Why is coconut oil a super food when it is a saturated fat?
You must be wondering how can a saturated fat be a super food, here are evidenced-based health benefits of coconut oil.
- Coconut Oil Contains Fatty Acids that are good for the Brain
The unique combination of fatty acids in coconut oil can have profound positive effects on health especially better brain function.
Coconut oil has the richest sources of saturated fat with almost 90% of the fatty acids in it being saturated. This kind of fat is harmless compared to the run-off-the-mill saturated fats like those in sheese and steak.
The saturated fat in coconut is harmless and cannot cause artery clogging for it contains Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) – which are fatty acids of a medium length which are metabolized differently. They are used as quick source of energy. They also turned into ketone bodies which has therapeutic effects on epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and other brain disorders.
Ketone bodies can supply energy for the brain and it can provide an alternative energy source for these malfunctioning cells and reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s. 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.
- It Can Reduce Seizures
The MCTs in coconut oil increases blood concentration of ketone bodies, which helps reduce seizures in epileptic children.
A so-called ketogenic diet, which involves eating very little carbohydrates and large amounts of fat, leads to increased concentrations of ketone bodies in the blood. These MCTs get shipped to the liver and turned into ketone bodies, they are often used in epileptic patients to induce ketosis while allowing for a bit more carbs in the diet.
This reduce the rate of seizures in epileptic children, even those who haven’t had success with multiple different types of drugs.
- Coconut Oil Can Help burn Fat
Obesity rate has been quite alarming. This is not just a matter of reckless calorie consumption, but also this is reflective of the sources of the calories that indivisuals consume.
Cocnut oil is a good source of calorie. The medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in it increases energy expenditure compared to the same amount of calories from longer chain fats.
A study shows that 15-30 grams of MCTs per day increased 24 hour energy expenditure by 5%, totalling about 120 calories per day.
Given that coconut oil can reduce appetite and increase fat burning, it makes sense that it can also help you lose weight.
- It Helps Get Rid of Abdominal Fat
In 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. Another study in 20 obese males noted a reduction in waist circumference of 2.86 cm (1.1 inches) after 4 weeks of 30 mL (1 ounce) of coconut oil per day (32).
Based on these studies, coconut oil appears to be especially effective in reducing abdominal fat, which lodges in the abdominal cavity and around organs. This is the most dangerous fat of all and is highly associated with many Western diseases.
Adding coconut oil in your diet is a good step in keeping your body from accumulating abdominal fat.
- It Helps Fight Against Harmful Microorganisms
If you are keeping your body away from pathogens, cocnut oil is best for you. Its fatty acids and breakdown products helps kill harmful pathogens, potentially helping to prevent infections.
Almost 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil is the 12-carbon Lauric Acid and it forms monolaurin when enzymatically digested. Both of these kills harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses and fungi. Examples are bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus, which is a dangerous pathogen, and the yeast Candida Albicans, a main culprit of yeast infections in humans
- It Makes You Eat Less
The ketone bodies in coconut oil can reduce hunger,. It has appetite reducing effect for their fatty acids are metabolized.
In one experiment, varying amounts of medium and long chain triglycerides were fed to 6 healthy men.The men eating the most MCTs ate 256 fewer calories per day, on average
On the other hand, they discovered that those who ate the most MCTs at breakfast ate significantly fewer calories at lunch .
This significant effect on reducing appetite positively affect body weight over the long term.
- Coconut Oil Can Improve Blood Cholesterol Levels
The saturated fat that the cocnut oil contains do not harm the blood lipid profile. this saturated raise HDL (good cholesterol) and change the LDL (bad cholesterol) to a benign subtype.
In one study in 40 women, coconut oil reduced Total and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL compared to soybean oil. Same results shows in rat studies that coconut oil reduces triglycerides, total and LDL cholesterol, increases HDL and improves blood coagulation factors and antioxidant status. And this will keep your healthy in the long term.
- It Protects Hair Against Damage, Moisturize Skin and Function as Natural Sunscreen
Coconut oil is an effective skin moisturizer and protection against hair damage. It can also be used as a mild form of sunscreen as well as mouthwash. It mproves the health and appearance of their skin and hair.
It increases the moisture and lipid content of the skin and blocks about 20% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. It can be used as mouthwash for it kills some of the harmful bacteria in the mouth, improve dental health and reduce bad breath.
- It makes people healthy
Coconut is kind of an “exotic” food which has been dietary staple that people have thrived on for many generations in the Western part of the world.
The best example of such a population is the Tokelauans, which live in the South Pacific and Kitavans. They eat over 60% of their calories from coconuts and are the biggest consumers of saturated fat in the world and it shows that they are in in excellent health, with no evidence of heart disease .
To add, coconut oil may help protect against cancer, provide the body with antioxidants to fight degenerative diseases, help regulate hormones, relive the symptoms of chronic fatigue, strengthen the liver, regulate thyroid function, and boost your immunity.
So, “super food” is well-deserved title for coconut oil.