Coconut oil is unique. Most oils contain long-chain fatty acids. However, coconut oil has primarily medium-chain fatty acids. Thus, coconut oil is metabolized differently than the longer ones. Typically, the medium-chain fatty acids, like coconut oil, go directly to the liver to immediately use for energy. This post reveals the top 9 health benefits of coconut oil.
The Top 9 Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
1. Coconut Oil Aids in Weight Loss
Despite sounding counterintuitive, coconut oil is a “weight-loss-friendly” fat that strongly affects your metabolism. It certainly helps you burn more calories, reduce your appetite, and reduce BMI and waist fat.
Moreover, many studies have shown that the body does not store medium-chain fats as it does with other fats.
Coconut oil is also “thermogenic,” which means it increases your fat-burning capability compared to consuming an equal amount of other fats like olive oil or butter.
Studies revealed you might burn up to 120 additional calories per day while increasing the body’s metabolic rate and removing stress on the pancreas, burning more calories, and losing weight.
Coconut oil has proven to be highly effective in losing belly fat surrounding your organs and leading to inflammation, diabetes, and heart disease. Any reduction in abdominal fat has positive impacts on your overall health and longevity.
Coconut oil is easy to digest, boosts thyroid function, and supports the health of your endocrine system.
2. Coconut oil helps improve heart health.
Coconut oil also increases levels of good HDL cholesterol and decreases levels of bad LDL cholesterol, decreasing your risk of developing high blood pressure and heart disease. The medium-chain triglycerides, the unique saturated fats, reduce two risk factors for cardiovascular disease: arteriosclerosis and obesity.
While obesity creates a significant risk for heart damage and cardiovascular issues, arteriosclerosis is the leading cause of strokes and heart attacks. Arteriosclerosis is a hardening and narrowing of your arteries. Medium-chain triglycerides such as coconut oil help reduce these life-treating issues by preventing the hardening of your arteries.
If you replace unhealthy oils such as vegetable oil or canola oil with coconut oil, you will be on your way to a great start with living a heart-healthy life. Coconut oil keeps your body functioning at its optimal level.
3. Coconut Oil Relieves Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Coconut oil’s fatty acids improve the brain function of Alzheimer’s patients. In Alzheimer’s disease, the brain uses glucose as a primary energy source, which brain cells have a hard time metabolizing.
However, the ketones produced when you digest coconut oil can give the brain an alternative fuel source.
Research continues to determine the benefits of coconut oil for Alzheimer’s patients. Some studies are still in their early phases, but many have provided anecdotal evidence that coconut oil can improve patients’ brain function with Alzheimer’s disease.
4. Coconut Oil Maintains Healthy Skin and Hair.
When you apply coconut oil to your skin and hair, it helps moisturize it, reduces eczema symptoms, and prevents hair damage. Since coconut oil is full of lauric acid, a well-known fatty acid for its antimicrobial, moisturizing, and hormone-regulating properties, many use it as an anti-aging cream. Coconut oil has properties to regenerate skin and stimulate collagen production to keep you looking young well into your later years. Moreover, coconut oil has vitamin E to protect your skin from sun damage.
Coconut oil keeps it moisturized and prevents protein loss while styling your hair. In tropical coastal regions, many use coconut oil for their hair daily. It gives your strands a shine because it penetrates your hair shaft and prevents it from becoming damaged.
Moreover, coconut oil is a primary ingredient in various conditioners and creams made for dandruff relief. So, many use coconut oil for damaged hair because it is an excellent conditioner that helps regrow healthy hair. The best part of coconut oil is that it provides your hair with the essential proteins required to nourish and treat damaged hair.
Regularly massaging your scalp with coconut oil relieves it from dandruff. Organic and extra virgin coconut oil is the best type for healthy hair. It is straightforward to apply coconut oil to your hair. You can either rub it directly to your hair and leave it in or use it as a hair mask.
Furthermore, the fatty acids in coconut oil make it helpful for treating chapped lips, dry fingers, and brittle nails. So, it is imperative to include coconut oil in your self-care routine!
5. Coconut Oil Helps Maintain Dental Health.
It is incredible to know that the lauric acid in coconut oil helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Lurid acid attacks the harmful bacteria that lead to these dental issues. Moreover, oil pulling using coconut oil can help eliminate harmful bacteria in your mouth and reduce your risk of periodontal disease, inflammation of the gums.
The leading cause of periodontal disease is a buildup of plaque and harmful bacteria in the mouth. Researchers reveal that using coconut oil can decrease plaque buildup on your teeth and help reduce your chances of developing gum disease.
A significant study showed that using coconut oil for oil pulling significantly reduced plaque buildup and signs of gingivitis in participants who suffered from plaque-induced gum disease.
Finally, coconut oil kills Streptococcus and Lactobacillus, two types of bacteria primarily responsible for tooth decay.
Also, coconut oil can fight bacteria as effectively as chlorhexidine, the active ingredient found in mouthwash. Hence, coconut oil can help in preventing tooth decay and tooth loss.
6. Coconut Oil Helps Strengthen Immune System.
Coconut oil has antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties, which help improve the immune system. Antimicrobial lipids and lauric acid can kill various pathogens and help prevent infections.
Coconut is 50% lauric acid. Your body transforms lauric acid into monolaurin. The antiviral agent fights off several pathogens and viruses, such as herpes, the flu virus, cytomegalovirus, HIV, listeria, h. Pylori and harmful protozoa like giardia lamblia.
It is essential to note that coconut oil is a natural solution for boosting your immune system. Scientists conducted extensive research into the antiviral properties found in coconut oil. They found that regularly consuming coconut oil reduces your chances of contracting a virus. It also prevents harmful bacteria from invading your body and making you ill.
7. Coconut oil helps reduce inflammation.
Coconut oil also has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce muscle and joints inflammation, thus treating arthritis because of its high lauric acid content. Studies have found coconut oil extracts equally as effective as Indomethacin, a popular prescription pain medication.
The anti-inflammatory properties of coconut oil help many who have arthritis. It is a natural source of pain relief, which makes for a low-cost and effective alternative treatment to prescription medications. Topically applying coconut oil helps increase blood supply to joints and reduce pain and swelling. Furthermore, coconut oil may be effective in treating other joint conditions, such as fibromyalgia.
8. Coconut Oil Improves Digestion and Gut Health.
Coconut oil is an easily digested oil and for your body to process. You might know that the health of your gastrointestinal system is critical to your overall health. If your digestive system functions poorly, it can lead to many chronic health problems that interfere with your quality of life. Thus, consuming coconut oil can help prevent many of these problems.
We have a wide variety of organisms living in our intestines. Some of these organisms are beneficial to the body, and some aren’t so healthy. When the microorganisms multiply, the nerves in your intestinal walls have an abnormal reaction, interfering with proper nutrient absorption and leading to digestive distress such as bloating, constipation, and gas, leaving you with the inability to absorb nutrients you are consuming.
Coconut oil improves the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and helps destroy candida and other harmful bacteria in the intestines. Along with coconut oil’s anti-inflammatory effect, it helps prevent stomach ulcers and ulcerative colitis.
9. Coconut Oil Improves Bone Health.
Fats are essential to building healthy bones. Coconut oil, in particular, improves the absorption of calcium and magnesium, which are necessary for strong bones. The many antioxidants found in coconut oil help prevent and treat osteoporosis by increasing bone volume and preventing bone loss.
The improved calcium absorption when consuming coconut oil helps stop tooth decay and develops strong teeth. Combined with increased magnesium absorption, it creates an excellent advantage for women who may have osteoporosis.
Ways to Consume Coconut Oil
Health advocates who do tout the benefits recommend limiting your daily intake of coconut oil to two tablespoons (30 ml), leaving room for additional fat nutrients, like olive oil, nuts, and some fruits.
Begin with one tablespoon of coconut oil and gradually works your way up to two tablespoons per day. Initially ingesting too much coconut oil can lead to nausea, consumer advocates warn.
You may also experience side effects of consuming coconut oil like headaches, fatigue, dizziness, joint or muscle pain, stomach upset, chills, rashes, or other adverse skin conditions.
You have several options to consume coconut oil, including:
Coconut oil, ideally used, in a pan, either via sauté or stir-fry, with beef, fish, chicken, eggs, or vegetables.
You can also drizzle coconut oil on beef, fish, or chicken before grilling. Coconut oil makes an excellent substitute for eggs or butter in baking dishes, like curry or vegetable dishes.
Add to coffee and tea.
It is delicious to add a teaspoon of coconut oil to your coffee or tea. It enhances the flavor.
Coconut oil is Keto friendly and will not break your intermittent fast if added to coffee or tea in moderate amounts.
Health professionals recommend avoiding refined doses and instead opt for virgin coconut oil. For best results, keep coconut oil at room temperature just as you would pure olive oil.