Discover the Benefits of Coconut Oil
We know the earth provides foods that are rich in minerals, vitamins and healthy fats. The benefits of coconut oil come from the Coconut Palm tree’s kernel or meat. The Coconut Palm is many times referred to as “The Tree of Life”. When harvested, the benefit of coconut oil is it is pure with no chemical additives, chemical processing and is not chemically altered.
Coconut oil is a healthy fat made by nature. This healing oil has been extracted and used in tropical climates for years and highly valued for its versatility and for its power to heal. Following is an example that provides compelling proof of the benefits of coconut oil:
Unfortunately, around the late 1940’s, the US proclaimed that hydrogenated fats were healthy fats. This proclamation spread to some areas of the tropics and was believed. Coconut oil was replaced as were the coconut oil benefits: those who changed to these man-made fats lost the benefits of coconut oil and its protection from disease. It took both time and the emergence of disease to prove that replacing this amazing and powerful natural healthy fat with a man-made fat was a mistake.(1)
What is Coconut Oil?
Research Is Powerful: In our Western Culture, for years’ coconut oil was believed to be an unhealthy or bad fat. Because it is approximately 90% a saturated fat, this led to the thinking that there were no health benefits of coconut oil and that it contributed to heart disease, obesity, cancer, diabetes and many other diseases. The truth is, coconut oil’s saturated fats consist of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) which are a coconut oil benefit. (50% of its fat is Lauric Acid which is also found only in breast milk.) Coconut oil is sometimes referred to as a “super food” because of its high amounts of healthy fat. What a difference research and knowledge can make!
Understand the Research: Now we know that a coconut oil benefit is that it is a healthy fat and is mostly Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) which provide many healing qualities. Conversely, there are also Long Chain Triglycerides (LCTs) which don’t work in the body the same as MCTs as their composition is different. Unfortunately, Americans generally consume a lot of LCTs. These are digested but are not absorbed until our bodies can break them down and many times they become fat stored in our bodies. LCTs do not have the same supportive health properties as MCFAs.(2) Here’s the difference: MCTs, when ingested, go directly from our digestive system to our liver where they are metabolized and provide an immediate energy boost.
How Coconut Oil Breakdowns In Your Body
When we consume these MCTs, our bodies then break down the fats from our food into fatty acids called Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFAs). They are easily digested and converted into energy for our muscles and organs. A coconut oil benefit is that it is not stored as fat like other oils. Another benefit of coconut, specifically Lauric Acid, is that although it can increase serum cholesterol, it increases HDL, not LDL.(3)Like LCTs, most fats go through many steps to be processed while MCFAs only go through 3 steps. This means your body is not using its enzymes and bile for MCT digestion.
Therefore, a benefit of coconut oil is it is almost immediately used as fuel for our bodies and not as stored as fat…in truth, it will actually help your body burn fat. It also has antimicrobial properties for disease prevention and oral cleansing, to improve the immune system, brain functions, and heart health. It supports both healthy skin and hair and can be used for homemade products and many remedies.
Researching The Benefits Of Coconut Oil
Say: “Hello, Healthy Fat!!”, as it regulates our body’s cells and is the foundation of our cell membranes. As mentioned earlier, coconut oil has been nutritionally categorized as a “superfood”. A benefit of coconut oil is that most of its composition is Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs), also called Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFAs), and it has special “powers”. It is versatile as it can be consumed or topically applied. The amazing coconut oil benefits will surprise you. MCFAs are digested and then go on their way to be quickly metabolized by your liver as a great source of quick energy. As you can see, science and research support the many benefits of coconut oil. MCFAs include:
- Lauric Acid: has antimicrobial properties and it is helpful to the immune system–it also is the enemy of viruses, bacteria and fungus
- Caprylic Acid: fights bacteria, fungus and viruses and supports the immune system
- Capric Acid: fights bacteria, fungus and viruses and supports the immune system(4)
Coconut oil’s benefits are obviously validated in research and experience. Yes, your body needs fat daily…healthy fat. Coconut oil is a healthy fat that I love and encourage you to easily include in your daily nutrition and routine: for cooking, in smoothies, as a coffee creamer, for hair and skin care or for its antimicrobial/fungal qualities. It can help protect the immune system, increase metabolism, energy production and more.
Benefits of Coconut Oil
Here are some of coconut oil’s many benefits.
- Energy: It increases energy, especially when compared to other foods. It’s MCFAs are easily digested and quickly available for energy. Your metabolism is affected and you more efficiently burn this fat for maximum sustained energy output. A great boost for your exercise and daily routine.
- Digestion: It helps in digestion as the body doesn’t need a lot of energy to processes it. Your liver processes it so your digestive system is not busy producing a lot of bile and enzymes to do all of the work… because the liver is not releasing a lot of bile, even if you do not have a gall bladder, it transforms into ketones to be used as another source of energy.
- Inflammation: Ketones also aid in preventing gut infections and inflammation. Every form of fuel has to find its way to the cell mitochondria (the cell’s powerhouse) where energy is made. In fact, when the mitochondria burn coconut oil, it produces the least amount of free radicals. On top of all the other benefits of coconut oil, it is a powerful antioxidant and effective anti-inflammatory. It can down-regulate inflammatory gene expression.(5)
- Immune System: Yeast and Candida are very common today. Candida develops from high carbohydrate and sugar-laden diets. An additional coconut oil benefit is that bad bacteria and Candida fear it, especially because of the MCTs. Other contributing negative factors to weak immune systems are the overuse of antibiotics, alcohol, chronic stress, lack of sleep and low oxygen levels. The properties of coconut oil benefits positively impact your body’s immune system to help minimize these negative effects. Lauric, Caprylic and Capric Acids are the mighty fats wielding their superpower to protect your body.(7)
My Favorite Benefits Of Coconut Oil
- Brain Function/Mental Clarity: Coconut oil turns into Ketones that can help save and promote brain function and mental clarity. They are produced when MCTs metabolize. Ketones are energy molecules that can be used by the brain. The brain can work 25% better on healthy fat. It uses fat that is easily absorbed and produces less free radicals than a molecule of carbohydrate or protein. This can help with mental clarity and reduce brain fog. Thus, coconut oil benefits your brain as it signals your body to function and your mind to process.(8)
- Hormone Balance and Production: Increasing HDL helps hormone balance and production and has a positive effect on estrogen, all while lowering cholesterol and helping with metabolism. Research shows as many as 80% of Americans have a suboptimal thyroid. Another coconut oil benefit is that it doesn’t raise blood sugar as much as some other foods. Coconut oil helps keep insulin and blood sugar within normal ranges as it helps improve insulin resistance.(9)
- Anti-Aging: Coconut oil can help minimize free radical damage, thus, keeping inflammation down and preventing you from aging too fast. It increases collagen production and helps detox the liver to reduce the effects of aging. Also, antioxidant levels are higher and antioxidants play a key role in anti-aging.(6) The coconut oil benefit of increasing collagen production helps skin stay softer and more supple.
- Heart Health: Coconut oil can help lower LDL and help you avoid any of the statin drugs on the market. It can help you heal and may help you stay away from the nutrient-depleting prescriptions for high cholesterol. It can help prevent blood clots and provide a healthier environment for your heart.
Useful Tips for Using Coconut Oil
- Food: Use in your smoothies, cooking (has a higher smoke point), baking and use in place of other fats in food preparation and consumption. It’s a replacement for cream in your coffee and can be used to make mayonnaise. It is solid at room temperature and softens and becomes liquid as warmed.
- Skin and Hair: This is a great skin and hair conditioner. It blends well for homemade remedies for sun protection/aftercare, baths, conditioning and strengthening hair, great for makeup removal and for blending with essential oils for massage and comfort. It can be used to make baby lotion, to help whiten teeth and for cleansing your mouth of bacteria.
- Household Uses and Cleaners: You can make your own bug repellents, soaps, and cleaners and add it to your dog treats recipe.
Types of Coconut Oil (don’t forget RAW is the best to eat)
– Raw: It is not denatured or heated–best to eat in smoothies, for example, and for hair and skin, not cooking.
– Centrifuge Extracted Organic: It has not been chemically treated, no GMO and has not been altered or refined. It is made from fresh coconuts and then gently expeller pressed and not heated over 104 degrees F or 40C.
– Extra Virgin: There is some loss of antioxidants from the cold press process, but still an excellent oil.
– Refined: This oil has been through heating and/or a chemical process and has lost many of the benefits of coconut oil.