Coconut oil is unlike many other fats and is a totally unique source of healthy fats. Not only that, coconut oil provides a host of health benefits, including heart health, fat loss, and more. With that in mind, here are 10 things you should know about coconut oil:
1. Coconut oil combines fatty acids with powerful health-giving properties.
In the past, coconut oil has been criticized for containing saturated fat, but new research shows saturated fats do not clog arteries. The fatty acids in coconut oil are MCTs (Medium Chain Triglyercides) which are used in the digestive tract as a source of quick energy. They have beneficial effects on brain disorders such as epilepsy and Alzheimer’s.
2. Populations that consume a lot of coconut oil are very healthy.
In many areas of the world, coconut is a dietary staple. An example is the Tokelauans of the South Pacific. They consume 60 percent of their calories from coconuts, and have no evidence of heart disease.
3. Coconut oil helps you burn more fat.
Obesity is a serious health problem, and many scientists think it is not as simple as calories in, calories expended. The MCTs in coconut oil increase your energy expenditure, when compared to an equivalent number of calories from longer chain fats.
4. The Lauric acid in coconut oil protects against pathogens.
Nearly 50 percent of the fatty acids in coconut oil is comprised of 12-carbon lauric acid, which kills harmful pathogens like viruses, bacteria and fungi.
5. Coconut oil makes you eat less.
Coconut oil can actually reduce your hunger, because of the way the fatty acids are metabolized. In one study, men eating the most MCTs consumed 256 fewer calories than the control group.
6. Coconut oil can reduce seizures.
The fatty acids in coconut oil are converted into ketones, which can reduce seizure activity. Ketogenic diets are being used to treat drug-resistant epilepsy in children.
7. Coconut oil can improve your lipid profile and lower your risk of heart disease.
The saturated fats in coconut oil raise the so-called “good” cholesterol (HDL) and transform the LDL cholesterol to a benign subtype. Studies also show it reduces trigycerides and total cholesterol.
8. Coconut oil functions as a sunscreen and moisturizer.
People use coconut oil for cosmetic purposes. It improves the condition of dry skin and hair. It also blocks about 20 percent of UV rays.
9. The fatty acids in coconut oil improve brain function in Alzheimer’s patients.
Alzheimer’s patients display a reduced ability to use glucose for energy within certain areas of the brain. Ketones deliver an alternative energy source for malfunctioning brain cells, and reduce Alzheimer’s symptoms.
10. Coconut oil helps you lose abdominal fat.
Because coconut oil suppresses appetite and increases fat burning, it is natural that it helps you lose weight. It appears to be particularly effective in reducing abdominal fat, which wraps around internal organs and is dangerous to your health.
These benefits are most easily attained by using organic, virgin coconut oil, rather than the refined oil.