One of the few foods that can be classified as a superfood is coconut. It gives positive effects on our health because of its unique combination of fatty acids. Coconut can help up lose fat, have better brain function and gain a lot of other benefits.
Not many people know the benefits of coconut oil, and because of that we give you the top 10 health benefits that will help you a lot.
1. Coconut oil contains a unique combination of fatty acids with powerful medicinal properties
In the past, coconut oil was demonized because of the saturated fats in its content. Actually, coconut oil is one of the richest sources of saturated fat that can be found on this planet. Almost 90% of the fatty acids are being saturated.
According to a study, it was shown that the saturated fats are actually harmless. The whole “artery-clogging” idea was just a myth. But coconut oil does not contain the saturated fats that you can find in cheese or steak. Here the fats are called Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) that are fatty acids of a medium length.
These medium-chain fatty acids are metabolized differently. From the digestive tract they go straight to the liver and are used as quick source energy or turned into so-called ketone bodies. These ketone-bodies have therapeutic effects on brain disorders like epilepsy or Alzheimer’s.
2. Populations that eat a lot of coconut are among the healthiest people on the planet
Sometimes we refer to coconut as an “exotic” food. However coconut can also be a dietary staple that people have thrived on for many generations.
One of the best populations that constantly consume coconut is the Tokelauans that live in the South Pacific. They actually eat over 60% of their calories from coconuts. The end result is that they are the healthies people on the planet that have no evidence of heart disease.
3. Coconut oil can increase your energy expenditure, helping you burn more fat
One of the biggest problems in the world is obesity. Some people think that obesity is only a matter of calories and others believe that the sources of those calories are critical too.
Just like we are all different, also different foods affect our bodies and hormones in different way. Because of this, a calorie is not a calorie.
The energy expenditure can be increased by the MCTs in coconut oil compared to the same amount of calories from longer chain fats. And according to a study about 15-30 grams of MCTs daily can increase 24 hour energy expenditure by 5%.
4. The lauric acid in coconut oil can kill bacteria, viruses and fungi, helping to stave off infections
The 12-carbon lauric acid has covered about 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil. When our body enzymatically digests coconut oil then it forms a monoglyceride called monolaurin.
Both of these acids can kill harmful pathogens like bacteria, fungi and viruses.
5. Coconut oil can kill your hunger, making you eat less without even trying
The best thing that no one knew is that coconut oil can reduce your hunger. This can be related to the way fatty acids are being metabolized, because the ketone bodies can reduce the appetite.
According to one study 6 healthy men were fed with varying amounts of medium and long chain triglycerides. The men that ate the most MCTs are about 256 fewer calories per day compared to the others.
In another study people that ate the most MCTs at breakfast actually consumed fewer calories at lunch.
The studies were made on a short period of time. But think about this effect on the long term. Dramatic changes can occur on the body weight over a period of several years.
6 The fatty acids in coconut oil are turned into ketones, which can reduce seizures
Currently, a so-called ketogenic study is being studied to treat various disorders. The best application of this diet is treating drug-resistant epilepsy in children.
This diet consists of eating very little carbohydrates and large amounts of fat which leads to greatly increased concentrations of ketone bodies in our blood.
For some unknown reason, this diet can help to reduce the rate of seizures in epileptic children and it can even help those who have no success with different types of drugs.
As we said before MCTs are shipped to the liver and turned into ketone bodies. And they are often used in patients suffering epilepsy to induce the ketosis and in the same time allowing a bit more carbs in the diet.
7. Coconut oil can improve blood cholesterol levels and may lower your risk of heart disease
We already learned that coconut oil is full with saturated fats that can actually do no harm to our body.
These fats can raise the HDL cholesterol which is the good one and can change the LDL the bad cholesterol to a benign subtype. According to a study, coconut oil can even reduce total and LDL cholesterol while in the same time increasing HDL.
8. Coconut oil can protect hair against damage, moisturize skin and function as sunscreen
Coconut oil can help our body without even eating it. Many people use this oil for cosmetic purposes and to improve the health of hair and skin.
People that have dry skin say that coconut oil can improve the moisture and lipid content of the skin. They say it has shown to be the best skin solution.
You can also use coconut oil as a protector against hair damage and one study shows effectiveness as sunscreen due to the blocking of about 20% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
One more way that you can use this oil is like mouthwash in a process called oil pulling. This process can kill some of the harmful bacteria in the mouth and even improve dental health and reduce the bad breath.
9. The fatty acids in coconut oil can boost brain function in Alzheimer’s patients
The most common cause of dementia worldwide is the Alzheimer’s disease and it occurs in elderly individuals. When this disease occurs, the ability to use glucose for energy in some parts of the brain is reduced.
Coconut oil can help because ketone bodies can supply energy for the brain and can prove an alternative energy source for the malfunctioning cells and reduce the Alzheimer’s symptoms.
According to a study made in 2006, the consumption of medium chain triglycerides can lead to an immediate improvement in the function of the brain in the patients that have milder forms of Alzheimer’s.
On the other hand, the medium chain triglycerides are being intensively studied as potential therapeutic agents in Alzheimer’s disease.
10. Coconut oil can help you lose fat especially the dangerous fat in your abdominal cavity
As we said coconut oil can reduce the appetite and increase the fat burning in the same time. This makes sense that this oil can help you with the losing weight process.
And when it comes to reducing the abdominal fat, coconut oil can be really effective. We know that this is the most dangerous fat of all and it can be really hard to get rid of it.
40 women were included in a study that had abdominal obesity and were supplemented with 30 ml of coconut oil per day. This helped them to experience a drastic reduction in their BMI and waist circumference in a short period of just 12 weeks.
On the other hand, 20 obese males after just 4 weeks of consuming 30 ml of coconut oil daily, noticed a reduction in waist of 2.86 cm.
This may not be impressive number, but keep in mind that these people don’t exercise of restrict their diet and calories. They are losing all this fat just by adding some coconut oil to their diet.
Few more things
It is really important to choose the organic, virgin coconut oil if you want to enjoy the health benefits.
We can call this just the tip of the iceberg, because people all around the world are using coconut oil for a lot of different things.