Coconut oil is a superfood because it has numerous health benefits that are due to its medium-chain fatty acids (mcfas): Caprylic acid Lauric acid Capric acid.
Coconut oil mcfas are easily digestible, not readily stored as fat, have anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties, processed by the liver to be used for energy.
The mcfas in coconut oil may help with weight loss, as opposed to foods with long-chain triglycerides found in junk food.
You should use coconut oil as a supplement because of its health benefits and limited side effect profile.
Some individuals may have contact allergies to coconuts, so if you do, avoid taking coconut oil. Most individuals will be fine.
Adding coconut oil to your diet is so easy because you can cook and bake with it, or even mix a few drops with your protein shakes. Some even apply it to the skin for absorption.
Here are 25 health benefits for consuming coconut oil.
25 Health Benefits Of Coconut Oil
1. Prevent Heart Disease
Coconut has unique saturated fats that increase the hld (“good cholesterol” and decrease the ldl (“bad cholesterol”).
By increasing the hdl:ldl ratio, this lowers risk of heart disease. Overall, this may reduce risk for cardiovascular disease.
2. Lower Blood Pressure
While it has been shown to decrease blood pressure in rat models, it has to be further explored for human trials.
However, what is shown is that it can reduce cardiovascular disease.
3. Diabetes Type ii Improvement
In diabetes mellitus type 2 the cells can become “insulin resistant” meaning that the pancreas has to produce more insulin to get a response.
mcfas take off the strain of the pancreas since they can provide an immediate source of energy without any dependence on the pancreas to metabolize it.
This helps reduce insulin resistance in type ii diabetes.
4. Weight Loss
Early studies showed in the 1980s that the capric acid in coconut oil shows significant improvements in thyroid function, helps lower resting heart rate, and assists your body in burning fat for energy.
More recent studies show that mcfa, in particular, caprylic acid, can lead to fat breakdown at a level similar to fasting. The ketogenic diet has been shown to help in weight loss, although it is very difficult to continue long term.
5. Anti-microbial properties
Coconut oil can be metabolized into lauric acid and monolaurin which can exterminate harmful pathogens such as fungi, bacteria and viruses.
6. Fights Cavities
Coconut oil has been used for centuries for mouth hygiene and even today.
Simply swish a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth for 10-20 minutes and it will detoxify the oral cavity and suck away toxins and help cure tooth decay, heal bleeding gums, and clear bad breath.
7. Reduce yeast infection
Chronic yeast infections require both medication, changes in hygiene and diet.
The capric acid and lauric acid in coconut oil taken three times a day can help reduce yeast infections.
8. Prevent osteoporosis
Research shows that coconut oil helps with calcium absorption in the gut which helps increase bone volume and strength, and decrease osteoporosis.
9. Brain Recovery
When there is no glucose, ketones provide energy to malfunctioning brain cells.
mcfa digested by liver creates ketones which may provide an alternate source for repair of brain function. Further studies are needed in this new theory.
10. Improved Memory
mcfas are easily absorbed into the body and can be transformed into ketones to be used by the brain for fuel and aid in memory.
11. Anti-stress and Anti-oxidant Effects
Recent studies show that coconut oil when used on rats led to lower cholesterol, triglyceride, glucose, and corticosterone levels when compared to controls.
These results suggest the potential value of coconut oil as anti-stress and anti-oxidant functional oil. More trials need to be done.
12. Reduce Inflammation
The antioxidants reduce the inflammation and help with arthritis, and also with analgesia.
13. Cancer Prevention
Tumor cells use glucose to support cell function, and are unable to use ketones.
A theory is believed that if cancer patients use a ketogenic diet this may help in recovery since the cancer cells are deprived of glucose to function.
Coconut oil may play a role in this since it can be metabolized into ketone.
14. Suppress Appetite
15. Protects the liver
Some antibiotics can be harmful to the liver. Coconut oil has been shown to reduce medication induced liver toxicity.
16. Improved energy and endurance
Since coconut oil can be directly metabolized by the liver into energy, it is great for endurance athletes so they can run for longer distances.
This can help with increased energy expenditure.
17. Improved Digestion
The gastrointestinal tract has been shown to increase absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, calcium and magnesium when taken with coconut oil.
Our gut has natural bacteria living (flora bacteria), and coconut oil has been known to enhance the natural flora environment which helps reduce bacterial and fungal infections.
18. Improved Skin
Coconut oil can be applied to the face and the caprylic and lauric fatty acids will reduce skin inflammation and provide moisture.
This will aid in skin health, and the antimicrobial properties will keep bacteria and fungus infections away from your face.
19. Muscle Building
Some whey protein contains coconut oil which aids in muscle building.
20. Hair Care
Massage 1 tablespoon of coconut oil into your scalp with your shampoo and conditioner to help get rid of dandruff and thicken your hair.
21. Improved wound health
Apply some coconut over a mild cut and it will help in wound healing.
22. Insect Repellent
While we love the summer, we hate the bugs. Try making a natural insect repellent to avoid those mosquitoes.
23. Lip Balm
Try this easy trick to make your own lip balm to keep your lips moisturized.
24. Sun Block
Coconut oil can be used as a sun block; however, coconut oil only blocks 20% of the sun uv rays. Sunscreen blocks 90% of the uv rays.
But if you are in a jam and do not have sun block, you can use some coconut oil.
25. It’s Been Proven Safe
Coconut oil has been reviewed extensively and has been shown to be safe for its dietary and cosmetic uses.
The 25 Biggest Health Benefits Of Coconut Oil
- Prevents heart disease
- Lowers Blood Pressure
- Diabetes Type ii Improvement
- Promotes Weight Loss
- Anti-microbial Properties
- Fights Cavities
- Reduces Yeast Infection
- Prevents Osteoporosis
- Helps Brain Recovery
- Improves Memory
- Anti-stress and Anti-oxidant Effects
- Reduces Inflammation
- Cancer Prevention
- Suppresses Appetite
- Protects the liver
- Improves energy and endurance
- Improves Digestion
- Improves Skin
- Muscle Building
- Hair Care
- Improves wound health
- Insect Repellent
- It’s A Lip Balm
- It’s A Sun Block
- It’s Been Proven Safe
Rajiv M Mallipudi, md, mhs is an internal medicine resident physician, personal trainer, athlete and author. He has over a decade of personal training experience and helped hundreds of clients of all levels achieve their weight loss and fitness goals. This inspired him to work as a clinical researcher at the nationally recognized, Johns Hopkins Hospital Weight Management Center. During medical school he and his classmates created the health and wellness organization, med fit, which provided personal training and nutrition counseling to the medical student body. In his spare time, Dr. Mallipudi enjoys playing ice hockey, dancing, and training for his next bodybuilding and powerlifting competitions. Dr. Mallipudi serves as a contributing writer for the Diet and Fitness sections
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