Coconut oil is one of the few foods that can be classified as a “superfood.”Its unique combination of fatty acids can have profound positive effects on health.This includes fat loss, better brain function and various other amazing benefits.
Formerly unheard of, coconut oil is becoming more of a staple cooking oil in many households. Manufacturers are using coconut oil in favor of other oils in packaged products, and there are claims that coconut oil can do everything from supporting weight loss to slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Read on to find out more about the controversy surrounding coconut oil and if you should make coconut oil a staple in your diet.
It strengthens the immune system because it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which research has supported as an effective way to deal with viruses and bacteria that cause diseases like herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. Coconut oil helps in fighting harmful bacteria like listeria monocytogenes and helicobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia.
Healing and Infections:
When applied to infected areas, coconut oil forms a chemical layer that protects the infected body part from external dust, air, fungi, bacteria and viruses. Coconut oil is highly effective on bruises because it speeds up the healing process of damaged tissues.
Coconut Oil Can Improve Blood Cholesterol Levels and May Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease.Coconut oil is loaded with saturated fats, which actually do not harm the blood lipid profile like previously thought.Saturated fats raise HDL (the good) cholesterol and change the LDL cholesterol to a benign subtype
In one study in 40 women, coconut oil reduced Total and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL compared to soybean oil.Studies in both humans and rats show that coconut oil improves important risk factors like Total, LDL and HDL cholesterol, which may translate to a reduced risk of heart disease.
The idea that eating more fat can lead to losing weight sounds counter-intuitive, but your body actually needs lipids to function correctly. The type of fat that you eat is extremely important, and coconut oil can help keep you feeling fuller and more satisfied after meals. Also, since coconut oil contains Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFA’s), it can help you to burn more fat as well. How does this work?
When compared to the Long Chain Fatty Acids found in most saturated fats, MCFA’s ramp up your fat oxidation up to three times more effectively (6). Your liver is able to process this type of fat quickly, which may help you to lose weight. Interestingly, farmers in the 1940’s stumbled across this fact accidentally, when they fed cheap coconut oil to their livestock – in an attempt to fatten them up for market. To their chagrin, the animals actually began losing weight.
More Stable Blood Sugar:
We likely already know how damaging high blood sugar can be, and that fluctuating from high to low has a negative effect on our energy levels. Coconut oil can help to stabilize these swings, as it slows down the digestion of carbohydrates into glucose when eaten with a meal. This can banish the familiar sugar cravings you get if your blood glucose dips, which may also help you to maintain a healthy weight more easily.
Hair Against Hair and Skin Damage:
Coconut Oil Can Protect Hair Against Damage, Moisturize Skin and Function as Sunscreen.Coconut oil can serve various purposes that have nothing to do with eating it.
Many people are using it for cosmetic purposes and to improve the health and appearance of their skin and hair.Studies on individuals with dry skin show that coconut oil can improve the moisture and lipid content of the skin.Coconut oil can also be very protective against hair damage and one study shows effectiveness as sunscreen, blocking about 20% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Another application is using it like mouthwash in a process called oil pulling, which can kill some of the harmful bacteria in the mouth, improve dental health and reduce bad breath.
Coconut oil can be applied topically as well, studies showing it to be effective as a skin moisturizer and protecting against hair damage. It can also be used as a mild form of sunscreen and as mouthwash
The Fatty Acids in Coconut Oil Can Boost Brain Function in Alzheimer’s Patients.Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia worldwide and occurs primarily in elderly individuals.In Alzheimer’s patients, there appears to be a reduced ability to use glucose for energy in certain parts of the brain.
Ketone bodies can supply energy for the brain and researchers have speculated that ketones can provide an alternative energy source for these malfunctioning cells and reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s.In one 2006 study, consumption of medium chain triglycerides led to immediate improvement in brain function in patients with milder forms of Alzheimer’s.
Other studies support these findings and medium chain triglycerides are being intensively studied as potential therapeutic agents in Alzheimer’s disease.
Studies show that the 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.