Coconut Oil – The Good Fat

When I was a kid my grandmother developed heart disease. The oil of choice health experts advised was safflower oil. As a young adult I witness the trend move toward olive oil. Now it seems coconut oil is the one with super-powers. It is a “good” fat. I have used coconut oil in a variety of ways but never really knew just how beneficial it was.

Medicinal – Ninety percent of the fatty acids within coconut oil are saturated. This seems to go against conventional knowledge that claims that saturated fats are the “bad” fats. However, new data suggests that saturated fats are really not all that bad. And the saturated fats of coconut oil are different than the saturated fats found in dairy or meat products.

Coconut oil saturated fats are classified as MCTs (medium chain triglycerides). These fats travel directly to the liver where they are metabolized into energy or converted into ketones. Ketones are beneficial to the brain, especially for people who suffer from epilepsy or Alzheimer’s.

Healthy Populations – As a staple among many indigenous populations, research among these people concludes that they are some of the healthiest where heart disease is concerned. With coconut oil, meat and water as a part of their daily dietary regimen, the evidence points to the fact that it is a healthy saturated fat. For many indigenous people, such as the Tokelauans of the South Pacific region, coconut products comprise more than sixty percent of their caloric intake yet they are virtually heart disease free. So, enjoy liberal use of coconut oil in place of whichever cooking oil you have previously used.

Energy Efficient – Caloric intake is for the purpose of fueling the body with calories to burn. Some calories are more energy efficient than others. That means that the source of a calorie matters. Medium-chain triglycerides based calories, such as are found in coconut oil, are easier for the body to use than long-chain triglyceride based calories found in products such as soybean or safflower oil. Studies found that a person can improve their body’s energy efficiency at burning calories by about five percent by switching to medium-chain triglyceride coconut oil. That translates to burning about 100 more calories daily.

Pathogen Destroyer – Coconut oil contains high levels of lauric acid which is proven to destroy viruses, fungi, and bacteria that cause infections. When coconut oil is digested it creates the monoglyceride monolaurin which can also destroy the same pathogens as lauric acid. Common infections that can be successfully treated or prevented by lauric acid and monolaurin: candida yeast infections and staphylococcus infections.

Appetite Control – A common side effect of using coconut oil is the feeling of satisfaction.  As the fatty acids metabolize, producing ketones, ketones then cause the body to no longer feel hungry. Dietary studies reflect that people who eat foods prepared with coconut oil, on average, consume about 250 fewer calories. Combined with the energy efficiency of burning calories, long-term, consistent use of coconut oil can result in significant weight loss and should become part of anyone’s weight management program.

Ketone Benefit – Ketogenic diets are generally low in carbohydrates and very high in fat. As a therapeutic diet, ketogenic diets have been proven to reduce the incidence of seizures in epileptics. Ketone levels elevate resulting in concentrations of ketones in the bloodstream. Coconut oil can contribute to these therapeutic benefits. Medium-chain triglycerides go directly to the liver where they are converted to ketones. Ketones also benefit Alzheimer’s patients by increasing the energy supply for the brain. This is a beneficial counter to Alzheimer’s effect of reducing the ability of patients to use glucose based energy in their brain function.

Cholesterol Control – In a women’s health study, comparing the use of coconut oil with soybean oil, coconut oil users reduced their overall cholesterol levels and LDL cholesterol, which is the “bad” cholesterol. At the same time HDL levels (“good” cholesterol) were raised. A similar study among laboratory rats had almost identical results. Use of coconut oil can reduce heart disease risk.

External Benefits – A person doesn’t have to consume coconut oil to benefit from it. Hair, skin, teeth and nails can all enjoy healthy, cosmetic benefits from coconut oil. Opt for natural coconut oil as an emollient to moisturize dry skin.  Massage a small amount into hair once dry after cleansing to moisturize. The coconut oil will also create a protective barrier on the hair shaft that will effectively block about twenty percent of ultraviolet solar rays. When used as a mouth wash dental health is improved with a natural mouthwash that kills harmful bacteria.

Flatter, Healthier Gut – As use of coconut oil improves energy efficiency for the body to burn calories and naturally reduces appetite, natural, gradual weight loss occurs. Eventually this will lead to a reduction of abdominal fat within the abdominal cavity as well as what has collected around other organs. In the previous women’s study mentioned, the users of coconut oil enjoyed a significant reduction of their waist measurement at the end of a twelve week period using one ounce of coconut oil daily. A study of men using one ounce of coconut oil daily for a period of four weeks concluded that, on average, their waist measurements were reduced by almost three inches. These BMI (body mass index) losses are significant when considering that the subjects of the studies were not adjusting their caloric intake or incorporating an exercise regimen. The loss was only because of the use of coconut oil.  Regular coconut oil consumption will lead to a flatter, healthier gut.