It is one of the few foods that could be classified as “superfood”. Its unique combination of fatty acids can have many profound positive effects on health. This includes better overall health , better brain function and many other amazing benefits.
Here are 10 health benefits of coconut:
1. Coconut oil contains a unique combination of fatty acids with 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 nearly 90% of the fatty acids being saturated ( 1 ).
However, new data shows that saturated fats are harmless. Many large studies that include hundreds of thousands of people prove that the idea that saturated fats clog the arteries was a myth ( 2 ).
In addition, coconut oil does not contain the same saturated fats that are found in cheese or steak.
No, they contain so-called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) – which are medium-length fatty acids.
Most of the fatty acids in the diet are so-called long chain fatty acids, but the medium chain fatty acids of coconut oil are metabolized differently.
They go directly to the liver from the digestive system, where they are used as a fast source of energy or converted into so-called ketone bodies, which can have therapeutic effects on brain disorders such as epilepsy and dementia. Alzheimer.
Conclusion: Coconut oil contains a lot of medium chain triglycerides, which are metabolized differently and may have therapeutic effects on several brain disorders.
2. People who eat a lot of coconut are among the healthiest people on the planet
Coconut is a kind of “exotic” food in the Western world, mainly consumed by health-conscious people.
However, in some parts of the world, coconut is a staple with which people have prospered for many generations.
The best example of such a population is that of the inhabitants of Tokelau, who live in the South Pacific.
They eat more than 60% of their calories from coconut and are the largest consumers of saturated fat in the world.
These people are in excellent health with no signs of heart disease ( 3 ).
Another example of a population that eats a lot of coconut and remains in excellent health is Kitavans ( 4 ).
Conclusion: Many people around the world have prospered for many generations by eating massive amounts of coconut.
3. Coconut oil can increase your energy costs, helping you burn more fat
Obesity is currently one of the biggest health problems in the world.
While some people think that obesity is only a matter of calories, others (myself included) think that the sources of these calories are crucial too.
It is a fact that different foods affect our bodies and our hormones in different ways. In this respect, a calorie is NOT a calorie.
Medium chain triglycerides (MCT) of coconut oil can increase energy expenditure compared to the same amount of calories from longer chain fats ( 5 , 6 ).
One study found that 15 to 30 grams of MCT per day increased daily energy expenditure by 5%, totaling about 120 calories a day ( 7 ).
Conclusion: Medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil have been shown to increase daily energy expenditure by up to 5%, potentially leading to significant weight loss in the long term.
4. The lauric acid of coconut oil can kill bacteria, viruses and fungi, helping to stave off infections
About 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil are 12-carbon lauric acid .
When the coconut oil is enzymatically digested, it also forms a monoglyceride called monolaurin.
Lauric acid and monolaurin can kill pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and fungi ( 8 ).
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 ( 9 , 10 ).
Conclusion: The fatty acids and degradation products of coconut oil can kill harmful pathogens, potentially helping to prevent infections.
5. Coconut oil can satiate your hunger, make you eat less without even trying
An interesting feature of coconut oil is that it can reduce your hunger.
This may be related to how the fatty acids it contains are metabolized, because ketone bodies may have an appetite-reducing effect ( 11 ).
In one study, varying amounts of medium and long chain triglycerides were given to 6 healthy men.
Men consuming the most MCT consumed 256 fewer calories per day, on average ( 12 ).
Another study of 14 healthy men found that those who ate the most MCT at breakfast consumed significantly fewer calories at lunch ( 13 ).
These studies were small and only done in a short period of time. If this effect were to persist over the long term, this could have a considerable influence on body weight over a period of years.
Conclusion: The fatty acids in coconut oil can significantly reduce appetite, which can positively affect body weight in the long run.
6. The fatty acids of coconut oil are converted into ketone bodies, which can reduce epileptic seizures
A so-called ketogenic diet (very low carbohydrate content, very high fat content) is currently under study to treat various pathologies.
The most well-known therapeutic application of this regimen is the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy in children ( 14 ).
This diet consists of eating very little carbohydrate and large amounts of fat, leading to an increase in ketone body levels in the blood.
For one reason or another, this diet can significantly reduce the rate of epileptic seizures in children, even those with different types of medications that have been ineffective.
Because MCTs of coconut oil are shipped to the liver and converted to ketones, they are often used in epileptic patients to induce ketosis while allowing a little more carbohydrate in the diet ( 15). , 16 ).
Conclusion: MCTs of coconut oil can increase blood levels of ketones, which can help reduce seizures in children with epilepsy.
7. Coconut oil can improve blood cholesterol levels and may lower your risk of heart disease
Coconut oil is rich in saturated fat, which does not actually affect the lipid profile of blood as previously thought.
Saturated fats increase HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol) and alter LDL cholesterol levels in a benign subtype ( 17 , 18 ).
In a study of 40 women, coconut oil reduced total and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL compared to soybean oil ( 19 ).
There are also studies in rats showing that coconut oil reduces triglycerides, total LDL and HDL cholesterol, increases and improves blood coagulation factors and antioxidant status ( 20 , 21 ).
This improvement in cardiovascular risk factors should theoretically lead to a reduction in the risk of heart disease in the long term.
Conclusion: Studies in humans and rats show that coconut oil improves important risk factors such as total LDL and HDL cholesterol, which can result in a reduced risk of heart disease.
8. Coconut oil can protect the hair from damage, moisturize the skin and serve as sunscreen
Coconut oil can be used for different purposes that have nothing to do with its consumption.
Many people use it for aesthetic purposes and to improve the health and appearance of their skin and hair.
Studies on people with dry skin show that coconut oil can improve the skin’s hydration and lipid content ( 22 ).
Coconut oil can also be very protective against damage to the hair and a study shows its effectiveness as a sunscreen, blocking about 20% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays ( 23 , 24 )
Another application uses it as mouthwash, which can kill some of the harmful bacteria in the mouth, improve dental health and reduce bad breath ( 25 , 26 , 27 ).
Conclusion: Coconut oil can be applied locally too, as studies show that it is effective in moisturizing the skin and protecting the hair from damage. It can also be used as a gentle form of sunscreen and as a mouthwash.
9. The fatty acids in coconut oil can stimulate brain function in Alzheimer’s patients
The Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia in the world and occurs mainly in older people.
In Alzheimer’s patients, there appears to be a reduced ability to use glucose for energy in some parts of the brain.
Ketones can supply energy to the brain and researchers have hypothesized that ketones can provide an alternative source of energy for these defective cells and reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease ( 28 ).
In a study conducted in 2006, the consumption of medium-chain triglycerides led to an immediate improvement in brain function in patients with mild forms of Alzheimer’s disease ( 29 ).
Other studies confirm these findings and medium-chain triglycerides are intensively studied as potential therapeutic agents in Alzheimer’s disease ( 30 , 31 ).
Conclusion: Studies show that the fatty acids in coconut oil can increase ketone levels in the blood, providing energy to the brain cells of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and relieving symptoms.
10. Coconut oil can help you lose fat, especially the dangerous fat in your abdominal cavity
Since coconut oil can reduce appetite and increase fat burning, it makes sense that it can also help you lose weight.
Coconut oil appears to be particularly effective in reducing abdominal fat, which lodges in the abdominal cavity and around organs.
It is the most dangerous fat of all and is strongly associated with many Western diseases.
Waist circumference is easily measurable and is an excellent marker of the amount of fat in the abdominal cavity.
A study of 40 women with abdominal obesity, supplemented with 30 ml (1 ounce) of coconut oil daily, significantly reduced both BMI and waist circumference over a period of one year. 12 weeks ( 19 ).
Another study of 20 obese men 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 ( 32 ).
This number may not seem very impressive on the surface, but be aware that these people do not add exercise and do not restrict calories. They lose significant amounts of abdominal fat simply by adding coconut oil to their diet.
If you want to enjoy the immense health benefits of this oil, then make sure you choose organic, virgin, NOT something refined.
People use coconut oil for all kinds of things with very good results.