Top 12 Proven Benefits of Coconut Oil

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Coconut oil is back in a big way. It fell out of favor in the 70’s because it contains saturated fat. Unfortunately, now fast food chains and many households now use overly refined, GMO vegetable oils that are far worse than natural coconut oil could ever be.

Want proof? We got it right here. Keep reading and check out the top 12 health benefits of organic, virgin coconut oil.

 

1. Helps you lose abdominal fat

It’s true! Coconut oil can help you improve your fat burning potential, especially that deep core abdominal fat that is so dangerous for our health.

A recent study that involved 40 women with abdominal fat, were told to add about one ounce of coconut oil (30ml) to their diet every day over a 12 week period. The women did not change anything else about their diets, no calorie restrictions and no extra exercise; they simply added coconut oil to their diets. After the 12 week study period all the women showed significant reductions in their waist circumference as well as their overall BMI.

Another study involved 20 overweight males who also added 1 ounce of coconut oil to their daily diets. After only 4 weeks, all the men had lost 1.1 inches around their waist.

This might not seem like a huge amount on the surface, but when you consider that these people did not diet, and did not do any additional exercise, these results can be pretty impressive. Try to think of one thing you could ADD to your diet that would make you drop pounds and lose inches? Coconut oil, friends, it’s the bomb!

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2. Contains powerful medicinal compounds

Coconut oil has gotten a bad rap because it contains saturated fats, and the truth is coconut oil IS one of the richest sources of saturated fats around. Almost 90 percent of its fatty acids are saturated fats.

However, check it out, new data shows that saturated fats are actually harmless. There have been huge studies that involved hundreds of thousands of people that have proven that this entire “artery clogging” stuff is simply not true.

Coconut oil has something called medium chain triglycerides (MCT) which means these are fatty acid of medium length. Most fatty acids are long chain fatty acids. Medium chain fatty acids are actually metabolized by the body differently. Medium chain fatty acids go directly from your digestive tract to your liver, where they are used for quick energy or turned into ketone bodies, which are good for your brain. Long chain fatty acids are generally stored as fat.

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3. Improve brain function

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are problems the entire world is dealing with (see early signs of Alzheimer’s). Those afflicted with Alzheimer’s have a greatly reduced ability to use glucose as energy in certain parts of the brain. Medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil, if they are not used for energy, are turned into ketone bodies, which supply energy for the brain. Many researchers believe that ketones can provide important energy for the brain and therefore reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. A study done in 2006 showed that eating medium chain triglycerides led to an immediate improvement in brain function for subjects with milder forms of Alzheimer’s disease.

Research shows that just two tablespoons of coconut oil per day will provide you with about 20 gram of these medium chain triglycerides, which can act as either a preventative measure, or a treatment of neurological diseases that are already in place.

Several other studies support what these studies have discovered and medium chain triglycerides are currently being studied to see if they can be used therapeutically in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

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4. Supports the immune system

Coconut oil contains healthy fats such as lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid, which have antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties which improve your immune system. In fact, the lauric acid in coconut oil contains the highest number of medium chain fatty acids, as much as 75 percent! Your body will convert this fat into something called monolaurin, which kills viruses such as influenza, herpes, cytomegalovirus, candida, and helicobacter pylori.

Coconut oil has also been shown in other studies to kill other types of harmful bacteria, including one that are commonly found in the mouth. Using coconut oil for oil pulling can result in improved dental and oral health.

The antiviral compounds in coconut oil are a great way to keep your immune system strong throughout the year so that when cold and flu season come around, you will have no problem fighting off these viruses naturally, instead of relying on mercury laden flu vaccines.

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Photo credit: bigstock

5. The healthiest people on the planet eat coconut oil

Although many Americans think of coconut oil as an “exotic” food that is mainly eaten by “health nuts”, in many parts of the world, coconut, and its oil, is a staple in their diets. Many people around the world have thrived on coconut and its oil. In fact coconut oil has been used in many countries as means of solving health problems from constipation to gonorrhea. Coconut oil is easy digested by everyone, even infants, the elderly, and those with digestive problems.

One example would be the people of Tokelauans, who live in the South Pacific. More than 60 percent of their calories come from coconuts. In fact, they are the largest consumers of saturated fat the world over. These people are also among the healthiest in the world, with absolutely no evidence of heart disease.

Another group of people who eat lots of coconut and coconut oil are the Kitavans. They come from an area of New Guinea and their dietary staples are yams, sweet potatoes, fish, fruit, and lots of coconut. They, too, are in excellent health with lower cholesterol levels, blood pressure levels, and body mass indexes than most people in Sweden, according to a study done by Swedish researcher Staffan Lindeberg.

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6. Protects hair, skin, and is a natural sunscreen

Coconut oil is a super multipurpose oil. It can provide you with benefits, even if you don’t eat it. Many people use coconut oil for cosmetic reasons as it improves not only the appearance of their skin and hair, but it also improves its heath.

Studies show that for persons with dry skin, coconut oil can improve the lipid and moisture content of the skin. It also protects hair from damage caused by blow drying and coloring. It’s a great natural sunscreen, too, protecting your skin and hair from approximately 20 percent of the sun’s damaging ultra violet rays. So besides being great in the kitchen, you can feel completely comfortable putting a jar in the shower as well.

Many people like to use coconut oil in a process called oil pulling, as it tastes better than most other oils. Coconut oil can be used as a mouthwash, also, as it kills off bacteria in the mouth, which can improve dental health, and reduce bad breath.

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7. Lowers cholesterol levels

Although it’s true that coconut oil is full of saturated fats, remember that they don’t harm the blood lipid profile as was previously believed. Saturated fats, such as the ones in coconut oil, raise the HDL (good) cholesterol and change your LDL cholesterol to a benign subtype.

One study that involved 40 females showed that consuming coconut oil lowered total, as well as LDL cholesterol, while it increased their HDL, compared to using soybean oil.

Other studies involving rats showed that coconut oil lowers triglycerides and LDL, while increasing HDL and even improving blood coagulation and antioxidant status.

A random, double blind clinical trial involving 40 women, split into two groups, were instructed to follow a balanced diet and walk for about one hour daily. One group was given soybean oil supplements and the other, coconut oil supplements.

After just one week, the subjects that took coconut oil had a reduction in their waist size, and a decrease in total cholesterol levels. The subjects that took soybean oil showed no difference in either area.

This study shows that consuming coconut oil can greatly improve the risk factors regarding cardiovascular disease, which can lead to a reduced risk of heart disease in the long run.

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8. Reduces the risk of seizures

Low carb, high fat diets are being studied to see if they can be beneficial in the treatment of various disorders. Currently, the best known application of this type of diet is for the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy in children.

High fat, low carb diets leads to large amounts of ketone bodies in the blood and, for a currently unknown reason, this dramatically reduces the rate of seizures in children with epilepsy, even those who have had no success with multiple types of anti-seizure medications.

Improving blood circulation to the brain is well-known for drastically cutting the risk of seizures and other brain issues.

Because coconut oil has medium chain fatty acids, the liver uses what it can first, then turns the remainder into ketone bodies. These are often used in those with epilepsy to induce ketosis, while allowing them to eat a bit more carbs in their daily diet.

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9. Has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties

Nearly 50 percent of the fatty acids in coconut oil are something called 12 carbon lauric acid. When we consume coconut oil, the body turns this into a type of monoglyceride called monolaurin. Monolaurin and lauric acid both kill dangerous pathogens such as fungi, viruses, and bacteria.

In fact, these compounds in coconut oil have been proven to kill a very dangerous pathogen called staphylococcus; along with the yeast we call candida albicans, a very common source of yeast infections. It’s also known to help kill harmful bacteria such as helicobacter pylori, listeria monocytongenes, and dangerous protozoa such as giardia lamblia.

Coconut oil is great way to protect yourself from a variety of infections or other types of serious health risks. It protects the liver, kidneys, pancreas, bones, and diabetes, even against certain types of cancer. You simply cannot go wrong by adding coconut oil to your daily diet. Use it in the kitchen, and then put some in your bathroom for hair and skin conditioning too!

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10. Great appetite suppressant

Perhaps due to the manner in which fatty acids are metabolized, the ketone bodies in coconut oil can reduce your appetite.

One study, which involved 6 healthy men, fed various amounts of both long chain and medium chain fatty acids to their subjects. The men who ate the most medium chain fatty acids ate, on average, 256 calories less than the men who ate long chain fatty acids.

Another study used 14 healthy males and discovered that those who ate the most medium chain fatty acids at breakfast ate significantly fewer calories at lunchtime.

Now these studies mentioned above were very small in nature and were conducted over a very short period of time, but if these effects were to continue in this same manner, over a period of years, this could have a dramatic effect on your body weight. All it takes is two tablespoons of coconut oil daily to control your appetite and help you lose weight.

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11. Helps burn more fat overall

Obesity is a huge problem in many Westernized countries, especially in the United States. Although some people will tell you that being overweight is merely a matter of calories in, calories out ( burned), but many other people will tell you that the source of those calories matter as much as the calorie count itself.

It’s fairly obvious that different foods affect our hormones and our bodies in very different way. When you consider this, a calorie is not simply a calorie. No one would say that eating 100 calories of fruit and 100 calories of candy is the same thing to your body.

The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil can actually increase the body’s energy output when compared to the same amount of calories from foods with longer chain fats.

One study discovered that eating about 15 to 30 grams of medium chain fatty acids every day increased the body’s energy expenditure by as much as 5 percent over a 24 hour period. That would be approximately 120 more calories burned, simply by consuming coconut oil.

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Photo credit: bigstock

12. Greatly improves digestion

If you are one of those individuals who suffer from bloating, excess gas, and overall poor digestion, try adding some coconut oil to your daily diet. Coconut oil has been proven to help improve digestive problems such as microbial stomach bugs, and irritable bowel syndrome. It’s the antimicrobial properties in the fatty acids of coconut oil which kill bacteria, candida, or parasites in the digestive system.

Using coconut oil as your primary source of cooking oil will help prevent stomach and digestion related problems. It kills bacteria, fungi, even parasites that can cause indigestion, heartburn, and problems in the colon such as diarrhea and constipation. Eating coconut oil can help the body absorb more nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from the foods you eat. Coconut oil does a great job by killing and preventing candida. It gives you relief from the inflammation both internally and externally and unlike other treatments, you won’t suffer from withdrawal symptoms many people experience when stopping pharmaceutical medications.

Everyone tolerates coconut oil, the elderly, infants, and anyone with stomach problems should definitely be consuming more coconut oil.

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