Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is one of those very few foods that can be categorized as a “super food” which is why you should start including it in your regular diet, that is, if you have not already. This oil can give you health benefits such as fat loss, improved brain function and many others. To this day, there are more than 1,500 studies that prove that coconut oil is one of the healthiest foods in the world. It has a combination of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) that can have amazing positive effects on health.
According to research, the secret to the goodness of the amazing coconut is these healthy fats, or MCFAs, which include:
- Anti-fungal and anti-microbial
- Easier to digest
- Smaller in size, making cell permeability easier for instant energy
- Not readily stored as fat
- Processed by the liver, meaning that they are immediately turned into fuel instead of being stored as fat
12 Proven Coconut Oil Health Benefits
There are many benefits of coconut oil in cooking and there is scientific evidence to back up these claims. Here is a look at 12 proven health benefits of coconut oil.
When the liver digests MCFAs, the process creates ketones which are energy that is readily accessible by the brain. Energy is supplied to the brain by ketones without the requirement of insulin to convert glucose into energy. Recent research has shown that the brain actually produces its own insulin to process glucose and give power to brain cells. An Alzheimer patient’s brain cannot produce its own insulin, making ketones contained in coconut oil an excellent source of energy to help in repairing brain function.
Coconut oil is rich in natural saturated fats, which not only increase the level of healthy cholesterol, also known as HDL, but also helps in converting the bad cholesterol, or LDL, into good cholesterol. When HDL levels in the body are increased, it helps in boosting heart health and significantly lowers the risk of heart disease.
3. Cures Kidney Infection and UTI, and Protects Liver:
Whether it is drinking coconut oil or using it for cooking, you can clear up and heal the kidney infection and urinary tract infection (UTI) by making it a part of your daily diet. The oil’s MCFAs work as a natural antibiotic by disrupting bacteria’s lipid coating and killing them. Additionally, there is a study that shows that coconut oil provides direct protection to the liver.
4. Reduces Arthritis and Inflammation:
A study in India revealed that the high levels of antioxidants that virgin coconut oil contains can reduce inflammation significantly and help in healing arthritis more effectively than leading medications prescribed by doctors. There are many extra virgin coconut oil benefits including reducing the pain and inflammation that comes with arthritis. Another recent study also showed that coconut oil harvested with medium heat has the ability to suppress inflammatory cells by working as both a natural anti-inflammatory and anti-analgesic remedy.
5. Prevents and Treats Cancer:
There are two qualities that give coconut oil health benefits against cancer. One is the ketones that are produced when it is digested. Tumor cells cannot access the energy in ketones and are dependent on glucose. It is believed that cancer patients can recover from the disease with a Ketogenic diet. Secondly, as the lipid walls of bacteria are digested by the MCFAs in coconut oil, the helicobacter pylori bacteria, which are known to increase the risk of stomach cancer, are killed. Even in studies that chemically induce cancer, it has been shown that introducing coconut oil can actually prevent the cancer from developing.
6. Improves Digestion and Reduces Ulcerative Colitis and Ulcers:
Coconut oil is known to improve digestion significantly as it helps the body in properly absorbing fat-soluble vitamins, magnesium and calcium. If you take coconut oil at the same time as omega-3 fatty acids, they become twice as effective as they are readily available for the body to digest and use them. Coconut oil can help in improving gut and bacteria health by destroying Candida and bad bacteria. Candida imbalance, inparticular, can reduce stomach acid, which causes poor digestion and inflammation.
7. Boosts the Immune System:
Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which has been found to fight bacteria, reduce candida and create a hostile environment in the body for various viruses. A large number of diseases today are caused by the overgrowth of viruses, funguses, bad bacteria and parasites in the body. You can replace sugar and grains in your diet with coconut oil when you are sick. Sugar encourages the growth of bad bacteria. Drinking coconut oil, 1 tablespoon 3 times a day when you are sick, and making sure that you consume plenty of bone broth and vegetables as well can do wonders for your health.
8. Improves Brain Function and Memory:
According to a study published in the Neurobiology of Aging journal in 2004, the MCFAs that are found in coconut oil helped significantly in improving the memory problems experienced by older subjects. There was a marked improvement across all the patients in their recall ability after they took the fatty acid. As the body can easily absorb the MCFAs and accessed in the brain without using insulin, these fatty acids have the ability to fuel brain cells more efficiently.
When cells do not respond to insulin or take in glucose for energy, they are considered resistant to insulin. This causes the pancreas to pump out more insulin as a way of compensating, thus creating a cycle of overproduction. Resistance to insulin is the precursor to Type II diabetes. Coconut oil’s MCFAs help in balancing the insulin reactions that take place in the cells and promote healthy digestive process. They reduce the strain put on the pancreas and provide the body with a consistent source of energy that does not depend on glucose reactions which then can prevent resistance to insulin and Type II diabetes.
10. Prevents Tooth Decay and Gum Disease:
For centuries, oil pulling with coconut oil has been used as a way to remove bacteria from the mouth and help in healing periodontal disease. When it comes to oil pulling, coconut oil is considered to be one of the most effective oils due to its high concentration of MCFAs which are naturally antibacterial. When you swish the oil around in your mouth, it denatures the bacteria and attaches itself to it. When you remove oral bacteria, it greatly reduces your risk for gum disease. If you want to prevent tooth decay and heal your gums, try oil pulling with coconut oil 3 times a week for 20 minutes every day.
Free radicals and oxidative stress are two of the major culprits of osteoporosis. With its high levels of antioxidants, which effectively fight free radicals, coconut oil is obviously the best natural treatment for osteoporosis. One of the amazing benefits of coconut oil in cooking is that it boosts the absorption of calcium in the gut. Osteoporosis research has found that this does not only increase the bone structure and volume in subjects, but also works wonders in reducing bone loss that is associated with osteoporosis.
12. Enhances Energy and Endurance:
Coconut oil is not only easy to digest, but also helps in producing energy that is sustained longer and increases metabolism. One of the extra virgin coconut oil benefits is that its MCFAs are sent directly to the liver so that it can be converted into energy. Nowadays, many triathletes use this oil as a source of fuel while they are training and racing for long-distance events. You can make your own homemade energy fuel by mixing 1 tablespoon each of coconut oil, chia seeds and raw honey. Consume the mixture 30 minutes before you work out or practice for such events.
As you can see, coconut oil has a wide array of health benefits. It affects every part of your body and keeps it functioning optimally and in tip-top shape. If you have not started including coconut oil in your regular diet, it is definitely time to do so. With so many coconut oil health benefits, it is one of those super foods that should be added to every family’s diet. So go nutty for coconut oil today and gain all the wonderful effects it has to offer your body and health.