7 Interesting Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Ah coconuts! That delightful, exotic and fragrant fruit, reminiscent of endless sandy beaches and idyllic tropical islands. The coconut has recently be thrust back into the spotlight, for reasons other than its alluring scent and delicious taste. The health scene is abuzz about the fantastic natural healing properties of coconut oil, and with good reason too! Here are some of the most promising benefits of coconut oil, giving you ample reason to include this golden elixir into your diet.

1-Managing Type II Diabetes

A recent study by the Garvan Institute of Medical Research found that coconut oil protects against insulin resistance, thereby reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes, since the fats present in the oil are small enough to be absorbed into the cells and where they are quickly converted to energy. This process reduces the amount of fat packed into storage, while also improving insulin sensitivity.Coconut oil helps controlblood sugar, improves insulin secretion and promotes the effective utilization of blood glucose, thereby preventing and treating diabetes.

2-Boosting Brain Function in Alzheimer’s Patients

Studies have found that the fatty acids in coconut oil can increase blood levels of ketone bodies, supplying energy for the brain cells of Alzheimer’s patients and relieving symptoms.Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia worldwide and occurs primarily in the elderly. The disease reduces the body’s ability to use glucose for energy in certain parts of the brain. The MCTs found in coconut oil can provide an alternative energy source for these malfunctioning cells, thereby reducing symptoms of the milder forms of the disease.

3-Burning Fat with Coconut Oil

With obesityranking as one of the major worldwide health crises in the world, the fat-burning properties of coconut oil have come to prominence, lately. Traditionally, obesity was considered in terms of excess consumptions of calories, with calories in less calories out being the most common approach to weight loss. However, recent developments are prompting a reframing of this simplistic approach, with many taking into account the source of calories consumed, since different foods affect the body and the hormones produced, differently. Therefore, a calorie is no longer just a calorie. And here’s where the medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) of coconut oil enter the picture, since these can increase energy expenditure(calories burnt) compared to the same amount of calories from longer chain fats.One study found that 15-30 grams of MCTs per day increased 24 hour energy expenditure by 5%, totalling about 120 calories per day

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4- Supporting The Immune System

Coconut oil is composed of healthy fats,lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid which contain antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral properties, which boost the immune system. The body converts the high percentage of fatty acids contained in coconut oil into monolaurin which is thought to help heal viruses such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, helicobacter pylori and candida.  In addition, when coconut oil is enzymatically digested, it can kill harmful pathogens like bacteria

5- Giving Your Metabolism a Good Boost

If you want to lose weight, make the most of the calories you ingest, and boost your immune system you want a fast and efficient metabolism. Well, coconut oil can really help you reach your health goals, by enhancing your metabolism, according to a recent study reported in the Journal of Nutrition. Researchers found that participants who consumed two tablespoons of coconut oil per day burned more kilojoules than those who consumed less.

6- A Nutty Beauty Regime: Protecting Hair, Skin and Nails

Coconut oil can serve various purposes, outside of the kitchen and culinary uses. The beauty industry is raving about it, with many people using coconut oil for cosmetic purposes, particularly when it comes to improving the health and appearance of their skin, hair and nails. Studies have proven that coconut oil can improve the moisture and lipid content of dry skin. It has also been shown to protect against hair damage. It is also effective as a sunscreen, blocking about 20% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Another application for this natural cure-all, is in oil pulling, where coconut oil is used like mouthwash, killing harmful bacteria in the mouth, improving dental health and reducing bad breath.

7-Improving Blood Cholesterol Levels

Studies in both humans and rats show that coconut oil improves important risk factors like Total, LDL and HDL cholesterol, which may translate into a reduced risk of heart disease. Coconut oil is loaded with saturated fats, which actually raise HDL (the good) cholesterol and change the LDL cholesterol to a benign subtype. One study showed a reduction of Total and LDL cholesterol and an increase in HDL, in subjects who used coconut oil, when compared to those using soybean oil. Studies on rats have also proven that coconut oil reduces triglycerides, total and LDL cholesterol, increases HDL and improves blood coagulation factors and antioxidant status.This cardiovascular improvement in should lead to reduced long-term risks of heart disease.

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