Coconut oil has taken the media by storm throughout the world, from specialty health food stores to local markets.
Coconut oil was previously balked at or often ignored. However, it is becoming more of a staple cooking oil in many homes, and manufacturers use it in place of other oils in numerous products.
The good news is coconut oil serves up all sorts of health benefits from slowing down the progression of many serious health conditions to lowering cholesterol and weight loss.
Below is a list of the top 20 health benefits of coconut oil that have been experimentally confirmed.
1. Coconut Oil Can Increase HDL (Good) Cholesterol And Make LDL (Bad) Cholesterol Benign
Contrary to popular belief, saturated fats can actually raise HDL (good) cholesterol and change the LDL (bad) cholesterol to a benign subtype. (1)
LDL is the lipoprotein particle that mostly connected to atherosclerosis, however LDL particles exist in different sizes.
The other lipoproteins are chylomicrons, IDL (intermediate density lipoprotein) and VLDL (very low-density lipoprotein, mainly triglycerides).
Coconut oil reduces triglycerides, LDL and total cholesterol while increasing HDL and improving antioxidant status and blood coagulation factors (2).
Bottom Line: By reducing total and LDL cholesterol and increasing HDL cholesterol, consuming coconut oil will go a long way into reducing your risk of heart disease (3).
2. Coconut Oil Helps Improve The Immune System
The antimicrobial lipids, capric acid, lauric acid and caprylic acid found in coconut oil do wonders for strengthening the immune system due to their antiviral and antibacterial properties (4).
The lauric acid in coconut oil is converted into monolaurin in the body that helps it deal with bacteria and viruses that cause diseases such as influenza, herpes, HIV and cytomegalovirus (5).
It can also fight harmful bacteria such as helicobacter pylori, protozoa such as giardia lamblia and listeria monocytogenes making it a strong immune fighter.
Bottom Line: Adding coconut oil to your daily regimen is a smart way to boost and maintain a strong immune system.
3. The Fatty Acids In Coconut Oil Can Reduce Seizures In Children
Increasing concentrations of ketones in the blood have been shown to have a therapeutic effect on children dealing with epilepsy (8).
Using the medium-chain triglycerides found in coconut oil can induce ketosis making it a very effective in reducing the rate of seizures in epileptic children (9).
Typically, epileptic children must consume very little carbohydrates and large amounts of fat to increase ketone bodies in the blood.
Bottom Line: Epileptic children can reduce the number of seizures by adding coconut oil to increase the concentration of ketones in the blood.
4. Coconut Oil Can Help Maintain Strong Bones And Prevent Osteoporosis
Calcium and magnesium are important for developing and maintaining strong bones.
Coconut oil helps the body absorb calcium and magnesium and so preventing osteoporosis (6).
Breaks and fractures of the bone are caused by osteoporosis and are more common than strokes, heart attacks and breast cancer combined.
Osteoporosis is more common in the elderly population (7).
Bottom Line: Three tablespoons of coconut oil, taken daily, can help prevent osteoporosis.
5. Coconut Oil Can Reduce Appetite
When you eat coconut oil, the liver produces ketones that have a powerful appetite-reducing effect in the body, boosting metabolism in the process, allowing you to lose body fat over the long-term (11).
It has been proven that eating more medium and long chain triglycerides lowers overall calorie consumption.
One study that varied the amounts of MTCs given to 6 healthy men found that those eating the most MTCs at an average of 256 fewer calories per day (12).
A second study found that men who ate the most MCTs at breakfast consumed far fewer calories at lunch (13).
Although these studies were only performed over a short time period, their results are encouraging. If participants were to experience the same results in long term studies, it could have a huge effect on weight loss practices.
6. Coconut Oil Can Help Reduce Hazardous Abdominal Fat
Since coconut oil can reduce appetite and boost your metabolism, it can also help you lose weight, particularly abdominal fat (12).
In addition to losing abdominal fat, the most dangerous type that can surround the internal organs causing heart disease, diabetes and increased inflammation, coconut oil can also help increase HDL (good) cholesterol.
Other oils such as soybean oil have been shown to increase LDL (bad) cholesterol and reduce the HDL (good) cholesterol (13).
Reducing abdominal fat can drastically reduce your risk of chronic diseases and have a very positive effect on your metabolic health (16).
One study found that women eating 30 ML (1 ounce) of coconut oil experienced a reduction in waist circumference and BMI over a 12 week period (19).
Studies in men noted a 2.86 cm (1.1 inch) waist circumference reduction in men after adding 30 mL (1 ounce) of coconut oil per day (20).
It is important to note that while this may not be considered a sticky dramatic weight loss by normal standards, when you consider that these results occurred with no alterations to diet or exercise habits, coconut oil may be the key to abdominal weight loss.
Bottom Line: Eating coconut oil is very effective in reducing the dangerous abdominal fat that is associated with disease and other health problems.
7. Coconut Oil Can Increase Energy Levels
Different foods affect our hormones and bodies in different ways.
One study found that consuming 15-30 grams of medium-chain triglycerides per day can increase energy levels by 5% and that translates into burning approximately 120 calories per day (19).
Bottom Line: Significant weight loss can be achieved by consuming coconut oil and increasing energy levels within a 24-hour period.
8. Coconut Oil Can Moisturize Skin, Function As A Sunscreen and Protect Your Hair
Studies show that coconut oil can improve the lipid content of skin but can also serve as an effective moisturizer (26).
It is very effective as a sunscreen blocking over 20% of damaging ultraviolet rays from the sun and works invaluably against hair damage (27).
Bottom Line: Coconut oil can be used as an effective moisturizer for the skin when applied topically and protect hair and skin against damage from the sun.
9. Coconut Oil Can Boost Brain Function
Dementia occurs worldwide in elderly people, particularly Alzheimer’s disease that creates an inability to use glucose for energy in certain areas of the brain.
Ketones can provide an alternative energy source for these faulty cells and can reduce the symptoms of the disease (20).
One study in 2006 found that eating more MTCs increased brain function in people suffering from mild forms of Alzheimer’s disease (24).
Scientists are currently exploring further applications MTCs may have in treating Alzheimer’s disease.
Bottom Line: The fatty acids in coconut oil is able to increase ketone levels in the blood, supply energy to the brain and help relieve symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
10. Coconut Oil Creates A Thermogenic Effect In The Body
Studies show that eating coconut oil tend to increase metabolism and seems to promote a reduction in abdominal obesity (24).
Studies also show that the medium-chain fats found in coconut oil lead to a reduced waist circumference, various improvements in metabolic health and weight loss (25).
Bottom Line: The medium-chain triglycerides found in coconut oil can boost metabolism and burn 120 calories more per day through increased energy in the body.
11. Coconut Oil Can Help Eliminate Candida
When excessive yeast grows in the stomach, it can lead to Candida and needs to be eliminated. Coconut oil contains healthy oils that can kill Candida, giving relief from discomfort and symptoms (29).
Candida Albicans is yeast that lives normally in the mouth, throat, genitals and intestinal tract that help keep the body functioning at optimum levels.
However, when body chemistry becomes out of balance,Candida can grow and damage the body instead and cause serious health problems including persistent coughing, sinus infections, fatigue, blurred vision and stomach pain.
Candida comes about by eating too many refined foods and sugar.
Also read: Sugar Addition […and How To Break It!]
Coconut oil contains healthy acids that offer potent anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties that build the immune system, reduce the overgrowth of Candida and restore the body back to a healthy balance (30).
Bottom Line: Coconut oil helps improve overall health of the body, making it better able to ward off Candida.
12. Coconut Oil Can Improve The Digestive System
Using coconut oil for cooking can improve various stomach disorders such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and other digestive-related problems.
The saturated fats found in coconut oil help the body deal with various fungi, parasites and bacteria that can cause indigestion.
Plus, it helps the body absorb nutrients from the food we eat such as amino acids, vitamins and minerals.
Bottom Line: Use coconut oil for cooking to improve your digestive system and help your body absorb nutrients from the food you eat.
13. Coconut Oil Can Be Good For The Heart
In one study in 40 women, coconut oil has been shown to reduce LDL (the “bad” type of cholesterol) and increase levels of HDL (the “good” type of cholesterol) in a pronounced way compared to the effects of soybean oil (36).
Bottom Line: Coconut oil should be taken daily to mainly prevent atherosclerosis which is the usual cause of heart attacks, strokes, and peripheral vascular disease — what together are called “cardiovascular disease”.
14. Coconut Oil Can Keep The Thyroid Healthy
The thyroid is a gland located in the throat just under the Adam’s apple or thyroid cartilage. Coconut oil can help increase a healthy function of the thyroid gland.
Thyroid disease causes a variety of symptoms including hair loss, dry skin, fatigue, cold sensitivity, constipation, weight gain and depression (31).
While there are many medications available for thyroid disease, many contain ingredients and chemicals that can harm the body.
Also, dietary fats found in coconut oil regulate thyroid cell metabolism (32).
Bottom Line: Coconut oil helps nourish the thyroid gland, which helps increase energy levels and metabolism, support an active lifestyle and makes it easier to lose weight and keep it off.
15. Coconut Oil Can Kill Fungi, Viruses and Bacteria
Nearly 50% of coconut oil’s fatty acids are Lauric acid that can help ward off infections.
Monolaurin and lauric acid are formed when coconut oil is digested, killing harmful pathogens like fungi, viruses and bacteria (33).
Yeast infections known as Candida Albians, is a common infection as well as bacterial Staphylococcus Aureus, a dangerous pathogen, and both have been killed by coconut oil (34).
Bottom Line: Consuming coconut oil on a regular basis is a good preventative measure to ward off infections before they have an opportunity to take hold.
16. Coconut Oil Can Reduce The Symptoms of type 2 diabetes
Related animal study conducted in 2009 found that medium-chain fatty acids found in coconut oil could fight insulin resistance. furthermore, a recent study on rats found it inducts a reduction in blood glucose level.
A separate animal study found that rats with diabetes that consumed coconut oil had lower cholesterol levels and improved glucose tolerance.
At this time, there isn’t any research on coconut oil’s affect on people type 1 diabetes.
17. Coconut Oil Can Be Used As a Massage Oil
In addition to preventing flaky, dry skin, coconut oil can be used as a safe and effective massage oil.
Unlike mineral oil, there is little chance of any adverse side effects when using coconut oil.
It also works wonders for reducing the appearance of sagging skin and wrinkles that normally come with aging.
It can help in treating a variety of skin disorders including eczema, skin infections, dermatitis and psoriasis (38).
Bottom Line: Use coconut oil for your daily moisturizer routine to smooth skin and prevent wrinkles or simply use it as a safe and effective massage oil.
18. Coconut Oil Can Keep Dandruff Away
You can ensure your scalp stays free of dandruff by regularly massaging your head with coconut oil.
It can also help prevent dryness of your scalp and keep it free of lice and lice eggs (39).
Many studies on coconut oil found that it can prevent combing damage of various hair types.
19. Coconut Can Work Like a Mouthwash
Coconut oil works as a mouthwash through a process known as ‘oil pulling.’ It is a process that kills harmful bacteria in your mouth, reduces bad breath and improves dental health.
Oil pulling make your breath fresher and improve your oral health (40).
Indians have been using ‘oil pulling’ for thousands of years. Place one tablespoon of oil in your mouth and swish it around for at least 15 minutes.
Removing plaque helps prevent cavities, gingivitis, gum inflammation, yellow teeth and bad breath.
Bottom Line: Use coconut oil as a mouthwash to kill harmful bacteria in your mouth, improve dental health and reduce bad breath.
20. Coconut Oil Can Improve Your Overall Health
People who eat coconut oil are some of the healthiest people in the world.
For example, those in the South Pacific consume 60% of their calories from coconuts.
Within the population, Vascular disease is uncommon and are in excellent health (44).
A related study has found that there is no evidence of the high saturated fat intake having a harmful effect in these populations.
Bottom Line: Many people around the world eat massive amounts of coconut and continue to thrive with less health problems (45).
As mentioned previously, Coconut oil is packed full of healthy fatty acids, vitamins and minerals that serve up endless health benefits.
It is so versatile and can be used internally, externally or both to fight infections, prevent and reverse disease, build bones and teeth, repair hair and skin, lower cholesterol and support weight loss.
How to Incorporate Coconut Oil in Your Lifestyle
Here are some easy ways to incorporate coconut oil into your lifestyle and diet while taking advantage of this amazing powerhouse:
Melt Coconut Into Your Morning Java Or Tea – add a tablespoon of coconut oil to your morning coffee or tea for added benefits. It melts easily and adds a little flavor.
Use Coconut Oil In Place Of Olive Oil For Cooking – it works great for cooking stir-fries, eggs, vegetables and anything that you would normally use olive oil for. It will not break down at high temperatures like other oils do and can be used for any cooking use or consumption.
Use Coconut Oil As A Body Lotion – it absorbs quickly without leaving an oily feeling and makes the skin incredibly silky, plus it has ideal anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties making it perfect to use after a shower or bath.
You can always add a drop of your favorite essential oil for a pleasing aroma.
Add A Couple Tablespoons To Your Morning Smoothie – it will give your smoothie a creamy texture that will add a nutty, sweet taste. Plus, coconut oil will add some healthy fats and vitamins that will help you start your day with a nutrient-dense smoothie.
Make Your Own Mayonnaise With Coconut Oil – you can’t beat making your own dressings at home with all natural ingredients. The same is true for making mayonnaise using coconut oil and olive oils that does not have any artificial ingredients or additives.
Coconut oil will give your mayonnaise recipe a delicious, creamy texture and great flavor.
Use Coconut Oil For Removing Eye Make-Up – there is no need to purchase expensive eye make-up removers in packages at the store.
You can use coconut oil that is very effective in removing stubborn make-up, plus it will help reduce or eliminate wrinkles in the eye area. It restores elasticity to your skin and smells terrific.
You do not have to worry about putting any artificial ingredients or chemicals on your skin or eye area. Coconut oil is perfectly safe and easy to use.
Coconut Oil Make Excellent No-Bake Desserts – coconut oil is solid at cold temperature and makes an excellent ingredient for making no-bake desserts and cookies in the freezer or refrigerator.
Coconut oil is nutrient-dense, very filling and will make your no-bake treats more nutrient-dense and healthy.
You can feel good about feeding your family no-bake desserts made with coconut oil that is full of lauric acid that will boost their brain as well as their immune system.
Add Shine To Your Hair With Coconut Oil – you can massage it into your hair after shampooing and it will not only get rid of dandruff, but will conditioner your hair like no other store-bought conditioner. It will add shine and strengthen your hair.
Use Coconut Oil For Shaving – Speaking from a woman’s point of view, you can massage coconut oil on your legs before getting into the shower and shave your legs without any nicks or irritation. Plus, your legs will be moisturized and feel silky-smooth.
Coconut Oil Makes An Excellent Chap Stick – there is no need to worry about chapped lips. Use coconut oil as an all-natural chap stick that will soothe your lips instantly and tastes great.
Keep a small bottle with you in your purse or briefcase and use any time of the day.
Coconut oil is rich in vitamins, minerals and healthy fats that are essential for perfect health.
It can protect you against bacteria, infections, viruses, heart, brain and thyroid problems, plus it helps the body burn fat and beautifies your skin.
While coconut oil is a saturated fat, it is chock-full of properties that promote good health.
Finally, science and modern medicine have realized the fundamental truth about this amazing food that should be a staple in every home.