Coconut oil has gotten a bad rap in the past, mostly due to its saturated fat content being at a whopping 90% of it’s total fat. But, more recent studies have shown that saturated fats are actually harmless, and that eating “good” saturated fats, like in avocados, olive oil, nuts, grass fed butter, and organic dark chocolate, can actually have positive effects on your health.
What Makes Coconut Oil Healthy?
One of the main reasons why coconut oil is so healthy is due to the Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs), which some studies have shown to help with weight loss and promote energy. Because MCTs are metabolized differently than the long-chain fatty acids found in most foods, they bypass the digestive process and go straight to the liver where they are used as a quick energy source.
Studies have also shown that eating coconut oil on a daily basis can help treat disorders such as epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease. It can also raise your “good” cholesterol (HDL) to help balance out any of the “bad” cholesterol (LDL), which I found out for myself when I had my annual checkup at the doctor. While my LDL was a bit on the high side from family genetics, my HDL was super high, meaning I had way more of the good stuff than the bad.
Here are just some of the amazing health benefits of coconut oil:
1. Helps With Weight Loss
The MCTs, or Medium Chain Triglycerides in coconut oil can increase your body’s energy expenditure which can burn more calories per day, resulting in weight loss over time. Coconut oil can also reduce your appetite and make you feel full because of the way the MCTs are metabolized in our body. Studies have shown that people who consume more MCTs in the morning and throughout the day consumed less calories overall.
2. Is A Natural Anti-Bacterial
Coconut oil contains almost 50% of the medium chain triglyceride Lauric Acid, which can kill off harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi. The substances found in coconut oil have also been found to kill off the very dangerous Staphylococcus Aureus pathogen (Staph Infection), and also Candida, the cause of most yeast infections.
3. Can Reduce Seizures
A diet known as the “ketogenic diet”, one that I personally follow, is currently being studied for its treatment of various disorders. It was found that a ketogenic diet – where you eat very little carbohydrates and lots of healthy fats – has a profound effect on treating seizures in children. Because the MCTs in coconut oil get sent straight to the liver, they turn into ketones which have been shown to reduce seizures and epilepsy in children who don’t respond well to medication.
4. Improves Digestion
Since coconut oil has anti-bacterial properties, it has been found to improve and even alleviate some digestive issues such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), diarrhea, and indigestion. It can also help the body’s absorption of vitamins, amino acids, and minerals.
5. Helps Repair Skin Issues
I personally suffer from psoriasis on my scalp from time to time, and I’ve found that massaging coconut oil onto my scalp not only moisturizes and soothes it, but helps it to heal quicker. It is an excellent skin moisturizer for even the driest skin, and helps treat conditions like psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, and aging skin by delaying the appearance of wrinkles.
6. Works As An Effective Sunscreen
Coconut oil has been shown to block about 20% of the suns UV rays, which makes it a very natural alternative to some of the harmful chemicals in conventional sunscreen.
7. Boosts Your Immune System
Coconut oil contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, caprylic acid, and capric acid which all have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties. When you ingest coconut oil, your body converts the lauric acid into monolaurin, which is an effective way to help fight off many different diseases and viruses. Eating coconut oil daily will help boost your immune system allowing you to fight off common infections.
8. Lowers Your Risk Of Heart Disease
Contrary to past belief, coconut oil’s high saturated fat content will actually raise your HDL (good) and help change the LDL (bad) to a more benign subtype. It’s also loaded with antioxidants which have also been shown to be beneficial in cardiovascular health.
9. Helps Improve Oral Health
Coconut oil has been used for centuries as a natural mouthwash in a ritual called “oil pulling”. Oil pulling is where you take a spoonful of vegetable based oil and swish it around in your mouth to pull the toxins and bacteria from your teeth and gums. Because of the natural antiseptic and anti-bacterial qualities of coconut oil, it makes a very effective mouthwash.
10. Can Combat Alzheimer’s Disease
Studies have shown that Alzheimer’s patients have a reduced ability to use glucose for energy in the brain, which is thought to be the cause of the disease leading to dementia. Coconut oil is full of MCTs which the body turns into ketones and uses for fuel, and researchers speculate this provides an alternative energy source for malfunctioning brain cells to reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Studies are being done on the therapeutic qualities of ketones for the treatment of Alzheimer’s.
How Can I Use Coconut Oil In My Daily Routine?
Now that you know just some of the health benefits to coconut oil, you may be asking how to incorporate it into your life. If you plan on consuming coconut oil, choose an organic extra virgin coconut oil. The one I personally use is the Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil because it’s cold-pressed and has a really mild coconut flavor and aroma.
Here are a few ways to add coconut oil into your life:
- Add a tablespoon of coconut oil into a blender with a cup of brewed coffee. Blend until frothy and add milk, or drink on it’s own for a rich coffee drink. (I drink this every morning and it helps control my appetite for hours. Plus, it’s delicious!)
- Use to cook your vegetables or meat with. It has a high smoke point and is a great alternative to butter for the dairy intolerant.
- Add a few dabs of coconut oil to your hands or face for the smoothest skin ever. It really leaves your skin soft, supple, and very moisturized.
- Use as an ingredient for homemade natural deodorant.
- Use as a natural sunscreen and avoid burning.
- Add as an ingredient in making your own homemade remineralizing toothpaste.
- Use a small dab of coconut oil to the ends of dry hair to instantly smooth.
- Massage onto scalp to help relieve dandruff, psoriasis, dermatitis, or dryness.
- Rub a bit on your lips for a natural chapstick.
An Additional Coconut Oil Resource
If you would like to learn more about the many other benefits of coconut oil that aren’t listed here in my article, check out a great book by Dr. Bruce Fife called “The Coconut Oil Miracle“. It has a ton of great science based information on the benefits of coconut oil along with recipes on how to use it.
Do you use coconut oil in your life? How do you use it? Share your favorite uses with us below!