The Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is one of the latest foods that have been classified as a super food.
Not many oils have been grouped with other super foods and this is enough reason to try and understand what has led to such a classification.
The Source of Coconut Oil
Commercially there are two kinds of coconut oils that you will come across – extra virgin and refined. The virgin variety is sourced from fresh mature coconuts and the process of extraction does not involve chemicals or the use of high temperatures.
The refined version is sourced from dried coconut and chemicals are used to remove the odor and bleach it to become colorless. Sometimes you may also come across partially hydrogenated coconut oil. It is wise to always purchase certified organic, extra virgin coconut oil.
What Does Coconut Oil Contain?
Coconut oil is considered to be extremely high on saturated fats. A tablespoon is said to have 117 calories, 13.6 grams of fat (out of which 11.8 grams is saturated). Coconut oil is also rich in fatty acids especially lauric acid.
These fatty acids are easily converted into ketone bodies in the liver. Medium chain triglycerides, linoleic acid and oleic acid are the main fatty acids in this oil.
The polyphenols included in this oil are gallic acid or phenolic acid, betaines, ethoxylates, ethanolamide,fatty esters, monoglycerides, fatty polysorbates and polyol esters. Last but not the least it has a large amount of vitamin K, vitamin E and iron too.
Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
Some of the most amazing health benefits of coconut oil can be obtained by simply cooking with coconut oil or using it as a creamy sweetener in herbal teas or even your coffee. Some of the health benefits of coconut oil that you will read about here are likely to break myths that have been passed on from generation to generation.
Scientific research has disproved many of these myths to show us how coconut oil is extremely healthy for us.
Some of the More Amazing Health Benefits of Coconut Oil Include:
Coconut Oil for Heart health
Because coconut oil contains high levels of saturated fats, it has always been considered bad for the heart. In fact, coconut oil is extremely good for the heart. The large quantities of lauric acid that it contains work actively to prevent heart diseases.
It helps in keeping cholesterol levels under control and maintaining blood pressure. The fats in coconut oil do not increase LDL (bad cholesterol). On the other hand, they reduce the risk of injury to arteries, thereby preventing atherosclerosis.
Coconut Oil for Weight loss
Another area where coconut oil has been brandished as a villain is weight. Coconut oil is now known to help in weight loss since it contains medium chain fatty acids that make the oil easy to digest.
These fatty acids help in better performance of thyroid and endocrine glands. When these glands work well, they help in increasing the metabolic rate which in turn means more efficient fat burn.
A study has shown that consuming 15 to 30 grams of medium chain triglycerides (present in large quantities in coconut oil) increased the amount of energy that is spent by 5%.
This is approximately 120 extra calories that are burned. A good proof of this fact is the people who live along coastal areas and use coconut oil who are never fat or obese.
Coconut Oil for Digestion
Better digestion is yet another of the health benefits of coconut oil. Saturated fats present in coconut oil have antimicrobial properties. Different bacteria and parasites that attack the gastro intestinal linings.
The oil also helps in better absorption of nutrients. In some cases, the health benefits of coconut oil have been known to help in irritable bowel syndrome and candida.
Coconut Oil for Immunity
Antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid have antifungal, anti-bacterial and antiviral properties. These fatty acids present in coconut oil helps in keeping a large number of ailments at bay.
The enzymes in coconut oil are also known to kill many viruses including influenza, measles, herpes, hepatitis and SARS. This means that coconut oil can actually protect you from catching some of the worst diseases we are exposed to in the modern world.
The enzymes work by simply decomposing the harmful bacteria- thereby neutralizing any potential they have to create negative effects.
Having the right antibodies to fight specific bacteria is central to your body’s well-being, so adding some coconut oil to your diet is an easy way to ensure you stay happy and healthy.
Infection Fighting Properties of Coconut Oil
We’ve already seen that coconut oil can help fight a variety of infections and that it aids your immune system thanks to the fatty acids such as lauric acid and capric acid. However the natural health benefits of coconut oil actually go far far beyond this as it is a versatile treatment for a variety of internal and external infections.
On your skin, virgin coconut oil is aptly suited to preventing common skin afflictions such as eczema and other rashes as it creates an impermeable layer of oil between your skin and the air.
Whilst usually this would result in your skin becoming unhealthy and not being able to breathe properly, the chemical composition of coconut oil actually aerates the skin and moisturizes it at the same time.
You shouldn’t keep yourself covered in coconut oil 24/7, but applying a layer twice a day will keep your skin irritations safely at bay and leave you with healthier skin.
On cuts, bruises and scrapes virgin coconut oil helps in the same way as above – by keeping the area free from infection. Yet the moisturizing effects of coconut oil also help heal the skin by giving it the nutrients it needs to rejuvenate and repair skin tissue.
The nutrients in coconut oil not only help heal your skin but they also help tighten the skin – this is great for removing stretch marks and minimizing scar tissue.
Coconut oil is also a great treatment for candidiasis and other yeast infection. Organic coconut oil is one of the most efficient natural health aids in fighting candida off completely. Changing your diet in this simple way can really help relieve you of candiasis forever.
Candida is notoriously hard to remove from the body as the source of the infection is not necessarily the same as the location of the infection itself.
Candida grows in a low PH and overly toxic environment. If you are overweight and eat a lot of junk food, or underweight and sedentary, your skin and immune system are less tolerant, meaning you are likely to develop candida or yeast infections much more frequently.
Satiety and Coconut Oil
Obesity is a large concern in our country today. Consumption of coconut oil on a regular basis can actually help manage this menace. The fatty acids contained in coconut oil are metabolized in such a manner as to produce ketone bodies.
These ketone bodies provide a feeling of satiety and therefore reduce hunger. A study has shown that those consuming medium chain triglycerides via coconut oil ate 256 calories less than others on an average level.
Coconut Oil for Seizures
Ketones produced by the metabolism of fatty acids also helps in reducing the frequency of seizures. Drug-related epilepsy in children has been successfully treated by using coconut oil since a diet rich in fat and low in carbohydrate and protein is said to help the process.
Coconut Oil for Brain function
One of the extremely astonishing and interesting health benefits of coconut oil is the manner in which it can improve brain function. This has been tested among patients of Alzheimer’s disease.
While this super food will not completely cure the condition, symptoms are significantly reduced and the onset of the condition slows down too.
Coconut oil helps in better absorption of minerals and therefore it helps in more efficient organs. This super food also helps in better liver function, lesser chances of kidney stones, better bone health and stronger teeth.
How Can You Use Coconut Oil?
If you want to maximize the health benefits of coconut oil, there is no better way than ingesting the oil. While refined coconut oil needs to be used for cooking since it is odorless and colorless, you will need to use extra virgin (and preferably organic) coconut oil if you want to use it for weight loss or any of the other health benefits.
Tips on How to Use Coconut Oil for Better Health:
- Coconut oil is one of the few oils that are safe when you need to cook at high temperatures. So when you really have to turn up the heat, you can be sure your coconut oil will stand by you.
- If you are not sure about how to cook with coconut oil and still want to obtain the benefits of this super food, you can drizzle some on toast or just swallow a spoonful.
- If you want to make coconut oil easier to consume, you can add a spoonful to a smoothie.
- Frying eggs or using it to make popcorn is a great idea. You will hardly notice the oil if you use it to make potato chips too.
- The oil makes for great salad dressing too. Drizzle a little bit instead of your regular olive oil and add seasonings to it for better flavor.
- Coconut oil in an herbal tea, or even used in your morning coffee is also a great way to get your daily dose.
Recommended dosage for general health benefits of coconut oil is approximately two tablespoons per day. So get started on this super food and discover more health benefits of coconut oil as you go along.
You are sure to realize the many advantages of including it in your diet.
I personally use Barlean’s Organic, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. My favorite way of taking coconut oil is by putting a tablespoon or two in my herbal tea each morning.
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