Dietary fat is one of the most contentious and confusing areas of nutrition for most people. After decades of believing that saturated fat was the cause of heart disease and high cholesterol, science eventually discovered it was wrong! However, it seems most mainstream medical professionals and food marketers have been slow to embrace this fact and still perpetuate the outdated and now incorrect message that ‘fat is bad’. Therein lies the confusion for the rest of us.
Coconut oil has been enjoying much exposure as an incredible health food – but many people are still hesitant to incorporate it into the diet after years of conditioning to believe saturated fats are bad. We would like to clear up any doubt as to the benefits of coconut oil and assure you that it is NOT an unhealthy fat.
6 Proven Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
1. Coconut Oil Contains a Unique Combination of Fatty Acids With Powerful Medicinal Properties
Coconut oil has been demonized in the past because it contains saturated fat. In fact, coconut oil is one of the richest sources of saturated fat known to man, with almost 90% of the fatty acids in it being saturated.
However, new data is showing that saturated fats are harmless. Many massive studies that include hundreds of thousands of people prove that the whole “artery-clogging” idea was a myth.
Additionally, coconut oil doesn’t contain your average run-of-the-mill saturated fats like you would find in cheese or steak. They contain Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) – which are metabolized differently.
They go straight to the liver from the digestive tract, where they are used as a quick source energy or turned into ketone bodies, which can have therapeutic effects on the brain.
2. Populations That Eat a LOT of Coconut Are Among The Healthiest People on The Planet
Coconut is kind of an “exotic” food in the Western world, primarily consumed by health conscious people. However, in some parts of the world, coconut is a dietary staple that people have thrived on for many generations.
The best example of such a population is the Tokelauans, which live in the South Pacific. They eat over 60% of their calories from coconuts and are the biggest consumers of saturated fat in the world. These people are in excellent health, with no evidence of heart disease.
3. Coconut Oil Can Kill Bacteria, Viruses and Fungi
Almost 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil is the 12-carbon Lauric Acid. When coconut oil is enzymatically digested, it also forms a monoglyceride called monolaurin.
Both lauric acid and monolaurin can kill harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses and fungi.
For example, these substances have been shown to kill the bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus (a very dangerous pathogen) and the yeast Candida Albicans, a common source of yeast infections in humans.
4. The Fatty Acids in Coconut Oil Improve Epilepsy & Alzheimer’s
Studies show that the medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil can increase blood levels of ketone bodies, supplying energy for the brain cells of Alzheimer’s patients and relieving symptoms, as well as reducing seizures in epileptic children.
5. Coconut Oil May Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease
Studies in both humans and rats show that coconut oil improves important risk factors like Total, LDL and HDL cholesterol in the blood, which may translate to a reduced risk of heart disease.
6. Coconut Oil Can Assist With Weight Loss
The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil have been shown to increase 24 hour energy expenditure by as much as 5%, potentially leading to significant weight loss over the long term.
The fatty acids in coconut oil can significantly reduce appetite, which may positively affect body weight over the long term.
Coconut oil appears to be especially effective in reducing abdominal fat, which lodges in the abdominal cavity and around organs. A study in 40 women with abdominal obesity, supplementing with 30 mL (1 ounce) of coconut oil per day lead to a significant reduction in both BMI and waist circumference in a period of 12 weeks. Another study in 20 obese males noted a reduction in waist circumference of 2.86 cm (1.1 inches) after 4 weeks of 30 mL (1 ounce) of coconut oil per day.
This number may not seem too impressive on the surface, but be aware that these people aren’t adding exercise or restricting calories. They’re losing significant amounts of abdominal fat simply by adding coconut oil to their diet.