Of all of the ‘super foods’ on the market, coconut oil may just be the reigning champion of them all with an endless list of benefits. Organic virgin coconut oil has positive effects for every system in the human body, many of which have been tested and confirmed by scientific research. From skin care and weight loss to hormone balance and mental accuity, here we take a look at the top ten incredible benefits of coconut oil.
1. Increased Energy
Unlike most other saturated fats, coconut oil is built primarily of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). These fats metabolize much differently than their long-chain cousins which are found in abundance in meat and dairy products. Digested MCTs are not stored as fat in the human body. Instead, they are transported directly to the liver where they are quickly converted into energy.
Consuming approximately two tablespoons of coconut oil every morning has been shown to increase energy levels by an average 5% in a twenty-four hour period!
2. Fight Infection
Medium-chain triglyceride lauric acid makes up about 50% of the total fatty acid content of coconut oil and is the main ingredient that makes this oil so amazing. Amongst all of its other myriad of health benefits, lauric acid is a powerful anti-microbial, killing viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and fungi by dissolving their cellular walls. Adding a daily serving or two of coconut oil to your diet can increase your body’s resistance to illness, improve digestive health, and even help to heal ulcers of the stomach lining.
3. Normalize Brain Function
When digested, MCTs travel directly to the liver where they are synthesized into keytone bodies. These chemical compounds have a positive effect on several brain disorders, most notably – epilepsy & Alzheimer’s (the most common form of dementia.) High concentrations of keytone bodies in the blood have been shown to reduce seizures in children with drug-resistant epilepsy. Keytone bodies also provide an alternate source of energy for cells in the brain which have lost the ability to process glucose, one of the main causes of Alzheimer’s.
4. Decrease Hunger
Keytone bodies formed by MCTs have the added benefit of reducing hunger and cravings. When eaten every day, a serving or two of coconut oil is a proven effective tool to help you feel full faster, avoid overeating, and snack less between meals.
5. Weight Loss
Daily consumption of coconut oil has been shown to help with weight loss, particularly around the midsection. By regulating appetite and improving digestion, coconut oil can make it much easier to reduce your daily caloric intake and lose weight at a healthy rate (around one to two pounds per week.) Because it is a natural mood enhancer, coconut oil may help you to feel more motivated and energetic which can also assist with weight loss. Coconut oil aids in balancing hormones that reduce stress and anxiety – two of the leading causes of excessive belly fat.
Just remember that coconut oil is high in calories. Limit your intake to one or two tablespoons per day so as not to unwittingly sabotage your weight-loss efforts.
To learn more about how coconut oil helps with weight loss, have a read of this article.
6. Reduce Risk of Heart Disease
Disregard the old myth that all saturated fats are bad for you and a leading cause of heart disease. Coconut oil has been shown to improve overall cholesterol by simultaneously increasing HDL (good) and lowering LDL (bad) levels. It does this by helping the body to convert cholesterol in the blood stream into a usable form, thusreducing plaque build-up in arteries. MCTs in coconut oil may also work to reduce triglycerides, improve blood coagulation, and perform antioxidant functions in the blood stream, further diminishing the risk of heart disease.
7. Skin Health / Anti-Aging
Full of antioxidant vitamin E, coconut oil is a wonderful natural moisturizer that can help to heal damaged skin, reduce signs of aging, strengthen the epidermis against cellulite, fade stretch marks, and eliminate keratosis pilaris. Coconut oil offers natural protection from harmful UV radiation. It can even be used to prevent or heal microbial and fungal skin infections such as those that cause or exacerbate cracked heels and acne. Apply organic virgin coconut oil directly to skin for a soothing therapuetic experience that also smells fantastic.
8. Hair Health
Just as it does for skin, coconut oil can also protect hair from sun damage and dehydration. Massage organic virgin coconut oil into scalp and work through hair before visiting the beach or swimming pool to shield skin and hair from harmful UV radiation and chemicals, and to seal in moisture. When used regularly, coconut oil can also work to reduce or eliminate dandruff and other scalp irritations. Remember, with coconut oil a little bit goes a long way. Use about a tablespoon at a time until you get a feel for exactly how much you will need to moisturize your scalp and hair.
To learn more about how coconut oil can benefit your hair, read this article.
9. Better Nutrient Absorption
When ingested, coconut oil helps the digestive tract to better absorb fat-soluable vitamins A, D, E, and K. If you take supplements for these nutrients, consider washing them down with a tablespoon of organic virgin coconut oil. If the idea of swallowing a spoonful of oil makes you cringe, try using coconut oil in place of olive oil or butter when cooking or dressing your vitamin-rich veggies. The unique flavor pairs well with many leafy greens and because of coconut oil’s medium-chain structure, it won’t break down when exposed to heat. Coconut oil also makes a delicious addition to baked foods, smoothies, and desserts.
10. Stabilize Thyroid and Blood-sugar
MCTs in coconut oil assist in the conversion of cholesterol into pregnenolone – one of the building blocks for synthesis of human hormones such as those responsible for healthy thyroid function. A daily serving of coconut oil can also help the body to use insulin more efficiently and stabilize blood-sugar levels.