10 benefits of Coconut Oil.
Coconut Oil has gained a lot of reputation for its health benefits. It contains high amounts of saturated fat and medium-chain triglycerides which are very useful for people following a ketogenic diet. Coconut oil can be used for shallow frying and deep frying or can even be consumed raw. Due to its distinct aroma and taste, it can be added to numerous foods and can be used for baking, frying, roasting, grilling etc. Having said that, let us look at the 10 benefits of Coconut Oil.
Note: While there are tons of other benefits of coconut oil like cosmetic, medical etc. in this article, we will focus only on the health benefits of coconut oil. Also, by coconut oil, we mean cold-pressed, non-GMO and unrefined/ unfiltered coconut oil.
#1 Improves Satiety:
Due to high amounts of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), coconut oil may have a satiating effect. Research shows that MCTs make you feel full for longer. This reduces hunger or cravings and may result in a caloric deficit. Long term caloric deficit without malnutrition may even lead to fat loss/ weight loss. Even if it may not result in caloric deficit it may result in consuming lesser calories and limiting fat gain/ weight gain.
Here is a research report to understand the relation between Coconut Oil and improved Satiety.
#2 Maintains a Healthy Heart:
Several regions and cultures have been using coconut oil for generations. Some studies like the Tokelau Island study and the Kitavan People study have tried establishing a link between increased coconut consumption and lesser occurrence of heart disease.
A study found that in comparison to vegetable oils like soyabean oil, coconut oil helps increase HDL while decreasing LDL.
#3 Supports Fat Burning:
Due to its satiating effects, coconut oil may help support fat loss or weight loss. High MCTs improve satiety and result in fewer hunger pangs. If there is a long term caloric deficit resulting from increased satiety, it may result in fat loss/ weight loss or both. Also, while calories are important, where the calories are coming from is equally important.
Here is some research on how MCTs in coconut oil can help with fat loss as compared to long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) in other oils. Some studies like research 1, research 2 have also established a link between consuming coconut oil and inch loss.
#4 Controls Blood Sugar:
Although more research is required, there is some evidence that suggests consuming coconut oil may help control blood sugar and combat diabetes. Here are some studies linking coconut oil to better blood sugar control and lower insulin resistivity: research 1, research 2.
#5 Enhances Brain Functioning:
Most of the time, our brain functions on glucose. However, evidence suggests that the brain functions better on ketones rather than glucose. MCTs help to produce ketone bodies that can help fuel the brain. Since coconut oil is loaded with MCTs, consuming coconut oil can help to enhance brain function. This is especially useful in treating diseases like Alzheimer’s where some brain cells ability to use glucose reduces sharply. Research suggests ketones can help provide an alternative energy source for these cells and reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
#6 Helps Reduce Inflammation:
Coconut oil has antioxidant properties which help fight damage caused by free radical attacks and reduce inflammation. Here is a piece of research that helps understand how coconut oil helps reduce inflammation.
#7 Helps Maintain Hormonal Balance:
The MCTs in coconut oil play a key role in the production and management of some hormones that regulate metabolism and appetite. A study revealed that MCTs in coconut oil may help regulate cells responsible for the body’s response to insulin.
#8 Supports Immunity:
Coconut oil can be safely used as an immune-nutritive agent. The two ingredients called lauric acid and caprylic acid make it an excellent immunity booster. Studies have shown these acids help fight bacterial infections including Candida. Our body converts lauric acid to an antiviral agent called monolaurin which helps in protecting from numerous viruses and pathogens. Coconut oil metabolites have even been clinically shown not to cause resistant organisms to appear or multiply. Here is more on Coconut Oil and Immunity.
#9 Helps Maintain Healthy Bones:
Coconut oil has high quantities of polyphenols which act as antioxidant agents. This antioxidant property of coconut oil helps in preventing bone loss and improving the bone structure. Here is a research paper on Coconut Oil and Bone Health.
#10 Promotes a Healthy Digestive System:
The high fat content of coconut oil helps absorb fat-soluble vitamins from food and supplements. Studies have shown coconut oil helps prevent stomach ulcers and reduce gut inflammation. Coconut oil can also help increase friendly bacteria thus, promoting a healthy digestive system.
Note: It is apparent that almost all benefits of consuming coconut oil are due to its high content of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
Hope the article helped in understanding the 10 benefits of Coconut Oil.