Coconut oil has been a mainstay of tropical diets and wellness for centuries. Several studies support the unique benefits of coconut oil, centered around the medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) it contains. The body can easily digest these saturated fats and convert them into energy. Coconut oil also has many medicinal and health benefits.
Coconut oil has antibacterial properties and can reduce candida, fight bacteria, and create a hostile environment for viruses. Almost half of the fat in coconut is lauric acid, which helps destroy active bacteria in the stomach and mouth. Interestingly, this acid is also in breast milk. Research shows breast milk helps immunize babies against a variety of infections, and lauric acid in coconuts can similarly protect adults.
Recent research highlights a connection between consuming coconut oil and building muscle. The healthy fats in the oil may help the muscles recover after a workout. They also slow digestion, which helps maintain long-lasting energy while exercising. Increasing intake of coconut oil, in combination with a healthy and balanced diet, could improve muscle health.
Diets high in fat and cholesterol can raise the levels of these compounds in the bloodstream, and this contributes to heart disease. An imbalance of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) to high-density lipoproteins (HDL) poses dangers to cardiovascular health. Research suggests coconut oil improves HDL levels and, as such, can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Statistics show that obesity has become a widespread concern for both children and adults. Coconut oil can aid weight reduction because the fat it contains helps slow digestion and enhances the absorption of nutrients from the diet. This keeps the blood sugar stable and decreases food cravings. An American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study supports this benefit; it showed that people who consume coconut oil have better weight loss results than those who consume long-chain fatty acids such as meat and dairy.
Many people reducing their food consumption in their goal to lose weight worry about feeling hungry. One of the many benefits of coconut oil is that it leaves people feeling satisfied for longer. Consuming coconut oil can help reduce food cravings as it digests more slowly, resulting in lasting feelings of fullness.
Mitigating the effects of degenerative brain conditions such as Alzheimer's disease and dementia is one of the major challenges facing contemporary medicine. The main energy source for the brain is glucose. Studies show that the brain of a person with Alzheimer's uses less glucose. Coconut oil, however, breaks down into ketones, which may be an alternative source of energy for the brain. More research is needed to prove this helps for Alzheimer's, but coconut oil shows some promise.
Many homemade hair care conditioners use coconut oil as the main ingredient. The fat-rich oil may help to keep hair strong and healthy and reduce damage that hair incurs from daily wear and tear. The thick oil can reduce protein loss, leaving hair strong and shinier. It can also help tame brittle, frizzy, flyaway strands.
Coconut's topical benefits do not stop with the hair -- the oil may also be an effective dandruff remedy. Applying the oil to the scalp can help to keep it hydrated, which reduces dryness that causes flaky skin or dandruff. People with sensitive skin or those who avoid the harsh chemicals in dandruff shampoos could benefit from the natural properties of coconut oil, which may even prevent or speed the eradication of head lice.
Even though we know the importance of sunscreen, we sometimes forget to apply it or miss a spot. Coconut oil can help alleviate painful sunburns, easing redness and lessening blisters. Fatty acids reduce swelling both internally and externally, which reduces the skin tightness sunburns often cause. Also, some evidence shows that coconut oil has natural sunblock abilities.
A healthy liver and kidneys keep the body free of toxins and improve blood flow. Many medical conditions have adverse effects on the function of these organs, which leads to widespread health issues. Studies reveal coconut oil can help preserve kidney and liver health. One study indicated coconut oil could protect the liver from the damage some over-the-counter medications cause. The antifungal and antimicrobial properties of the MCFAs can also treat urinary tract infections.
Stress is part of life, but too much can trigger depression and other mental and physical health issues. The particular type of fatty acid in coconut oil can assist in reducing tension and easing depression. One animal study showed that mice who were given coconut oil could persevere in the face of stress for longer than those who received a traditional antidepressant. The antioxidants in the oil, which fight free radicals throughout the body, may also help lower the stress from environmental and food toxins.
The MCFAs in coconut oil provide essential dietary fats that boost skin elasticity. Hydrated and nourished skin can help reduce signs of aging. Coconut oil strengthens the skin, enables the body to resist wrinkling and sagging, and helps it recover faster from the damage caused by overexposure to ultraviolet sunlight. Its anti-inflammatory properties can soothe redness and improve the skin's appearance.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.