Coconut oil is now arguably the most popular cooking oil in the world, and it has now surpassed extra virgin olive oil as the number one health oil on the block. The term “superfood” is used a lot these days, and it has to be said that some foods commonly referred to as superfoods, well, they just aren’t, basically. Coconut however, is a superfood that deserves its title, as the health benefits that this delicious and versatile oil has to offer are second to none, and are seemingly endless. We now know that healthy fats can not only help us to lose weight, but perhaps more importantly, they can also help to enhance our health and well-being as well. If you’re yet to discover the wonders of natural coconut oil, boy are you in for a treat, as not only it is delicious and healthy, but it is extremely versatile as well. Here’s a look at four reasons why coconut oil is considered to be such a healthy ingredient.
Coconut oil provides potent medicinal properties for the brain – Coconut oil is naturally rich in fatty acids, of which 90% are comprised of saturated fats. Now, before you start worrying, experts have now finally revealed that natural saturated fats I.E those found in grass-fed meat, and coconuts, are not only harmless in the right dosages, but in fact, they can be extremely healthy and beneficial. The fatty acids found in coconut oil are medium chain triglycerides, (MCT's) which are metabolized differently by the body, as they bypass most of the digestive system and make their way almost instantly into the liver, where they are metabolized into ketone bodies, and used as energy. As it turns out, ketone bodies are extremely beneficial for the brain, as they have been found to treat a number of neurological conditions, including Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Put simply, the more ketone bodies that are naturally present within the body, the more the brain will benefit, meaning that the likelihood of a person suffering with dementia and/or Alzheimer’s later in life, will greatly be reduced.
Coconut oil turns your body into a fat-burning machine – It may seem odd to some people, but in order to burn fat, you actually need to fuel your body by eating fat, making sure you go with the right sources. Obesity levels are currently through the roof, and as a result, life expectancies are declining, and people are becoming unhealthier than ever. However, the MCT's found within natural coconut oil, have been found to turn the human body into a fat burning machine. You see, MCT's help to ramp up the metabolism by increasing total energy expenditure rates compared with other fat sources with longer chain molecules. This basically means that each day, you are burning off more energy, which means you are burning more stored body fat and calories. Just 20 – 30g of MCT's per day could increase a person’s energy expenditure for the day by around 5%, which is roughly 120 calories more per day. The fats in coconut oil are used almost instantly for energy, so none are stored as body fat, and obviously the more energy you have, the more active you can become, and the more calories you will burn.
Coconut oil provides anti-bacterial benefits – Coconut oil is rich in a compound known as lauric acid, and on top of that, once enzymatically digested, coconut oil can form a compound known as monolaurin, which is a monoglyceride. Research has found that lauric acid and monolaurin, both possess numerous anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties that can destroy bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other dangerous pathogens. In particular, lauric acid has proven to be very effective when used to treat yeast infections.
It’s so versatile – Ok, perhaps this is technically not a health benefit, but even so, it’s so great that we can’t not talk about it. Another of the many reasons why coconut oil sales have increased exponentially over the last few years, is down to the fact that coconut oil is so diverse and versatile. Not only can you use it in cooking in place of other oils, but you can use it in baking, you can use it in savory dishes, you can use it in desserts, you can use it in smoothies, and it turns out that you can even use it in butter spreads! However, coconut oil can also be used in non-culinary ways as well. For example, when gently massaged onto the skin, coconut oil works as a fantastic moisturizer as it seals in moisture and leaves the skin looking and feeling soft and healthy. When applied to the hair it can be used as a conditioner that will leave the hair feeling soft and smelling amazing. It can even be used to whiten teeth and destroy bacteria in the mouth, getting rid of bad breath. Not bad for a humble oil, huh?