I am in love with coconut oil. It is one of those few products that are be considered multi-purpose super-foods. The secret of this truly amazing oil is in its unique combination of fatty acids that positively affect our health.
Here are 10 beneficial qualities of coconut oil that I find interesting.
- Coconut oil contains a unique combination of fatty acids with healing properties
- People who use coconut oil are considered to be one of the healthiest groups on this planet.
- Coconut oil helps to use more energy and lose weight.
- Lauric acid in coconut oil can effectively fight bacteria, viruses, and fungus.
- Coconut oil can crave your appetite.
- Fatty acids in coconut oil often turn into ketones that can help to reduce the frequency of seizures.
- Coconut oil reduces cholesterol and lowers risks of heart disease.
- Coconut oil protects our hair, moisturizes skin, and can serve as sunscreen.
- Fatty acids in coconut oil can improve brain activity in Alzheimer disease patients.
- Coconut oil helps to get rid of fat especially in the belly area.
After all is said, I will also talk a bit about dangers of using or eating coconut oil.
Opponents of coconut oil disliked it because of the high content of saturated fats. However, it is proven that 90% of all fats are saturated fats. But research of 1000s of patients shows us that saturated fats from coconut oil are not detriment to your health. The fact is, all saturated fats are not created equal. Basically coconut saturated fats are vegetarian in nature and not like those in meat or cheese.
In fact saturated fats in this oil received a special name – medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Meanwhile majority of fatty acids in our diet are long chain triglycerides (LCTs). MCTs metabolize differently. From stomach they go straight into liver. There they are consumed as fast energy sources and transition into so called ketone bodies. Ketones have a positive therapeutic effect in some illnesses of central nervous system, for example Alzheimer’s disease.
Conclusion is clear: coconut oil contains a big amount of MCTs, which metabolize differently and positively affect some brain diseases. Furthermore, naturally occurring saturated fat in this oil has some amazing health benefits.
2. People who use coconut oil are considered to be one of the healthiest groups on this planet.
Coconut is an exotic food for most of developed countries. However, in third world countries many are forced to be on “coconut diet”, because coconut is one of the few inexpensive foods. A good example is island tribes like Tokelau in the South Pacific. Citizens of those tribes receive over 60% of calories from coconut and coconut products, consuming the highest amount of saturated fats in the world. However, their health is above average if not great. And heart conditions among those people are very rare.
3. Coconut oil helps to use more energy and lose weight.
Obesity is one of the biggest health problems in the world. Some people think that the cause is caloric intake. But others are convinced that it is not just calorie intake but the source of those calories that matters. It is proven that every product affects metabolism differently. That means that all calories are different. And all foods are not equal.
MCTs in coconut oil give more energy that LCTs. One of the studies have shown that eating only 15-30 grams of MCTs increases energy consumption by 5% for 24 hours. This equals 120 calories. And this happens without any extra effort!
4. Lauric acid in coconut oil can effectively fight bacteria, viruses, and fungus.
More than 50% of all fatty acids in coconut oil contain lauric acid. Thus oils from the coconut contains the most lauric acid of any substance on Earth! Lauric acid is a powerful bacteria destroyer. When enzymes break this acid, it turns into metabolite larodan. Lauric acid and its metabolite efficiently fight viruses and fungus. It was proven in lab studies that those two components can destroy colonies of candida and staphylococcus. Capric acid is another coconut fatty acid that is present in smaller amounts. Still, it was also added to the list of coconut’s antimicrobial components.
5. Coconut oil reduces hunger cravings.
One of interesting facts about coconut oil is also related to beauty and looks. It can carve your hunger cravings and reduce food consumption. Such an effect is caused by the products of metabolizing coconut oil. It is known that ketones reduce your appetite.
There was a study conducted among healthy male volunteers. They were given a small coconut oil intake every morning. After this they consumed on average 256 calories less than group that did not consume it.
This study has been a short one. But you can imagine the effect it would have had on the bodies of participants if this experiment lasted, for example, 1 year. The oil also makes your body burn more calories every day. This means, that you could effortlessly burn about 400 calories per day, which makes about 45grams of pure fat.
6. Fatty acids from coconut oil, an integral part of the Ketogenic Diet, help reduce frequency of seizure attacks.
So called ketogenic diet (also known as low carb diet, low carb high fat [LCHF] diet) and its benefits are now being studied and researched in regards to many illnesses and . People with epilepsy can make best use of this diet, especially when other treatments produce little results.
Since fatty acids make up almost 90% of the this seriously exciting oil, eating it greatly increases concentration of ketones in your blood. Thanks to that, children that regularly consume it as a part of their diet have been noticed to exhibit lesser frequency of seizure episodes.
7. Coconut oil decreases blood cholesterol levels and lowers risk of developing a cardiovascular disease
Coconut oil has a lot of saturated fatty acids, which are actually good for you. Medium chain triglycerides increase the levels of high density lipoproteins (also known as “good cholesterol”), and decrease the levels low density lipoproteins (yes, you’re correct, the “bad cholesterol”).
Conclusion: research shows that coconut oil restores your lipoid profile, betters the work of coagulating and anticoagulating blood systems, and has amazing antioxidant effect. These benefits together decrease your risks of developing atherosclerosis.
8. Coconut oil improves hair, hydrates skin and acts as sunscreen
Coconut oil has a wide array of beneficial uses that have nothing to do with it being food or us eating it. Many people successfully use it for cosmetic purposes, which helps improve face skin and hair. Studies of dry skinned volunteers have shown that after just a few uses skin looks much better, with its lipoid system improving as well.
Other studies have shown that coconut oil can act as great sunscreen. It stops about 20% of UV rays from reaching your skin. It is not as good as your over-the-counter SPF cream, where even small numbers mean lots of protection. Good SPF 15 cream protects you against 90% of UV rays. But it is rarely natural. Also, please, remember, number 15 next to SPF means how long you could be in the sun having this cream on, compared to being in the sun without sunscreen lotion. 15 here means basically “15 times longer with sunscreen than without it”.
This marvelous oil can also be used as natural mouthwash. Thanks to its antibacterial properties, coconut oil significantly improves health of your teeth, gums and generally is good for the insides of your mouth. It also helps against (easy cases of) bad breath odor.
9. Coconut oil’s fatty acids help improve brain function of people with Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the biggest causes of dementia in older people. It is believed, that this sickness causes brain to lose ability to turn glucose into source of energy. Ketones produced by digesting coconut oil can actually substitute glucose as the source of energy for the sick brain cells. This in turn decreases the chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
First studies in these directions were conducted about 10-12 years ago. This area is quite new and fresh. But even that it was quite visible that Alzheimer’s disease patients start feeling better and calmer, when their menu has a bit of the oil from the coconut.
10. Coconut oil helps burn fat, especially abdomen fat
We have shown above and talked about this oil improving your inner energy consumption and decreasing appetite. Because of that we can figure out, that coconut oil helps lose weight! It is very effective against the abdomen fat, both for the warming layer of it right under your skin, and for the fat that envelopes the abdomen’s inner body parts.
Internal obesity is very dangerous, because extra fat forming deep inside the abdomen starts pushing against your vital organs, affecting their blood circulation and functionality.
Studies have shown, that consuming just 1 ounce (30 grams) of coconut oil every day for 3 months have decreased waist size for men and women by 1-1.5 inches! That’s like 1 dress sizes in just one month! Yes, this might sound insignificant to some people. But you must also remember, that this was the only agent of weight loss during the 3 months of these experimental studies. So in 1 year you could decrease your waist size by up to 6 inches. I think this is a very significant result for such a little-to-no-hassle weight loss plan.
So far we’ve talked about 10 most obvious and already partially researched coconut oil benefits (that I like and deemed worth of mentioning). It is quite clear that this oil is one of the most beneficial products on Earth at this moment. Nevertheless, some could, of course, argue that coconut oil has negative effect on our body, maybe even can harm it in a long run.
Potential danger of coconut oil (and coconuts)
Some scientist have strong belief that saturated fat acids that make up to 90% of coconut oil can potentially harm your long and middle chain triglycerides (LCTs and MCTs). In reality, it’s your choice. Firstly, we can recall those natives (aborigines) that eat coconuts all their lives and never have any blood clots or strokes. Secondly, we are all in charge of our own bodies, and so regular check ups of body cholesterol and lipoid levels will help early detection of negative unwanted changes. As people say, – see your doctor regularly, if you are prone to strokes or related illnesses.
High density of fats in oil-de-coco might eventually develop irritations of stomach and gut, and increase chance of getting chronic pancreatitis and cholecystitis.
You can develop an allergy for coconut oil. As well as any other food or product, to be honest. Watch out, this type of allergy is not necessarily instant, it could manifest itself on 5th or 50th use of coconut oil, or maybe in a year or two… But it’s really hard to detect possible allergy development, since all people are different, while food reactions and allergies differ too.
Conclusion (on use of Coconut Oil)
All this said, I personally think coconut oil is amazing. The interest toward it has been really growing over the last decade, and obviously – “why”. In my quest for knowledge before embarking on this article, I’ve come across many studies and research… I’ve seen others listing dozens of other uses of coconut oil, boasting up to 50 ways to benefit from it. The sheer vastness of it’s uses and applications is unfathomable: from eating it, burning fats and improving the “insides” of your body, to helping with mental illnesses, to improving brain functionality and reducing frequency of seizures, to losing weight and prolonging life. I wish I’ve known about this oil earlier, maybe I’d still be looking 20 years old. Ha-ha. Look around for more fat & oil educational articles right here on Naturally Beautiful Life! And thanks for reading.