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Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Coconut Oil


Coconut oil has a unique combination of fatty acids that can give positive effects on your body including fat loss, brain function, and numerous other impressive benefits. It is one of the few foods that can be classified as a “superfood.”


Listed Below Are The Evidence-Based Health Benefits Of Coconut Oil


Populations That Eat a Lot of Coconut Oil Are Healthy


In the Western world, coconut oil is primarily consumed by health-conscious people. Yet, in some parts of the world, coconut (loaded with coconut oil) is a dietary staple that people have thrived on for many generations.

Tokelauans, which live in the South Pacific, are the best example of such a population. Ove 60% of their calories were from coconuts. According to studies, they were found healthy and with very low rates of heart diseases.

Kitavans are another example of a population that ate a lot of coconuts and remained in excellent health.


Contains Fatty Acids With Potent Medicinal Properties


Healthy saturated fats are found in coconut oil. These fats have different effects than most other fats in your diet. It can boost fat burning, provide your body and brain with quick energy, and raise the good HDL cholesterol in your blood, thus reducing your risk for heart diseases.

Fats in coconut oil are known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). These fatty acids are shorter than most other fats. It can go straight to the liver, wherein they are being turned into ketones or used as a quick source of energy. Ketones are studied for its possible benefits for the brain and usefulness in the treatment of Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, and other conditions.


Can Kill Harmful Microorganisms


About 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil is made up of 12-carbon lauric acid. When digested, this lauric acid forms a substance called monolaurin.

Both monolaurin and lauric acid can kill harmful pathogens like fungi, bacteria, and viruses.


Can Reduce Your Hunger, Helping You Eat Less


The fatty acids in coconut oil can reduce your hunger. This may be due to the way the fats are metabolized because ketones can have an appetite-reducing effect.

In a study conducted, 6 healthy men were fed with varying amount of medium and long-chain triglycerides. The results showed that the men eating the most MCTs ate 256 fewer calories per day, on average.

In a separate study involving 14 healthy men, researchers found that those who ate the most MCTs at breakfast ate fewer calories at lunch.


Can Increase Fat Burning


Today, obesity is one of the biggest health problems in the world.

Coconut oil’s medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) can increase how many calories you burn compared to the same amount of calories from longer chain fats.

A study revealed that15-30 grams of MCTs per day increased 24-hour energy expenditure by 5%, totaling about 120 calories per day.


Its Fatty Acids Can Boost Brain Function in Alzheimer's Patients


Alzheimer's disease occurs primarily in elderly individuals.

Patients with this kind of disease have a reduced ability to use glucose for energy in certain parts of the brain.

Researchers have speculated that an alternative energy source for these malfunctioning brain cells can be provided by ketones, thus reducing symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

As demonstrated in a study in 2006, consumption of medium-chain triglycerides led to an improvement in brain function in patients with milder forms of Alzheimer's.


Coconut Oil Can Raise HDL Cholesterol


Saturated fats in coconut oil can have the power to increase HDL cholesterol in your body. Moreover, it may also help in turning LDL cholesterol into a less harmful form. 

Many experts believe that coconut oil could be good for heart health compared to many other fats since it can increase HDL. 

In a study in 116 patients showed that a dietary program that included coconut oil raised levels of HDL cholesterol. 

Another study in 40 women, coconut oil reduced total and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL compared to soybean oil.

Can Protect Your Skin, Hair and Dental Health


Coconut oil has been used by many people for cosmetic purposes and improving the health and appearance of their hair and skin.

In a study on individuals with dry skin, it was revealed that coconut oil can improve their skin’s moisture content. It can also reduce symptoms of eczema.

One study even showed that coconut oil can protect the hair against damage and can be a weak sunscreen, blocking about 20% of the sun's ultraviolet rays.

It can also be used in the process of oil pulling, which can reduce bad breath, kill some of the harmful bacteria in the mouth, and improve dental health.


Help You Lose Fat, Especially The Harmful Abdominal Fat


Coconut oil is effective when it comes to reducing belly fat, which is considered to be the most dangerous fat of all and is highly associated with many chronic Western diseases.

As waist circumference can easily be measured, it can serve as a great marker for the amount of fat in the abdominal cavity.

According to the results of a study involving 40 women with abdominal obesity, supplementing with 30 mL (2 tablespoons) of coconut oil per day led to a significant reduction in both BMI and waist circumference over a period of 12 weeks.

Another study in 20 obese males showed that there was a reduction in waist circumference of 1.1 inches (2.86 cm) after 4 weeks of 30 mL (2 tablespoons) of coconut oil per day.

Since coconut oil is still high in calories, adding a ton of it in your diet is not recommended. However, by replacing some of your other cooking fats with coconut oil, you could have a small weight loss benefit.


The Fatty Acids in Coconuts May Reduce Seizures


A ketogenic diet is being studied to treat various disorders. This type of diet involves a very low carb and very high-fat diet leading to a greatly increased concentration of ketones in the blood. Drug-resistant epilepsy in children is one of the best-known therapeutic application of a ketogenic diet.

The diet reduces the rate of seizure in epileptic children.

When the fatty acids found in coconut oil get shipped to the liver and turned into ketones, they are often used in epileptic patients to induce ketosis while allowing for a bit more carbs in the diet.


Anything Else?


Make sure to choose organic, virgin coconut oil – not the refined stuff, in order for you to get its impressive health benefits.

You can use coconut oil for all sorts of things with great results.

1 comment:

  1. There is good information in this material. I just wish to raise two things:

    (1) It is one thing to state a claim based on something you have read, and it is entirely another thing to show the sources to support the claims so that readers themselves can access and read them. Kindly cite your references.

    (2) Monolaurin does not result from the digestion of lauric acid. Lauric acid has 12 carbon atoms (as you said) while monolaurin, a more complex compound, has 15. The chemical structure of the former is C12H24O2 while that of the latter is C15H30O4. The difference is explained by the presence of glycerol in monolaurate in the latter. Glycerol is an alcohol with three carbon atoms. To make monolaurin, lauric acid is attached to one of the three carbon atoms of glycerol.

    Thank you very much. More power to you.

    Benelyn D. Dumelod
    Department of Food Science and Nutrition
    College of Home Economics
    University of the Philippines Diliman
    Quezon City, Philippines

    ReplyDelete

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