Coconut oil as we know it is a useful health element. It has even been regarded as one of the healthiest foods available to man. There have been studies and more studies to authenticate these claims, and so far, over 1,500 studies carried out. We now know that the health benefits of coconut oil are truly abundant and as such we can say this freely available coconut oil is a superfood.
Coconut oil is made of healthy fats which are called MCFAs or medium-chain fatty acids. These fats include:
- Capric acid
- Lauric acid
- Caprylic acid
The research carried out indicates that a good 62% of the oils obtained in coconut oil are made of the above listed healthy fats, and there are about 91% of saturated fats in coconut oil too.
Another good thing is that the MCFAs which are found in coconut oil are faster to digest as they only require a three-step process for them to be converted into fuel whereas other fats we consume have to undergo a lengthy 26-step process. This is what makes coconut oil a perfect energy source.
So here’s what you should bear in mind. MCFAs are:
- Easy to digest
- Effective antifungal and antimicrobial
- Not usually stored as fats
- Smaller in size thereby allowing easier permeability to deliver instant energy
- Are immediately converted into energy as they are processed by the liver. This way, they are not stored as fats
That said, here are some of the remarkable health benefits of this superfood called coconut oil.
Health Benefits of Using Coconut Oil
Medical research conducted indicates that the health benefits of coconut oil are numerous. A few of the ways coconut oil positively benefits the human body include:
Natural Treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease
The MCFAs digested by the liver produces ketones which are used for energy by the brain. Ketones are important to the brain as they readily supply energy to the brain without needing insulin to convert glucose to energy.
A recent research conducted shows that the brain produces its own insulin which it uses to process glucose and in turn power the brain cells. Patients suffering from Alzheimer whose brains don’t have the ability to produce its own insulin can benefit from ketones gotten from coconut oil as they could serve as an alternate source of energy and could help repair the faulty brain function. (Research links 1, 2)
Helps Prevent High Blood Pressure (HBP) and Heart Disease
Coconut oil is known to contain high quantities of saturated fats. These saturated fats help increase the amount of HDL or healthy cholesterol in the body and also convert the bad cholesterol LDL to better or good cholesterol.
This increase in the HDL in the body ensures the heart health is well promoted and the risk of contracting heart disease is lowered. It also lowers the high triglycerides which benefit the heart.
Helps Reduce Inflammation and Arthritis
According to a study performed in India, the antioxidants (which are high levels) which are found in virgin coconut oil performed better than leading medications in reducing inflammation and also for the effective treatment of arthritis.
Another study indicated that coconut oil which was harvested using medium heat was more effective for suppressing inflammatory cells. Coconut oil has been used as both anti-inflammatory and as an analgesic.
Works for Treating UTI and Kidney Infection. Also Protects the Liver
Coconut oil have been used for healing (and clearing up) urinary tract infection (UTI) as well as kidney infections. The medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) present in the oil work as natural antibiotics. They disrupt lipid coating on bacteria and kill them. Research carried out also indicates that coconut oil helps to prevent the liver from getting damaged. (3)
Also, coconut water while having zero nutritional values helps with the hydration and healing process.
Prevention and Treatment of Cancer
Ketones produced in the digestion of coconut oil helps in fighting cancer as the tumor cells depend on glucose and can’t access energy in ketones. Thus the popular belief that such ketogenic diet might assist in the recovery process of cancer patients.
Also, the MCFAs not only break down the lipid walls of bacteria but they in fact also destroy the Helicobacter pylori bacteria which are known to heighten the risk of getting stomach cancer. Coconut oil has also been known to neutralize the development of cancerous cells even in studies where they have been chemically induced.
Helps in Improving Memory and Functioning of the Brain
A 2004 study which was published in the Journal of Neurobiology of Aging, it was discovered by researchers that the MCFAs present in Coconut oil helped improve the memory which is a problem in older subjects.
The study showed that all the patients showed signs of improvements in their ability to recall after taking dozes of coconut oil. The improvement was made possible by the MCFAs which are easily absorbed in the body and don’t need insulin to be accessed by the brain. This way, they can fuel the brain efficiently. (Link)
Coconut Oil is Beneficial for Hair Care
Another place coconut oil is very beneficial is in hair care. Coconut oil can be the much-needed help to improve hair conditions like dry hair and dandruff. A mixture of coconut oil and lemon can also benefit graying hair by converting it to its natural hair color. The fatty acids in coconut oil are so rich it can help in improving hair car on its own or mixed with other agents. If you are a DIY lover, then making your own homemade shampoo from coconut oil shouldn’t be a hard deal.
If you have dandruff and thicken hair problems, try this fix. Massage a tablespoon of coconut oil (can be mixed with essential oil) into your scalp for roughly 3 minutes, let it soak in for about 30 minutes after which take a shower.
Coconut Oil as an anti-aging ointment
Coconut oil is also believed to be an anti-aging ointment by improving the antioxidant levels of the body. The research published in Food and Function indicates that coconut oil reduces stress on the liver and lowers the oxidative stress. (Link)