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The Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Conventional thought had us believing that fats like coconut oil were unhealthy and contributed to heart disease - but in fact, the opposite is true. Studies have found that not only is coconut oil a heart-healthy food, it can keep your body running smoothly in a number of ways.   

Did You Know?  

Before we look into the facts of coconut oil, were you aware that populations who consume a lot of coconut are among the healthiest in the world? While coconut may be perceived in the West as somewhat of an 'exotic' fruit, primarily consumed by health conscious people, in other parts of the world, coconut is a dietary staple that people have thrived on for generations.

The Tokelauans, in the South Pacific, for instance, take over 60% of their calories from coconuts and are the biggest consumers of saturated fat in the world. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, these people are in excellent health and exhibit no evidence of heart disease.  

This should be a good enough reason to include this superfood in your daily diet, but if you're still not convinced, these 10 health benefits of coconut oil will certainly change your mind.  

Coconut Oil
Source: Flickr.com, Phu Thinn Co


Top 10 Health Benefits of Using Coconut Oil 

1. Use coconut oil to reduce cholesterol levels

Coconut oil contains a saturated fat called lauric acid - which has been shown to increase HDL (good) cholesterol in the blood to help improve cholesterol ratio levels. Coconut oil has also been shown to help restore normal thyroid function. When the thyroid does not function optimally it can contribute to higher levels of bad cholesterol. 

2. Use it to boost your energy 

Coconut oil's unique form of saturated fats (MCTs) provides an excellent energy source for the body. Using coconut oil for energy can be used by practically anyone, from athletes, through people with a busy and unhealthy lifestyle who are constantly exhausted due to mental and physical stress, and even elderly people. For a surge of energy, two spoonfulls should be enough. 

3. Use it to kill bacteria, viruses and fungi 

Lauric acid can kill harmful pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and fungi. It can be applied directly to infected areas, where it forms a chemical layer that protects the infected body part from contaminants. As it contains antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties, according to the Coconut Research Center, coconut oil has been found to kill viruses that cause influenza, measles, ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, athlete's foot, thrush and more. It is also highly effective on bruises because it speeds up the healing process of damaged tissues.  

Coconut Oil


4. Use it for better dental care and bone health 

An important component of teeth is calcium. Coconut oil has been shown to facilitate absorption of calcium by the body, strengthening the teeth. It has also been found to stop tooth decay. Besides calcium, coconut oil can also facilitates the absorption of magnesium. Both calcium and magnesium are necessary for the development of bones. It is therefore useful to women who are prone to osteoporosis after middle age. 

5. Use it to control your appetite 

Coconut contains special fats called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Its ability to reduce appetite may be related to the way the fatty acids in it are metabolized, as the ketone bodies produced have an appetite-reducing effect. In one study, varying amounts of MCTs were fed to six healthy men. The men eating the most MCTs ate 256 fewer calories per day. In another study, with 14 healthy men, it was discovered that those who ate the most MCTs at breakfast, ate significantly fewer calories at lunch. These studies were conducted on a small scale for a short period of time, and it was concluded that if this effect were to persist over the long term, it could have a dramatic influence on body weight. 


6. Use it to reduce belly fat 

Studies have shown that coconut oil appears to be especially effective in reducing abdominal fat, which lodges in the abdominal cavity and around organs. This type of fat is the most dangerous type and is highly associated with many Western diseases. Waist circumference is easily measured and is a great marker for the amount of fat in the abdominal cavity. In one study, 40 women with abdominal obesity added 30ml (1oz) of coconut oil per day to their diet. This led to a significant reduction in both BMI and waist circumference over a period of 12 weeks. Another study saw 20 obese males note a reduction in waist circumference of 1.1 inches after 4 weeks taking 30ml of coconut oil each day. These people made no other changes to their daily routines.  

7. Use it to delay the appearance of wrinkles and sagging skin 

Coconuts contain oils which have an antioxidizing effect in the body, helping it prevent damage to various tissues that help protect the skin. It makes for an excellent massage oil, acting as an effective moisturizer for all skin types. Besides delaying the appearance of wrinkles and sagging skin, which normally accompany aging, coconut oil helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections.  

Coconut Oil
Source: Flickr.com, Meal Makeover Mums


8. Use it to lower your risk of heart disease 

In one study among 40 women, coconut oil was found to reduce LDL cholesterol levels while increasing HDL, primarily because it is loaded with polysaturated fats, which help raise HDL (good) cholesterol. In addition, it contains about 50% lauric acid, which helps in actively preventing various heart problems and high blood pressure.  

9. Coconut oil can be used to boost brain function in Alzheimer's patients 

Studies show that the fatty acids in coconut oil can increase blood levels of ketone bodies, supplying energy to the brain cells of Alzheimer's patients and relieving various symptoms. It was discovered that in Alzheimer's patients, there appears to be a reduced ability to use glucose for energy in certain parts of the brain. Researchers have speculated that ketones can provide an alternative energy source for these damaged brain cells and therefore can reduce symptoms of Alzheimer's.  

10. Use it to strengthen the immune system 

Coconut oil has been found to strengthen the immune system because it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. 

Coconut Oil


Using Coconut Oil 

Coconut oil comes in different varieties for different purposes, so before you buy it, decide what benefits you wish to get from it, and how you are going to use it. The list below contains suggestions on what type of coconut oil you should buy. Most varieties are available in health shops, specialized stores, or large supermarkets. 

Use Type of Oil
Cooking Refined Coconut Oil
Weight Loss Virgin Coconut Oil

Carrier Oil

(used as a base oil to blend with essential oils)

Virgin Coconut Oil or Fractionated Coconut Oil
Good Health Virgin Coconut Oil or Organic Coconut Oil
Massage Pure Coconut Oil or Refined Coconut Oil
Hair Pure Coconut Oil or Refined Coconut Oil
Medicinal Use Virgin Coconut Oil or Virgin Organic Coconut Oil

Source: doctoroz.comorganicfacts.net; authoritynutrition.com

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