10 Proven Benefits of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil used to have a pretty bad reputation in the medical community for its high content of saturated fat. Actually, there are 87 grams of saturated fat in 100 grams of coconut oil, which is why it used to be considered as unhealthy in the past. But, as the research continued, the scientists kept on discovered various benefits of coconut oil.
In a matter of just a couple of years, it changed from being one of the most hated to one of the most loved foods by physicians and dieticians. Today, there’s a consensus that coconut oil is good for you, for a vast number of reasons.
The fact is that there are literally hundreds of claimed benefits of this type of oil. Still, most of them aren’t scientifically proved, at least, not by trustworthy researchers. That’s why we’ve decided to stick only to those benefits of coconut oil that have been tested in the lab. Here are 10 of those benefits!
1. Coconut Oil is a Booster of the Immune System
The whole confusion about health benefits of coconut oil came as a result of a simple misunderstanding. In the past, the scientists believed that the fat found in this oil was a regular kind of saturated fat. However, after examining it more closely, they realized they were wrong.
Instead of being full of the unhealthy saturated fat that can mess up your cardiovascular system and even increase the risk of cancer, coconut oil is actually rich in lauric acid. This is a kind of fatty acids that have all kinds of benefits for the human health, starting with the fact that it can boost your immune system.
And we’re not just saying it for the sake of conversation. Science has actually proved its effect on the human immune system. How it works is that when ingested, the lauric acid from coconut oil turns into a substance called monolaurin, which assists your body in dealing with infections.
2. Coconut Oil Kills Fungi
Do you have problems with the Candida or some other kind of boring yeast/fungus infection? Well, we got some good news for you – coconut oil is here to help! Again, it’s all thanks to the fact that this oil contains a large amount of lauric acid, which is famous for its anti-fungal properties.
Actually, coconut oil is one of the best sources of this acid. At least, the food sources that you can get ahold of easily. In fact, it’s only comparable with the human breasts milk in terms of the content of the lauric acid.
Apart from being a powerful weapon in the battle with fungus, this acid can also be used for fighting off a variety of different infections, caused by microorganisms like bacteria or viruses.
3. Coconut Oil Kills Viruses & Bacteria
One of the most important benefits of coconut oil is that it can help you deal with all kinds of infections. For example, if you’re having problems with the bacteria that the doctors refer to as Staphylococcus aureus, or as laymen call it the staph, you can use coconut oil to treat it.
The same goes for the type of bacteria that causes ulcers in the stomach, the so-called Helicobacter pylori. You can prevent these bacteria from spreading and causing you serious problems if you include coconut oil in your diet regimen.
As we’ve mentioned, coconut oil can also be used for dealing with viruses. Some scientists even argue that it can be used for treating common cold.
4. Coconut Oil Can Help You Lose Weight
Thanks to the high content of Medium Chain Triglycerides or the MCTs, this type of plant-based oil can be used to help your weight-loss efforts. This is because MCTs get quickly turned into energy, rather than getting stored as body fat.
What this means is that you can use coconut oil as your main source of fat if you want to lose weight – most of it will get burned away straight away. Furthermore, the energy released through this process will help you perform better in the gym.
On top of everything, coconut oil can be your ally if you’re keeping some sort of high-fat low-carb diet. Diet plans like keto or Atkins propose eating less carbohydrates on a regular basis, while slightly increasing the amount of healthy fat. If you decide to start using such a diet regimen, coconut oil seems like the obvious choice.
It’s not because it’s quickly converted to energy but also because it tastes nice. In fact, some people love it so much that they eat it on its own. We advise you not to go to the extremes, but you can use it for salads, smoothies, etc. Of course, you can even use it for frying.
5. It Can Help Regulate the Blood Sugar Levels
Obviously, if the blood sugar levels are high or low, it can’t be good for your health. On top of that, if the levels of sugar in your blood change from low to high and vice versa, it can have even more disastrous effects.
The good news is that with a proper diet, you can prevent the blood sugar levels from fluctuating too often. By proper diet, we mean a regimen with a reasonable amount of calories, which come mainly from protein, healthy carbs, and healthy fats.
Speaking of fats, coconut oil is probably the best choice for those battling with blood sugar swings. This is because it has a beneficial effect on the insulin resistance, which is a common cause of diabetes type 2.
6. Coconut Oil Reduces the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
Some physicians describe the Alzheimer’s as the diabetes of the brain. It’s because in the case of this disease, the insulin is preventing the glucose entering the brain cells and supplying them with the much-needed energy.
Without enough energy, the cells can’t work properly and eventually die. The result is a reduced brain function which is commonly observed in Alzheimer’s patients.
The good news is that there might be a solution to this problem. Coconut oil won’t make the disease disappear forever, but will help the brain cells get the energy they require. Rather than supplying the brain with glucose, the coconut oil will provide another kind of energy-pack. We’re talking about ketones.
Basically, ketones are a fuel that the brain cells can use without any problems. These molecules are created in the liver from the Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT), which are found in abundance in coconut oil. Actually, more than 60 percent of all fatty acids found in the coconut oil is made of MCTs.
7. Coconut Oil Gives Your Pancreas a Break
Here’s another great fact about the Medium Chain Triglycerides found in coconut oil – they’re extremely easy to digest. What this means is that using coconut oil as one of your main sources of fat is a great way to give your pancreas a break.
Apart from making the job easier for the pancreas, this oil is also known for improving the health of many other organs that are a part of the digestive system. On top of everything, the coconut oil is proven to have a good effect on the gallbladder.
8. Coconut Oil Can Help You Build Lean Muscle
According to Dr. Axe, the MCTs from the coconut oil promote muscle development. Consuming this oil on a regular basis can help you out with bulking out, without getting any unnecessary body fat along the way.
One fact that goes in favor of this theory is that the coconut oil is commonly used an ingredient in various sports supplements. For example, the coconut oil is the main ingredient of Muscle Milk™.
How it works is that it quickly supplies your muscles with the energy they need in order to endure a difficult physical effort. So, if you’re hitting it hard in the gym, coconut oil might be the thing that you need to get the energy lift even harder.
The best thing is that this type of oil gets turned into energy quickly, meaning that you will be able to burn it before it transforms into body fat.
9. It Can Prevent & Treat Cancer
The problem with cancer treatment is that we still don’t know enough about this disease. One thing is certain, though. Cancer cells thrive on glucose, which provides them the energy needed for their growth. This means that the cancer patients who eat a lot of sugar can easy worsen their current state.
This is why some doctors propose low-carb diets as an alternative. Basically, by cutting down on carbs, the patients will stop supplying the cancer cells with their main source of energy. But, you may wonder, what source of energy should the cancer patients use. The answer is MCTs!
When digested, Medium Chain Triglycerides get transformed into ketones, a kind of molecules that the cancer cells cannot use as energy. But, ketones can be used as an energy source by other cells. In fact, most of the cells in the human body can utilize them, including the brain cells, muscle cells, and so on.
Another reason why coconut oil might be a great ally in the war against cancer is that it has potent anti-microbial properties. Some bacteria that are known for causing certain types of cancer can be killed with the use of coconut oil. Probably the best example is the bacterium that causes the stomach cancer, the Helicobacter pylori.
10. Coconut Oil Protects Your Teeth, Hair, and Skin
No one said that you must eat coconut oil in order to get its benefits – you can use it externally as well. This way, you can improve your skin health, but also the health of your hair. You can even use to improve your dental health, through a process called oil pulling.
What this basically means is that you can use liquid coconut oil as an alternative to mouthwash. Thanks to its anti-microbial properties, the oil will kill the germs lucking in your mouth, which may be responsible for tooth decay, bad breath, gum problems, and so on. The same technique can be used for treating oral candida, a yeast infection commonly known as thrush.
When it comes to the benefits this type of oil has on the health of your hair, you should know that it can make it more prone to breakage. Furthermore, coconut oil also has a Sun Protective Factor, meaning that it can protect your hair from the negative effect of the UV rays.
Surely, you can use it as sunscreen, but to be frank, the SPF of the coconut oil seems too low. It’s in the range of 4-6 SPF, so you might need to use another kind of protection from the sun as well. But, this doesn’t mean that coconut oil isn’t good for other things related to your skin. It is proven to work as a skin moisturizer, but also as a method for treating eczema.
Final Thought on Benefits of Coconut Oil
“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire” – the mere fact that a huge number of doctors are suggesting that the coconut oil is a new superfood means that it might be at least partially true. As of 2018, there are literally hundreds of proposed health benefits of the coconut oil. And even if just a small percentage of them were really true, we would still recommend its use.
In this article, we’ve examined 10 health benefits of coconut oil, which have been confirmed by reputable sources. That fact alone means that you ought to give it a chance. And even if it doesn’t miraculously help you lose weight or improve health, coconut oil should do you no harm.
The final reason why you should give this oil a chance is that it actually tastes amazing. Surely, tastes are different, but the fact that its sales are increasing rapidly shows that people really love it. If you like fresh coconut, you’re gonna love coconut oil!