In the present time when most of the foods and health care products available are over-processed, filled with chemicals and unhealthy, coconut oil is one of the best items to use for a healthier life.
Although it is heavy in saturated fat, coconut oil is completely cholesterol free. A small percentage of the oil is made up of unsaturated fats, which can be further classified into groups of monounsaturated (oleic) fatty acids and polyunsaturated (linoleic) fatty acids.
The fatty acids (medium chain triglycerides or MCTs) in coconut oil help to improve health and wellness in several amazing ways that make it widely known as a “superfood”.
Coconut oil contains a high percentage of lauric acid (40%) with the balance made up of lower percentages of capric acid, caprylic acid, myristic acid and palmitic acid.
Polyphenols (also known as gallic acid or phenolic acid) are the compounds responsible for the way coconut oil smells and tastes.
Coconut oil also contains fatty acid derivatives such as betaines, ethanolamide, ethoxylates, fatty esters, fatty polysorbates, monoglycerides and polyol esters, as well as fatty alcohol derivatives such as fatty chlorides, fatty alcohol sulphate and fatty alcohol ether sulphate.
Virgin coconut oil is the richest and healthiest source of these beneficial compounds along with essential nutrients such as iron, vitamin E and vitamin K.
There are many health benefits associated with using coconut oil, which include:
- Powerful Medicinal Properties
At one point in history medical professionals recommended that patients avoid using coconut oil because of its extremely high level of saturated fat (approximately 90%).
However in the present time, studies have shown that the saturated fat in coconut oil does not clog arteries or harm health. The fatty acids in the oil are healthy because they contain medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) that the body processes more efficiently than long-chain fatty acids. These MCTs turn into ketone bodies and enter the digestive system as soon as they are metabolized by the liver.
- Better General Health
While the coconut is regarded as an exotic health food by many individuals in the Americas, it is an important factor in the daily diet of many people in other areas of the world.
These populations include the South Pacific Tokelauans, who eat the highest levels of saturated fat and whose diet is 60% coconuts, and the Kitavans.
Both populations have no form of heart disease or poor health as a result of getting the majority of their calories from saturated fat.
- Natural Weight Control
An important benefit of eating coconut oil is natural weight and body fat control. The oil contributes to a healthy body mass in several different ways, which include controlling insulin, burning fat and suppressing hunger, reducing abdominal fat and curbing sugar cravings.
- Burns Body Fat
Eating coconut oil causes the body to burn more calories and body fat because of the MCTs it contains. A study revealed that consuming between fifteen and thirty grams of medium chain triglycerides a day helps the body to burn five percent more energy (approximately 120 calories) than normal with no changes in diet or exercise.
- Suppresses Hunger
Coconut oil helps to reduce hunger levels because of the effect it has on the metabolism. The ketone bodies produced when MCTs are processed through the liver act as a natural appetite suppressant.
Several studies have revealed that participants who consumed high levels of MCTs ate significantly less calories during the day than participants who did not, leading scientists to believe that the long-term results of continuing the regimen would lead to dramatic changes in physical composition and body fat levels.
- Reduces Abdominal Fat
Coconut oil helps to reduce the harmful visceral (abdominal) fat that collects in and around vital internal organs, which can lead to serious disease. Having a large waist circumference usually indicates an accumulation of visceral fat in the abdomen.
Studies revealed that men and women consuming one ounce of coconut oil each day significantly reduced their body mass index and waist size after four to twelve weeks without changing their diet or adding any exercise.
- Stops Sugar Cravings
Losing weight and sticking to a diet is hard while battling sugar cravings. However eating a teaspoon of coconut oil provides healthy fats that curb carbohydrate cravings and nutrients that leave the body feeling satisfied, keeping blood sugar levels even and reducing the desire for foods that provide quick energy (sugar).
Consume one teaspoon of coconut oil each day, increasing to four teaspoons daily for maximum weight and body fat loss.
- Better Immune System Health
The medium chain fatty acid content of coconut oil, includes compounds such as capric acid, lauric acid (with the highest concentration, at 75%) and caprylic acid, which all have a positive effect on the immune system due to their antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Once digested by enzymes in the body, the lauric acid (12 carbon) and monolaurin (monoglyceride) in coconut oil help to heal conditions such as cytomegalovirus, helicobacter pylori, candida albicans (yeast overgrowth), herpes and influenza, while eliminating harmful bacteria, fungi, viruses and pathogens such as staphylococcus aureus.
Coconut oil also helps to strengthen the immune systems of individuals suffering with cancer or HIV so they are less likely to contract viral illnesses.
- Seizure Reduction
The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil produce ketone bodies when they are metabolized by the liver. This puts the body into a state of ketosis, which is beneficial for dramatically reducing the amount of seizures in individuals (particularly children) that suffer with epilepsy, but are resistant to treatment with pharmaceutical drugs.
Coconut oil is a key nutrient in maintaining a ketogenic diet (which consists of mainly high fat foods and very few, if any carbohydrates).
- Healthy Blood Cholesterol Levels
The saturated fats in coconut oil help to balance cholesterol ratios in the body to optimal levels to improve heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
It does this by reducing harmful LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides, turning them into benign subtypes, while increasing beneficial HDL (good) cholesterol and boosting antioxidant status and factors associated with blood coagulation.
- Lower Heart Disease Risk
The high saturated fat content of coconut oil makes many individuals not want to use it as part of their daily diet. However studies show that the high lauric acid levels in the oil (50%) make it very heart healthy and effective for treating problems such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Unlike vegetable oils, coconut oil does not cause a spike in bad (LDL) cholesterol or an increase of buildup in arteries (atherosclerosis). Instead it actually reverses and prevents damage and injury to the heart, improving its health and strength.
- Healthier Skin
Coconut oil is an effective natural skin care ingredient, which is why it is added to a wide range of products such as creams, lotions and soaps.
The oil is filled with antioxidants that hydrate, strengthen and tighten dry skin while stopping it from sagging, wrinkling and developing the fine lines associated with the aging process.
- Use virgin coconut oil to moisturize and condition skin all over the face and body, or as a soothing massage oil.
- Healthier Hair
Used as a staple hair care product in India and as an ingredient in many hair care products, coconut oil hydrates, softens and conditions hair while relieving dry scalp and dandruff conditions.
Coconut oil helps to keep hair healthy and growing strong while protecting it from damage and protein loss. The oil also reduces hair damage by preventing hygral fatigue while providing protection from the sun’s ultra violet rays and supporting the re-growth of lost hair.
- Better Brain Function with Alzheimer’s Disease
In Alzheimer’s disease, which is the leading cause of dementia in the world, the brain does not utilize glucose efficiently, causing the cells to malfunction.
Studies reveal that the fatty acids in coconut oil help to enhance brain function and reduce symptoms in individuals (usually elderly) suffering with mild Alzheimer’s. It works because the medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil produce ketone bodies which are an alternative source of energy for cells of the brain.
- Better Digestion
The antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal properties of coconut oil along with its fatty content help to ease digestive problems by soothing the stomach and eliminating harmful candida, parasites, bacteria, fungi and other microbes that contribute to poor digestion and disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome.
Coconut oil also boosts the levels of beneficial bacteria in the system while eliminating leaky gut and improving the way the digestive tract absorbs vital nutrients.
- Control Type 2 Diabetes
Studies reveal that coconut oil is effective for controlling insulin resistance, balancing blood sugar levels and lowering the chances of developing type 2 diabetes. The medium chain fatty acids in the oil absorb and metabolize quickly in the body, which prevents them from being stored in fat cells, while also boosting insulin sensitivity and optimal pancreatic secretion.
- Candida Control
Use coconut oil to treat and prevent candida (systematic candidiasis), which is caused by a yeast (candida albicans) overgrowth in the stomach. The oil controls and relieves the internal and external symptoms of candida inflammation gradually, and allows the body to manage the Herxheimer reactions associated with removing the excess toxins and fungi from the system.
- Consume coconut oil on a daily basis, starting with a small amount and increasing the dose gradually to a maximum of four tablespoons a day to control and eliminate candida.
- Healthier Liver
Coconut oil contains fatty acids and MCTs that metabolize quickly in the liver and prevent it from becoming diseased. This cuts down on how hard the liver has to work, while reducing the amount of fat that builds up in and around it.
- Healthier Kidneys
Consume coconut oil on a regular basis to eliminate and dissolve kidney stones and to prevent the kidneys and gallbladder from becoming diseased.
- Pancreatitis Relief
Use coconut oil to treat and relieve the symptoms of pancreatitis.
- Relieve Stress
The soothing properties of coconut oil make it effective for reducing stress levels.
- Get rid of mental fatigue and stress by gently massaging the head with coconut oil.
- Better Bone Health
Coconut oil helps the body to absorb calcium and magnesium and other important minerals from foods while reducing the occurrence of oxidative and free radical stress, which builds stronger and thicker bones. Because of this fact, the polyphenol and antioxidant rich oil is beneficial for middle-aged women who produce less estrogen and are prone to osteoporosis.
- Consume three tablespoons of virgin coconut oil every day.
- Better Dental Health
Coconut oil helps the body to absorb more calcium to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent decay.
Uses of Coconut Oil
The following are some of the main ways to utilize coconut oil for health and wellness.
Coconut oil has a high smoke point, which makes it excellent for cooking foods that require very high heat such as grain free baked items, stir fried foods and eggs. The stability and nutritional value of the oil, along with the fact that it does not become rancid as quickly as other oils, make it suitable for a variety of cooking applications.