Ten Proven Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Woman Holding a Cracked CoconutCoconut 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.

Here are 10 evidence-based health benefits of coconut oil.

1. Coconut Oil Contains Fatty Acids With Powerful 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 almost 90% of the fatty acids in it being saturated (1).

However, new data is showing that saturated fats are harmless. Many massive studies that include hundreds of thousands of people prove that the whole “artery-clogging” idea was a myth (2).

Additionally, coconut oil doesn’t contain your average run-of-the-mill saturated fats like you would find in cheese or steak.

No, they contain so-called Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) – which are fatty acids of a medium length.

Most of the fatty acids in the diet are long-chain fatty acids, but the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil are metabolized differently.

They go straight to the liver from the digestive tract, where they are used as a quick source energy or turned into so-called ketone bodies (substances produced during the metabolism of fats), which can have therapeutic effects on brain disorders like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s.

Bottom Line: Coconut oil contains a lot of medium chain triglycerides, which are metabolized differently and can have therapeutic effects on several brain disorders.

2. Populations That Eat a Lot of Coconut Oil Are Healthy

Girl Eating Coconut

Coconut is kind of an “exotic” food in the Western world, primarily consumed by health conscious people.

However, in some parts of the world, coconut is a dietary staple that people have thrived on for many generations.

The best example of such a population is the Tokelauans, which live in the South Pacific.

They eat over 60% of their calories from coconuts and are the biggest consumers of saturated fat in the world.

These people are in excellent health, with no evidence of heart disease (3).

Another example of a population that eats a lot of coconut and remains in excellent health is the Kitavans (an island near Australia)..

Bottom Line: Plenty of populations around the world have thrived for multiple generations eating massive amounts of coconut.

3. Coconut Oil Can Help You Burn More Fat

Coconuts

Obesity is currently one of the biggest health problems in the world.

While some people think obesity is only a matter of calories, others (myself included) believe that the sources of those calories are critical too.

It is a fact that different foods affect our bodies and hormones in different ways. In this regard, a calorie is NOT a calorie.

The medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil can increase energy expenditure compared to the same amount of calories from longer chain fats (5).

One study found that 15-30 grams of MCTs per day increased 24 hour energy expenditure by 5%, totalling about 120 calories per day.

Bottom Line: The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil have been shown to increase 24 hour energy expenditure by as much as 5%, potentially leading to significant weight loss over the long term.

4. Coconut Oil Can Kill Harmful Microorganisms

Running Away From Pathogens

Almost 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil is Lauric Acid.

When coconut oil is digested by enzymes, it also forms a type of fat called monolaurin.

Both lauric acid and monolaurin can kill harmful pathogens like 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 (10).

Bottom Line: The fatty acids and breakdown products in coconut oil can kill harmful pathogens, potentially helping to prevent infections.

5. Coconut Oil Can Reduce Your Hunger, Helping You Eat Less

Man Drinking From Coconut

One interesting feature of coconut oil is that it can reduce your hunger.

This may be related to the way the fatty acids in it are metabolized, because ketone bodies (substances produced during the metabolism of fats) can have an appetite reducing effect.

In one study, varying amounts of medium and long chain triglycerides were fed to 6 healthy men.

The men eating the most MCTs ate 256 fewer calories per day, on average.

Another study in 14 healthy men discovered that those who ate the most MCTs at breakfast ate significantly fewer calories at lunch (13).

These studies were small and only done for a short period of time. If this effect were to persist over the long term, it could have a dramatic influence on body weight over a period of several years.

Bottom Line: The fatty acids in coconut oil can significantly reduce appetite, which may positively affect body weight over the long term.

6. The Fatty Acids in Coconut Oil Are Turned into Ketones, Which Can Reduce Seizures

Open Coconut

A so-called ketogenic (very low carb, very high fat) diet is currrently being studied to treat various disorders.

The best known therapeutic application of this diet is treating drug-resistant epilepsy in children.

This diet involves eating very little carbohydrates and large amounts of fat, leading to greatly increased concentrations of ketone bodies in the blood.

For some reason, this diet can dramatically reduce the rate of seizures in epileptic children, even those who haven’t had success with multiple different types of drugs.

Because the MCTs in coconut oil get shipped to the liver and turned into ketone bodies, they are often used in epileptic patients to induce ketosis while allowing for a bit more carbs in the diet (16).

Bottom Line: The MCTs in coconut oil can increase blood concentration of ketone bodies, which can help reduce seizures in epileptic children.

7. Coconut Oil Can Improve Blood Cholesterol Levels

Cracked Coconut

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 (bad) cholesterol to a benign form.

In one study in 40 women, coconut oil reduced Total and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL compared to soybean oil.

There are also rat studies showing that coconut oil reduces triglycerides, total and LDL cholesterol, increases HDL and improves blood coagulation factors and antioxidant status.

This improvement in cardiovascular risk factors should theoretically lead to a reduced risk of heart disease over the long term.

Bottom Line: 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.

8. Coconut Oil Can Protect Hair Against Damage, Moisturize Skin and Function as Sunscreen

Cracked Coconut With Peels

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 (22).

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 (26).

Bottom Line: 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.

9. The Fatty Acids in Coconut Oil Can Boost Brain Function in Alzheimer’s Patients

Doctor With Thumbs Up

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 (31).

Bottom Line: 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.

10. Coconut Oil Can Help You Lose Fat, Especially The Harmful Abdominal Fat

A man who needs to lose weight

Given that 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 especially effective in reducing abdominal fat, which lodges in the abdominal cavity and around organs.

This is the most dangerous fat of all 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 a study in 40 women with abdominal obesity, supplementing with 30 mL (1 ounce) of coconut oil per day led to a significant reduction in both BMI and waist circumference in a period of 12 weeks (19).

Another study in 20 obese males 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.

This number may not seem too impressive on the surface, but be aware that these people aren’t adding exercise or restricting calories. They’re losing significant amounts of abdominal fat simply by adding coconut oil to their diet.

11. Anything Else?

In order to enjoy the health benefits outlined in the article, then you must get organic, virgin coconut oil… NOT the refined stuff.

I personally cook almost everything I eat in coconut oil and my health has never been better.

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This health news is shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs, a publisher of nutrition articles and supplier of effective natural remedies since 2002. Nutrition Breakthroughs makes the original calcium and magnesium based sleep aid Sleep Minerals II.

Article Source: https://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coconut-oil/

The Candida Diet: Studies Show Natural Food Remedies

What is Candida? It is one of the natural microscopic organisms that live in our intestines and mouth. Candida is a yeast-like fungus that has the role of helping to digest food. Normally the stomach has an abundance of healthy bacteria that keep Candida under control, but an overgrowth can take place if a person eats a lot of sugar or highly processed foods, takes birth control pills, drinks alcohol or takes antibiotics.

Researchers have been on the trail of natural options in order to provide people who have Candida overgrowth with some alternatives to antifungal drugs. In fact, studies have revealed several natural remedies. How can a person know if they have Candida overgrowth? Some of the signs and symptoms include trouble focusing, chronic fatigue, depression, insomnia, stomach gas, congestion, allergies, recurring yeast or urinary tract infections, headaches and joint pain.

One of the top proven remedies for Candida is Turmeric. Turmeric is frequently used in Asian dishes and curry powders and it gives these their bright yellow color.  Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric that provides its many health benefits. One research study on turmeric comes from the Canadian Journal of Microbiology.  The researchers found that turmeric is effective against fourteen different strains of Candida.

Probiotics such as the healthy bacteria found in yogurt, have been found to combat Candida.  Physiology is the study of the normal functions of living organisms and their parts. A leading journal of physiology reported that probiotic therapy is successful in treating fungal colonization of the intestinal tract.  More specifically, acidophilus heals fungal infection, as well as the accompanying stomach inflammation.

Coconut oil was proven in a recent animal study in Massachusetts to reduce the amount of Candida in the gut by more than 90%. The researches emphasized that antifungal drugs can be used to decrease and control Candida and prevent it from spreading to the bloodstream, but repeated use of antifungal drugs can lead to drug resistant-strains of fungal diseases. “Food can be a powerful ally in reducing the risk of disease,” said Alice Lichtenstein at Tufts University in Massachusetts.

Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine”, sums this up the best when he said: “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food”.

This natural health news is provided by Nutrition Breakthroughs, a publisher of nutrition articles and a supplier of effective natural remedies since 2002. Nutrition Breakthroughs makes the original calcium and magnesium based natural sleep aid Sleep Minerals II, as well as Joints and More, the natural solution for joint relief, aches and pains, stronger hair and nails, and more energy.

Candida DietShared by www.NutritionBreakthroughs.com

References:

1. Are probiotics effective in the treatment of fungal colonization of the gastrointestinal tract? Experimental and clinical studies.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17242486

2. Curcumin as a promising anticandidal of clinical interest. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21358761