Of all the foods that we can include in our diets to maintain health and reach peak performance – coconut oil has jumped to the top of the list for it’s amazing, and scientifically proven – health enhancing effects.
Keep reading to discover the 8 most amazing benefits of using this incredible substance for vitality, healing, and avoiding or treating many bothersome (and some serious) health problems.
What is Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil, also called copra oil, is an edible oil extracted from the sweet internal ‘meat’ of the mature palm coconut. The oil has an extraordinarily high saturated fat content that makes it very slow to spoil (it has a shelf life of about 6 months) and can be heated to high temperatures without burning – making it very good for frying.
Known and used by people in tropical climates for thousands of years, it’s both a staple of food preparation and used in various traditional remedies. Decades of scientific research have shown that this simple nut oil can benefit human health and treat an incredible array of symptoms and illnesses.
The secret to coconut oil seems to be in its high percentage of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs)
- Caprylic acid
- Lauric acid
- Capric acid
Medium chain triglycerides have demonstrated health benefits including; weight loss, improved energy metabolism, and spot reduction of abdominal fat.
Unlike the long-chain fatty acids found in most other plant-based oils, MCTs are:
- Easier to digest
- Antimicrobial and antifungal
- Processed by your liver, meaning that they’re rapidly converted to energy instead of being stored as fat
Coconut Oil for Heart Health
As mentioned previously; coconut oil is naturally high in saturated fats.
Saturated fats increase the healthy cholesterol (the HDL cholesterol) in your body, but they also help convert the LDL (bad) cholesterol into the good cholesterols your body needs. By increasing your HDL levels, coconut oil can promote heart health by reducing the risk of heart disease.
Coconut oil can also benefit your heart by reducing high triglyceride levels in the blood.
A Fat That Helps You Lose Weight
When it comes to losing body fat, metabolism is a huge factor, so the quicker you can get your metabolism revved up, the more calories you’ll burn.
Coconut oil is different from many of the other fats we eat in our diet.
While the majority of other oils consist mostly of long-chain fatty acids (LCT); coconut oil is almost entirely made up of medium chain fatty acids (MCTs).
The difference with these medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), is that they are metabolized in a different manner than the longer chain fats. The reduced chain length means that MCTs are absorbed more quickly by your body and are consequently more quickly burned as fuel.
This results in MCTs being quickly metabolized instead of being stored as body fat, the calories in MCTs are efficiently turned into fuel for immediate use by the organs, tissues, and muscles in your body.
One study investigated the effects of MCT oil on weight: it compared weight changes in rats who were overfed with either long chain or medium chain triglycerides. The study found that the rats fed the medium chain fats gained almost 20% less weight and a staggering 23% less body fat.
Coconut oil improves digestion because it helps the body to absorb vital fat-soluble vitamins, as well as health-essential minerals like calcium and magnesium.
If you consume coconut oil at the same time as omega-3 fatty acids, it can make them up to two times more effective, as they will be readily available to be digested and used by your body due to the effect of the MCTs in coconut oil.
Coconut oil will also help to improve probiotic bacteria and your gut health by destroying harmful bacteria and prevent candida overgrowth. A candida imbalance can decrease stomach acid, causing inflammation and bad digestion.
Coconut oil not only benefits digestive health, but it also helps treat or prevent stomach ulcers and ulcerative colitis.
When cells no longer respond to insulin and aren’t able to utilize glucose for energy, is when you’re considered to be insulin-resistant.
Your pancreas will begin to pump out increasing quantities of insulin to compensate, and this overproduction cycle in concert with insulin resistance is the prelude to type II diabetes.
The MCTs in coconut oil will help to balance the insulin reaction in your cells and consequently promote a healthy metabolic process. MCTs take the strain off the pancreas and provide your body with a stable/consistent energy source – not dependent on glucose metabolism.
This process can prevent the development of insulin resistance and type II diabetes.
Coconut Oil Can Reduce Seizures
It’s been known for over a century that by reducing the intake of carbohydrates and switching the body over to using fats as the main source of energy (ketosis), that epileptics will experience a reduction in seizures.
MCTs are metabolized in the same manner as ketones in the body, in one study an epileptic man was given 2 tablespoons of pure MCT oil per day and experienced a marked reduction in seizures with no other changes in diet.
MCTs for Alzheimer’s
A study by the University of Oxford suggests that even though the effect of coconut oil on dementia may be temporary; Alzheimer’s and dementia patients have actually seen measurable short-term benefits from using it.
This research supports the theory that ketones, which are simply byproducts of the breakdown of fats in your body – do play a critical role in the health of the brain.
The concept is that by boosting ketone levels with coconut oil, it’s possible to significantly improve cognitive function.
Treatment and Prevention of Cancer
Coconut oil has two important qualities that help it to fight cancer:
1) Because of the ketones created as coconut oil is digested. Cancer cells are glucose dependent and aren’t able to access the energy in ketones – slowing or even stopping growth (the Warburg effect).
2) Coconut oil MCTs eat away the lipid walls of harmful bacteria, consequently also killing the helicobacter pylori bacteria that has been known to increase our risk of developing stomach cancer.
Even in studies where cancers are chemically induced, the use of coconut oil has prevented cancers from growing.