Coconut oil is high in natural saturated fats. Saturated fats not only increase the healthy cholesterol (known as HDL) in your body, but also help to convert the LDL “bad” cholesterol into good cholesterols. By Increasing the HDL’s in the body, it helps promote heart health, and lower the risk of heart disease.
Coconut oil is one of the few foods that can be classified as a “superfood.” Its benefits include weight loss, better brain function, skin health and many more.
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Coconut oil has been a dietary and beauty staple for millennia. It’s a powerful destroyer of all kinds of microbes, from viruses to bacteria to protozoa, many of which can be harmful, and provides your body with high-quality fat that is critical for optimal health.
Around 50 percent of the fat in coconut oil is lauric acid, which is rarely found in nature. In fact, coconut oil contains the most lauric acid of any substance on Earth.
Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, a monoglyceride that has shown to be somewhat effective in combating antibiotic-resistant staphylococcus and streptococcus.
Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
It also has antifungal and virucidal effects against certain viruses such as HIV and herpes, influenza, measles, gram-negative bacteria, and protozoa such as giardia lamblia.
This is undoubtedly part of what makes it so medicinally useful—both when taken internally and applied externally.
1. Medium Chain Triglycerides Improve Brain Function
MCTs are fatty acids that go straight from the liver to the digestive tract where they are turned into ketones, which supply energy for brain cells. A 2006 study found that the consumption of these MCTs caused immediate brain function improvement in patients with mild forms of Alzheimer’s. Because they’ve repeatedly shown to relieve symptoms since, medium chain triglycerides are being intensively studied as a potential therapy. Even if you don’t suffer from Alzheimer’s, coconut oil has been shown to improve memory.
2. Prevents Heart Disease And High Blood Pressure
Since coconut oil is 90% natural saturated fats, it helps increase the amount of healthy cholesterol (HDL) in your body while converting the bad kind (LDL) into good cholesterol. Increasing your HDL levels promotes heart health and lowers the risk of heart disease.
3. Heals Urinary Tracts and Kidney Infections
Coconut oil can be used as a natural antibiotic to treat UTIs and kidney infections. The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil interfere with the lipid coating of bacteria, killing them.
4. Improves Type II Diabetes and Prevent Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistant cells no longer take in glucose and are a precursor to Type II diabetes.
When these cells are present the pancreas tries to compensate with increased insulin production, creating a surplus, but the fatty acids in coconut oil balance the cell’s insulin reactions and offer a consistent source of energy that doesn’t depend on glucose reactions.
5. Treats Inflammation and Arthritis
The high levels of antioxidants in cold-pressed coconut oil have been found to reduce inflammation and heal arthritis more effectively than some leading medications.
6. Improves Osteoporosis
Coconut oil increases the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and minerals, including calcium. Research surrounding coconut oil and osteoporosis has found that consumption of the oil can increase bone volume while antioxidants fight the free radicals that contribute to this debilitating disease.
7. Reduces The Risk of Seizures
Remember those ketones I mentioned earlier? They’re also used to treat drug-resistant epilepsy. By eating a diet low in carbohydrates but high in fat, ketone concentrations in the blood can be dramatically increased.
Researchers have found that this ketogenic diet greatly reduced the occurrence of seizures in epileptic children.
8. Prevents and Treats Cancer
The cancer benefits of coconut oil are twofold. The energy contained in ketones can’t be accessed by tumor cells, so a ketogenic diet is a possible treatment component for cancer patients. The MCTs also kill helicobacter pylori, a bacteria that increases the risk of stomach cancer. In studies where cancer was chemically created, the use of coconut oil prevented it from developing.
9. Helps Balance Hormones
The lauric acid in coconut oil helps maintain hormone balance and a 2012 study found that the consumption of coconut oil during menopause had a positive effect on estrogen levels.
10. Supports Oral Health
The antibacterial properties of the MCTs make oil pulling more than a natural way to whiten your teeth. The oil lifts bacteria from your mouth’s surfaces. Removing this bacteria reduces your risk of gum and dental disease.
11. Improves Digestion
Coconut oil heightens your body’s ability to absorb fat-soluble vitamins like calcium and magnesium. It also keep your digestive tract healthy by destroying harmful bacteria and candida, a yeast-like parasitic fungus.
An overgrowth of candida in the gut can lead to it being absorbed into the blood stream where it causes everything from constipation and bloating to fungal infections and eczema.
12. Kills Bacteria
We’ve talked about how consuming coconut oil can prevent infection due to its antibacterial properties but it can also be used topically. Since it’s anti-fungal, coconut oil can be used for diaper rash, vaginal yeast infections and fungal infections of the skin.