pathogens.
Coconut Oil Can Kill Your Hunger, Making You Eat Less Without Even Trying
One interesting feature of coconut oil is that it can reduce your hunger.
Ketone bodies can have an appetite reducing effect, which may be connected to the way the fatty acids in it are metabolized.
In one study, 6 healthy men were fed withvarying amounts of long and medium chain triglycerides.
The men eating the most MCTs ate 256 fewer calories per day, on average.
Another study in 14 healthy men discovered that those who ate the most MCTs at breakfast ate significantly fewer calories at lunch.
These studies were only done for a short period of time because they were small. If this effect were to persist over the long term, it could have a dramatic influence on body weight over a period of several years.
Bottom Line: The fatty acids in coconut oil can significantly reduce appetite, which may positively affect body weight over the long term.
Coconut Oil Can Improve Blood Cholesterol Levels and May Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease
Coconut oil is loaded with saturated fats, which actually do not harm the blood lipid profile like it was thought before.
Saturated fats change the LDL cholesterol and raise HDL (the good) cholesterol to a benign subtype .
In one study conducted on 40 women, coconut oil reduced LDL and Total cholesterol while increasing HDL when compared to soybean oil (19).
There are also rat studies showing that coconut oil reduces total and LDL cholesterol,triglycerides, increases HDL and improves blood antioxidant status and coagulation factors.
Over the long term this improvement in cardiovascular risk factors should theoretically lead to a reduced risk of heart disease.
Bottom Line: Studies in both humans and rats show that coconut oil improves important risk factors like LDL, HDL and Totalcholesterol, which may translate to a reduced risk of heart disease.
Coconut Oil Can Help You Lose Fat, Especially The Dangerous Fat in Your Abdominal Cavity
Given that coconut oil can reduce appetite and increase fat burning, it makes sense that it can also help you lose weight.
Coconut oil appears to be especially effective in reducing abdominal fat, which lodges around organs and in the abdominal cavity.
This is the most dangerous fat of all and is highly associated with many Western diseases.
Waist circumference is a great marker for the amount of fat in the abdominal cavity and is easily measured.
A study in 40 women with abdominal obesity, consuming 30 ml (1 ounce) of coconut oil per day resulted in a significant reduction in both BMI and waist circumference in a period of 12 weeks.
Another study was conducted on 20 obese males who noted a reduction in waist circumference of 2.86 cm (1.1 inches) after 4 weeks of 30 mL (1 ounce) of coconut oil per day.
Even though this number may not seem too impressive at first sight, but you have to remember that these people aren’t restricting calories or adding exercise. They’re losing significant amounts of abdominal fat simply by adding coconut oil to their diet.
If you really want to enjoy the immense health benefits of coconut oil, then make sure to go for thevirgin, organic coconut oil… NOT the refined stuff.
In fact this is just a small rock in the ocean. Because, people are using coconut oil for all sorts of things and are achieving incredible success.