Coconut oil has long been regarded as unhealthy oil due to its high saturated fat content. Saturated fat is known to lead to high cholesterol levels, atherosclerosis, and increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Many studies are finding out that coconut oil can have health benefits over the use of other oils.
Coconut oil is made up of mostly saturated fats, that is a fact. However, the saturated fat in coconuts is not as bad for you as other saturated fats found in foods such as meats, dairy products, and many other plant-based oils. This is because both saturated and unsaturated fats can also be distinguished by their size. Most fats, both saturated and unsaturated, are larger, called long chain fatty acids. These fats are harder for the body to break down and use as fuel, or energy.
Coconut oil, however, is mostly made up of saturated fats that are called medium chain fatty acids. These fats are more readily broken down by the body to be used as energy. As such, these medium chain fatty acids do not have negative effects on cholesterol, the digestive system, or on metabolism. They are not typically stored as fat in the body either, when used in moderation. Coconut oil also has unsaturated fats linoleic acid, an omega-6 essential fatty acid, and oleic acid, an omega-9 essential fatty acid, that are both beneficial to health and the body.
Coconut oil can raise levels of good cholesterol. This increases the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol in the body making for a healthier ratio and balance of the two. Coconut oil can also lower total cholesterol levels by aiding in the breakdown and use of cholesterol by the body. This makes coconut oil a healthy oil to use to prevent high cholesterol.
Coconut oil can kill viruses, bacteria, and fungus. It has been shown to fight bacteria in the digestive tract that can lead to ulcers or other digestive issues. Coconut oil has been shown to kill certain flu viruses as well. This oil can also fight some types of fungus and yeast infections as well. Not only that, but coconut oil can help rid the body of certain parasitic infections, including tapeworm. This is due to coconut oil’s high content of the saturated fat called lauric acid.
Coconut oil can help with weight loss. Fats can help people feel fuller for longer, causing them to eat less. However, most fats are high in calories. Not coconut oil. The fats in coconut oil are actually lower in calories than other fats, perhaps because of their medium chain fatty acid composition. People who use coconut oil in place of some other oils also notice a loss of abdominal fat, which is very hard to lose. Thus, those who added coconut oil to their diet felt fuller for longer, ate less total calories, lost weight, and lost fat, including stubborn belly fat.
Coconut oil also raises the metabolism. Fat is harder for the body to break down than carbohydrates or even proteins. However, most fat cannot be broken down by the body all the way because it is long chain fatty acids. Since coconut oil is composed mainly of medium chain fatty acids, the body can more easily break it down, but it still takes time to do so. This keeps the metabolism working harder, which makes the body burn more calories overall for the course of the day. This helps not only in weight loss, but in a proper insulin balance which can help keep blood sugar levels under control. This can help reduce the risk for diabetes, as well as help to control blood sugar levels in those with Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.
Coconut oil is not a cure-all, but it can help with many health conditions and overall health in the body. Coconut oil can be used to cook with as well, so adding coconut oil to the diet isn’t difficult. It is important, however, to use oils from a variety of sources for a more balanced diet. By substituting some of your oil use with coconut oil, you can still reap the benefits of this oil.