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11 Amazing Health Benefits of Coconut Oil (No. 3 is Best)

The new coconut oil trend shows that it’s well on its way to becoming the superfood of the century.

This unassuming fruit or nut can be loosely classified as either one, has been around for centuries. But until recently, its amazing health effects have been largely ignored by the medical profession.

For a while, dieters were even warned to avoid coconut oil due to its high concentration of saturated fats.

That this is a wholly unfounded concern was proven in a study published in the journal Lipids in 2009, proving that not only do the fats in coconut oil not increase weight, but they actually aid you in losing that weight.

As amazing as this is, the effects of coconut oil go on beyond weight loss. Its internal and external health benefits are almost uncountable.

1. Coconut Oil as an Anti-viral

Coconut oil is made up of a variety of fats, one of these being lauric acid, a fatty acid rarely found in other substances.

Lauric acid, when consumed, naturally converts to monolaurin, which is extremely high in anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-microbial properties.

Research shows that among the viruses and pathogens that coconut oil fights or prevents are: herpes, measles, HIV, staph infections, hepatitis, influenza, giardia lamblia, yeast infections, and other bacteria.

Coconut oil is also very useful used externally to help fight and prevent infection. Other anti-bacterial fatty acids that coconut oil contains are: caprylic acid, caproic acid, and myristic acid.

2. Encouraging Dental Health

Also due to these amazing fatty acids, studies show that coconut oil is an excellent promoter of dental health. The same acids that fight infection and viruses are beneficial as an anti-bacterial and anti-microbial in the mouth as well, effectively killing the bacteria that decays your teeth.

While the same studies state that ingesting coconut oil can naturally add to your oral health, another of the most common ways to use the oil for your teeth is by using a process known as oil pulling.

Oil pulling makes use of coconut oil’s antibacterial properties in a mouth rinse that effectively eliminates harmful bacteria as well as plaque build-up.

In a 2004 interview with Bruce Fife, ND, CN, he states also that as coconut oil naturally helps your body absorb nutrient. It is extremely beneficial for strengthening your teeth by enhancing calcium build-up.

3. Skin and Hair Care

Beauty experts are beginning to swear more and more by coconut oil as a heaven-sent natural beauty product. Its uses in this area are many. Used plain, it’s an incredible moisturizer with no counter-productive alcohol or chemical products.

Studies also show that coconut oil contains antioxidants, which help protect your skin from sun damage, skin cancer, and normal aging effects.

4. Eczema

Atopic Dermatitis, better known as eczema, is a fairly common skin problem that occurs when the skin is abnormally dry. Then becoming overly susceptible to outside sources of inflammation or infection.

The NEA National Eczema Association states that as yet, science has no concrete proof of the initial cause of the condition itself. But the cause of the red, itching outbreak is easy to pinpoint.

When Atopic Dermatitis is present, the skin cells lose hydration as well as the oily, protective layer known as ‘sebum’ that the skin naturally produces.

Applying coconut oil topically to the area of the outbreak naturally coats the skin cells, reducing loss of hydration. As well as forming a protective, anti-bacterial layer similar to the natural sebum that healthy skin should create.

5. Eliminating Acne

Acne is another aggravating skin condition that coconut oil can help banish. Acne occurs when pores in the skin become blocked by dirt, dead skin cells, etc.

When this happens the sebum, the natural skin oil that the pores release, becomes trapped along with any bacteria in the pore. And with no way to escape and perform its natural function.

The bacteria causes an infection which results in the unsightly condition known as acne. Since coconut oil is a natural anti-bacterial, it can be used to clean the pores and remove the source of the infection.

Your skin is also covered with a natural protectant acid which the anti-bacterial fatty acids in coconut oil help to replenish. Thus guarding your skin from further germs and future infections.

6. Promoting Brain Health

The secret of coconut oil lies in its makeup of fats. Most people view any fats as bad, but in this they are quite mistaken. It turns out that of the most common types of fats, saturated fat is one of the healthiest there is. Not only is it not bad for you, it is absolutely essential to your neural health.

Coconut oil is extremely high in saturated fats, but the fats in coconut are made up of medium-chain triglycerides.

Medium-chain triglycerides or medium-chain fatty acids are the alternative to long-chain triglycerides. Which must go through a longer process before they can be converted into an energy source for your system.

When coconut oil is processed through the liver, those medium-chain fatty acids are processed into ketone bodies which are an ideal and efficient fuel for brain cells.

7. Preventing Alzheimer’s

According to a case study published by Dr. Mary Newport in 2008, coconut oil has definite symptoms of being able to arrest the advance of Alzheimer’s. And maybe even work toward curing this same brain disease. To understand why this is, you first have to understand how Alzheimer’s originates.

One of the brain’s main food sources is glucose, but to process this fuel to the brain, the system requires insulin to convert the glucose into energy. When insulin levels get low, the brain has less material to work with, making it harder and harder to create energy to fuel the cells.

When the brain begins to run out of fuel, it begins to shut down, little by little, thereby producing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil, which are ultimately processed into ketone bodies, can be used as brain fuel without going through the preliminary process involving insulin.

This means that in insulin resistant people, studies indicate that diabetics have a higher chance of incurring brain disorders. One of the best ways to fuel the cells and prevent brain damage is consumption of medium-chain fatty acids such as those found in coconut oil.

8. Ketogenic Diets to Treat Cancer and Epilepsy

Perhaps not surprisingly, coconut oil is also part of a noted factor in the reduction of epileptic effects in children.

According to a study published in a 2008 issue of The Lancet Neurology, a ketogenic diet was highly successful in reducing the number of seizures over a three month trial period.

One version of the diet is labelled the medium-chain triglyceride diet, which links directly back to coconut oil.

Triglycerides such as those in coconut oil appear to be optimal for this diet. Which has been shown to be as effective as a regular ketogenic diet, but is not as strict and is therefore easier for patients to follow.

Another instance in which the ketogenic diet has proved successful, is in the case of cancer patients. The main reason that a ketogenic diet works is that it removes the fuel a cancer needs to survive and proliferate.

Cancer’s main food products are glucose and fructose, and a ketogenic diet works by replacing those sugars with ketone bodies, which the cancer cells can’t convert into a food source.

The basis for this treatment was introduced by a Dr. Thomas Seyfried, Ph.D, of Yale University and Boston College, who has long been a promoter of nutritional methods for treating cancer, as well as epilepsy, and Dr. Dominic D'Agostino of the University of South Florida, has conducted studies that are definitely bearing out this approach.

9. Metabolism and Weight Loss

Contrary to the widely spread misconception that the saturated fats in coconut oil promote weight gain, studies show that coconut oil is ideal for weight loss when combined with a low-carb diet.

This is due to several factors attributed to coconut oil.

First, a study conducted to test the weight loss effects of the oil, concluded that, due to the greater energy produced by medium as opposed to long-chain fatty acids, hunger was stemmed by a smaller amount of food, which in itself is an obvious benefit to weight loss.

It is also a known substance for raising the metabolism, another important factor for controlling body weight. Another of the benefits of dieting with coconut oil lies in the body’s ability to switch from glucose to fat as an energy source.

A personal study conducted by Dr. Attia of Stanford University, shows clearly how a ketogenic diet makes your body do exactly this.

When all sources of glucose are removed from the system and replaced with a medium-chain fatty acid such as those in coconut oil, the body must turn to fat as an energy source, thus depleting the body’s unsightly stores of fat. 

It has also been shown that dieting with coconut oil tends to reduce fat mainly around the waist and abdominal area, contributing to overall health.

10. Normalizing Thyroid Conditions

Another common problem that stimulates weight gain especially in women is an autoimmune condition known as hypothyroidism.

The thyroid is an important part of your body’s immune defense system. But it is highly susceptible to the ill effects of bad fats. It is important to note however, that this is only one of the causes of thyroid diseases.

A group of studies on the subject, show that commonly used oils, most specifically soybean and vegetable oils, can have a devastating effect on the health of your thyroid.

One of the ways to use coconut for your thyroid is to replace your normal cooking oils with coconut oil. When heated, it doesn’t break down into the dangerous trans fats that other common cooking oils do.

Ray Peat Ph.D., who has spent years researching hormones, also states that unsaturated fats and trans fats can, among other effects, interrupt the creation of thyroid hormones in the system.

Besides helping to prevent hypothyroidism, other aspects of coconut oil aid in reducing some of the normal side effects of this autoimmune disease, some of which are: reduced body temperature, lowered metabolism, memory loss, and weight gain see above.

11. Effects of Coconut Oil on Heart Disease

One of the biggest promoters of heart disease is high levels of bad cholesterol also known as LDL in your system. However, not all cholesterols are bad. In fact, HDL, or “good cholesterol”, has a beneficial effect, in essence “flushing” harmful cholesterols from the system.

Here again, coconut oil shows its super-powers.

A study conducted to test the effects of the oil turned up some very interesting results. Rather than contributing to the causes of heart disease, the saturated fats in coconut oil appear to be “fighting” the effects of harmful fats, such as trans fats. In the study, coconut oil was compared to a trans fat oil in this case, soybean.

When the results came in, it was found that of the two, the soybean oil had raised levels of harmful LDL, while the coconut oil had lowered LDL levels, at the same time raising levels of HDL.

It appears that, rather than merely getting rid of LDL, coconut oil actually transforms the ‘bad cholesterol’ into healthy HDL.

Support the Growing Trend – and Your Health

Thousands of natural health enthusiasts, practitioners included, recognize and support the amazing properties of coconut oil.

With effects ranging from the purely external such as beauty care, to the in-depth prevention and cure of some of the most deadly diseases that our culture faces, coconut oil is an essential that should be in everyone’s household and in every doctor’s cabinet.

You do have to be choosy, though, about the type of coconut oil you decide to use.

Refined or hydrogenated oils have lost many of the benefits they naturally contained, so look only for pure, organic, virgin coconut oil.

Whether you’re looking to lose weight or merely looking for an overall health tonic, why not see what doctors are saying about coconut oil, and try it out for yourself?

11 Amazing Health Benefits of Coconut Oil (No. 3 is Best)
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Dade Dyana: Founder of daddynutrition, coffee lover and fitness enthusiast. Promoter of all things fitness, food and motivation related. Follow @daddynutrition on Twitter and become the best version of yourself!