About 2 decades ago, coconut oil was feared, owing largely to its high content of saturated fat. Fast forward to current day, and the public opinion of coconut oil has changed completely. It has now established itself as a true health food, having numerous health benefits that promote your well-being.
Whether you choose it for cooking, or to use topically on the skin, coconut oil has found a permanent place in many people’s lives, and for the better. Are you using it for improvement of your health?
Nutrition Facts Of Coconut Oil
One thing that seems to confuse many people is the state coconut oil is present it. Since it is an oil, you would assume it would be a liquid at room temperature, but this is only partially true. At temperatures above 24 degrees C, it is occurs as a liquid, and below this it takes the form of a solid. So, if you see either when purchasing, you now know that is just varies based on the temperature. Now on to composition of coconut oil:
Lauric acid-45% to 52% of total fat content
Myristic acid-16% to 21%
Caprylic acid-5% to 10%
Capric acid-4% to 8%
Caproic acid-0.5% to 1%
Palmitic acid-7% to 10%
Stearic acid-2% to 4%
Oleic acid-5% to 8%
Linoleic acid-1% to 3%
Linolenic acid-Up to 0.2%
Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs)
These are special saturated fats that are where many of coconut oil’s benefits stem from. The MCTs in coconut oil include Lauric acid, caprylic acid, caproic acid and capric acid. Their benefits will be expanded upon below.
9 Surprising Benefits & Uses of Coconut Oil
1. Coconut Oil Is Useful For Weight Loss
Coconut oil is an excellent adjuvant to a weight loss plan, as its MCT content proves extremely helpful. These MCTs help promote metabolic rate, and are used as an efficient energy source on the absence of carbohydrates. MCTs are easily converted into ketone bodies by the liver, which historically was the body’s preferred energy source that our ancestors used. Regular consumption of coconut oil will contribute to significant weight loss over time, so be sure to add it to your diet today.
2. Coconut Oil Consumption Boosts Immunity
A lesser known health benefit of coconut oil consumption is its ability to stimulate the immune system and support it with anti-microbial abilities. The lipids such as Lauric acid, caprylic and capric acid have properties that inhibit the growth of bacteria, fungi and viruses, helping reduce the incidence of infection or disease. Among the infections that are frequently warded off are herpes, influenza, Pylori (which frequently causes stomach ulcers) and even HIV. With such powerful disease preventing attributes, coconut oil is advised for everyone to consume.
3. Promotes Heart Health
Many people sternly refuse to believe that a fat, even more so saturated fats, could offer support to the heart. However, more and more research has found that it does indeed have benefits for the heart, such as reducing LDL levels while simultaneously improving good HDL cholesterol levels. What this results in is diminished plaque formation on the inside of blood vessel walls, reducing your likelihood of dying from a stroke or heart attack. Clearing atherosclerotic plaques are integral to preserving the health of your heart, which goes along with reducing your cholesterol levels.
4. Coconut Oil Helps Manage Pain
In another amazing display of coconut oil’s benefits, it is also able to reduce pain and inflammation as a result of arthritic joints. While there are numerous medications to treat arthritis and pain, they are typically harsh on the body coming with a host of side effects. Coconut oil reduces inflammation thanks to its high anti-oxidant content, even comparably to the most commonly prescribed medications. Its effects are most pronounced when the oil is extracted under low heat conditions, which results in improved inflammatory cell suppression.
5. May Help Prevent Cancer Development
Though coconut oil is rich in numerous antioxidants, this is not the primary mechanism of its cancer preventing ability. No, rather it is attributed to the MCTs, which go on to produce ketone bodies in the liver. Cancer cells are not able to make use of this energy source, and are in effect starved because of it. This strategy works best while following a low carb diet, so as to not offer cancer cells alternative energy.
On a side note, coconut oil helps to dissolve the cell membranes of specific microbes, such as Pylori in the stomach; one of the known causes of stomach cancer.
6. Offers Excellent Support For The Skin
Among its most established uses is that on skin, which is commonly practiced by people living in the tropics where coconut is readily available. Coconut oil is naturally hypo-allergenic, meaning that the likelihood of experiencing adverse effects from its application to the skin is extremely low, much lower than synthetic products using mineral oil. Coconut oil acts as a moisturizer, since it forms a protective barrier that prevents water loss. This makes coconut oil application ideal for people with dry skin, or exposed to excessive sunlight.
But that’s not all- coconut oil is included in many skin care preparations that treat conditions such as dermatitis and eczema, and many others that help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. This benefit is likely attributed to coconut oil’s anti-oxidant profile.
7. Coconut Oil Is Used As An Oral Rinse
The practice of “oil pulling” is not new, but has been gaining popularity in recent years for its benefits on the health of teeth and your gums. Coconut oil pulling is attributed to improving the health of your teeth, reducing tooth decay and the overall bacterial load in your mouth. This can have a number of utilities, since reduced bacterial load means reduced likelihood of tooth decay, plaque formation and even gum disease. In addition, it is touted as a remedy for canker sores and bad breath. All that is required to do oil pulling is about 1-2 tsps. of food grade coconut oil, which is swished around in the mouth for 15-20 minutes.
8. Coconut Oil Is The Best For Cooking
Many people do not understand the chemistry behind choosing cooking oils, but to sum it up in a nutshell- you want fats/oils with a high saturated fat content. Which means only two fats really qualify- high quality grass-fed butter, and coconut oil. Their high saturated fat content ensures stability during cooking, as when many other oils are exposed to heat, their structure changes and they become pro-inflammatory. Think of them being converted into relatives of the bad trans-fats. This is the worst thing you can do for your health, do don’t be scared- use coconut oil.
9. Coconut Oil Boosts Brain Function
The brain, like many other organs, relies on glucose as its primary energy source. However, research has found that degenerative diseases of the brain associated with aging, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, have an underlying “diabetes” like condition at its core. This is why coconut oil offers excellent supports. The brain can use ketones as alternative energy, but it is much more efficient than glucose in the elderly. Even though it is difficult initially to cope with the switch from glucose to ketones for energy, once the body becomes adapted to using coconut oil’s MCTs for energy, the health of the brain and many other organs improves significantly.