Benefits Of Coconut Oil

For some time now, we have been warned to avoid coconut oil like the plague. We have been told that since it is loaded with saturated fat, that using it will clog our arteries and lead to our death. What they have not told us is that there is a difference between animal based saturated fat and coconut oil based saturated fat. The truth is that the saturated fat in coconut oil is actually good for us.

Coconut Oil Is Good For Us

The Malaysian and Polynesian cultures have used the coconut for centuries. In fact it is a staple in their diet. This is true also for the people in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. And researchers have found that their metabolic rate was an average of 25% higher than people in the U.S.

Researchers have found out many wonderful things about Coconut Oil. First of all, it contains nearly all of the essential nutrients that our body needs for optimal health. It also contains a whole host of amino acids such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese. It also contains vitamin C and vitamin B2. It is no wonder that these cultures are so healthy.

All Saturated Oils Are Not Equal

It is true that coconut oil is 90% saturated fat. However, the saturated fat in coconut oil is actually a medium-chain triglyceride. This means that this fat is much more easily digested than other fats and it is quickly metabolized, giving us a great source of energy.

In fact 45% of it is lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that converts in our body to monolaurin. Monolaurin is the actual compound found in breast milk that strengthens a baby’s immune system. Do you think that this would be healthy for us, as adults, as well?

Most saturated fats are stored in your body’s cells sitting around waiting to be burned up or stored as fat for later. However, coconut oil gets shipped directly to your liver, where it is put to work to help you get up and get going. In other words, it is directly converted into energy.

Benefits of Coconut Oil

According to researchers, coconut oil appears to be anti-just-about-everything.

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-pyretic (it reduces fever)
  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-bacterial

A pharmacological study of virgin coconut oil found that it reduced inflammation in rats. And what works in rats usually works in humans. Researchers concluded that coconut oil might be useful for treating bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

And according to a population study of about 2,500 people from the Polynesians islands of Tokelau and Pukapuka, high coconut oil intake has no effect on cholesterol levels.

Great Weight Benefits

Researchers have concluded that when we ingest coconut oil, our body uses it more quickly rather than storing it as body fat. You see, those medium-chain triglycerides are thermogenic. That is, they actually speed up our metabolism, thus burning more calories and giving us more energy.

Several different sources reported that farmers from the 1940’s wanted to fatten up their livestock, so they gave them coconut oil. However, the animals became leaner and more active. As noted earlier, this same result appeared in the study of people in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico.

An interesting study has come out of Brazil. This was a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study. They studied the effects of coconut oil on 40 women between the ages of 20 and 40 with clinical abdominal obesity (waist circumference of more than 88 cm (34.5 inches)). Half the group received a daily dose of either soybean oil or coconut oil.

At the end of 12 weeks those taking the coconut oil had a statistically greater loss of waist circumference and weight than those taking the soybean oil.

Using Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is also a great option for cooking due to its high smoking point (350 degrees for unrefined and 450 degrees for refined). So you can sauté and bake with coconut oil  and not worry about it turning into a trans-fat while you cook.

Also, coconut oil is very stable. It has a two-year shelf life and won’t turn rancid, even in warm temperatures.

To read a more thorough examination of coconut oil, go to Natural Health Sherpa.


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