The Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is one of the few foods that can be classified as a “superfood.” To date, there are over 1,500 studies proving it to be one of the healthiest foods on the planet. The benefits and uses go beyond what most people realize. Its unique combination of fatty acids can have profound positive effects on health .
Research has finally uncovered the secrets to this amazing fruit; namely healthy fats called medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), these unique fats include Caprylic, Lauric and Capric acid. Here are the top health benefits of coconut oil that have been experimentally confirmed in human studies:
It can Increase Your Energy Expenditure, Helping You Burn More Fat
Obesity is currently one of the biggest health problems in the world. While some people think obesity is only a matter of calories, others 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 [2,3,4].
The Lauric Acid in Coconut Oil Can Kill Bacteria, Viruses and Fungi, Helping to Stave Off Infections
Almost 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil is the 12-carbon Lauric Acid. When coconut oil is enzymatically digested, it also forms a monoglyceride called monolaurin. Both lauric acid and monolaurin can kill harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses and fungi [2,5]
It can Improve Blood Cholesterol Levels and May Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease
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 cholesterol to a benign subtype [2,6]. In one study that involved 40 women, coconut oil reduced Total and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL compared to soybean oil .
Coconut Oil Can Help You Lose Fat, Especially the Dangerous Fat in Your Abdominal Cavity
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. 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 .
- Am J Clin Nutr 1991 53: 5 1130-3
- Am J Clin Nutr 1986 44: 5 630-4
- Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1972 2:1 23–28
- Am J Clin Nutr 1998 67:5 828-836
- Lipids 2009 44:7 593-601