In the past, coconut oil has gotten a bad rap, and although study after study concludes the effectiveness of coconut oil, naysayers claim there’s no scientific proof coconut oil is really the game changer many experts make it out to be.
Ok, when solely looking at the fact that coconut oil is high in saturated fat, I can see why people would be a tad skeptical. I mean, just hearing the words, “saturated fat,” and I think high cholesterol levels, gunked up arteries, or heart attacks.
But. But! Come to find out, not all saturated fats are out to get us. There are various types of saturated fats, all performing different actions in the bod.
For example, lauric acid is a type of saturated fat that actually raises our good cholesterol (HDL). It also happens to be the primary type of saturated fat found in coconut oil.
I know, cholesterol is another one of those words that we automatically associate with strokes and heart disease. When in fact our bodies need cholesterol or else we wouldn’t be able to function. Therefore, upping our grand ole HDL cholesterol won’t increase our risk of disease.
***With that being said, scientists recently discovered a gene mutation that can cause one’s high HDL levels to actually work against them. Their findings suggest carriers of this particular gene “had a significantly higher risk of heart disease.” Basically if you happen to carry this mutated gene, the standard HDL rules don’t apply.
Anywho. Back to coconut oil!
If you are new to the whole coconut oil scene, you’ll quickly find you have several different coconut oils to choose from. Word to the wise: Try to keep from buying the very first jar you lay your eyes on! We have plenty of coconut oil varieties available to us these days, but some definitely rank better than others. Not really knowing what to look for can make the task of picking the one a smidge difficult.
You want to search for a coconut oil that has gone through as little altering as possible. Take Skinny & Co. Coconut Oil for instance. It is the only 100% raw and alkaline coconut oil in the world. A food is considered raw when it has never been heated above 120°F.
Why the heck does that matter, right?
High temperatures kill off nutrients! *Whomp whomp* So, by consuming raw foods, you’re getting way more of the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc. it originally started out with.
Think of it this way. The closer a food is to its natural state, the better.
And due to Skinny & Co.’s patent-pending system for extracting the oil from coconut meat, it is as close to an actual coconut as you’re gonna get.
In addition to minimal processing, you want a coconut oil that is free of added chemicals, otherwise known as virgin coconut oil.
Since virgin coconut oil “has not been chemically treated,” Professor of nutritional sciences, Thomas Brenna, says it “is a different thing in terms of a health risk perspective.”
He brought up the fact that much of coconut oil’s stigma stems from 40+ year old studies where researchers used partially hydrogenated (chemically treated) coconut oil.
Where there’s partially hydrogenated oil, there is trans fats.
Not familiar with trans fats? Well for starters, they suck. Plain and simple. I say this because they can negatively effect both the LDL and HDL levels.
They’re known for raising our bad cholesterol, and lowering our good cholesterol.
To sum things up, don’t be fooled by poser oils. Virgin coconut oil is the way to go. Simply make sure it’s high quality, nutrient rich, and zero chemicals have messed with it.
Alrighty, guys! Ready to find out just some of the ways coconut oil can improve our health? Below you’ll read what 11 experts have to say about the superfood and all its powerful effects!
1. Coconut oil can help keep our tickers out of trouble
Dr. Mary G. Enig, a scientist studying the effects coconut oil has on the body, has long been convinced of virgin coconut oil’s kick butt benefits, especially when it comes to preventing and treating heart disease.
In addition to balancing out our cholesterol and triglyceride levels, the fatty acids found in coconut oil also nips LDL-oxidation in the bud, which is notorious for “initiating the process of atherosclerosis.”
If left untreated, atherosclerosis can be bad news bears. It’s when plaque builds up inside the arteries and can lead to some pretty serious diseases involving both the heart and brain.
2. Coconut oil shows promise as a treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease
When her husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, Dr Mary Newport relentlessly searched for anything that may help slow his cognitive decline. Her research led her to ketones and its likelihood to prevent as well as treat Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Newport clarifies that “the neurons in certain areas of the brain are unable to take in glucose due to insulin resistance, and slowly die off… if these cells had access to ketone bodies, they could potentially stay alive and continue to function.” (Remember, ketones can take the place of glucose!)
She began having her husband consume 2 Tbsp. of coconut oil twice daily. Within a matter of days, Dr. Newport noticed improvements. And throughout the next several weeks, her husband started acting like his old self again.
He could find the words that used to escape him and was able to have normal conversations, reading no longer confused him, the tremors disappeared, his energy returned to where he felt like exercising, plus much more.
3. Coconut oil can cool off inflammation
Natural health author, Mary West, explains that “virgin coconut oil may relieve the inflammation associated with [arthritis].” Thanks to the oil’s powerful antioxidants, studies show it can actually work better than anti-inflammatory meds.
4. Coconut oil can give our immune systems a swift kick in the pants
Virgin coconut oil contains lauric as well as caprylic acid, two fatty acids known for warding off bacterial infections and candida (yeast overgrowth). Holistic nutritionist, Heather McClees, states that “coconut is actually comprised of 50% lauric acid, which the body converts to monolaurin, an antiviral agent that fights off a variety of viruses and pathogens.”
A few of these include listeria monocytogenes (bacterium that causes food poisoning), herpes, flu, among others. Yowza!
It may come as no surprise that coconut oil makes a killer moisturizer. However, Skinny and Co. takes it a step further by offering a whole skincare line of coconut oil-infused products. Think lip balms, sugar scrubs (my personal favorite), and shampoo bars! Check out all their pampering goodies right here.
Although, that’s just the beginning when you’re talking about coconut oil and the skin. Research shows virgin coconut oil can wipe out a whopping “95% of staphyoloccal colonization” in people suffering from atopic dermatitis, who tend to be more susceptible when developing Staph infections.
Additionally, virgin coconut oil can boost the barrier function in a premature baby’s delicate, still developing skin. According to Northwestern University’s assistant professor of clinical dermatology and pediatrics, Dr. Peter Lio, “There is a strong suggestion that by strengthening the skin barrier in these at-risk infants, morbidity and mortality due to sepsis can be reduced.”
6. Coconut oil is a gallbladder’s pal
Because coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), also called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), it’s a super easy form of fat to digest. Liver specialist, Dr. Sandra Cabot, tells us MCFAs will not “stress your gallbladder because they do not require bile for their digestion.”
You might have heard that following a low-fat diet is recommended for people with gallbladder issues. However, Dr. Cabot sets the record straight. Consuming good fats (e.g. virgin coconut oil) in smaller quantities in fact “helps to flush the gallbladder clean and avoid stagnation of bile.”
7. Coconut oil helps to keep our digestion moving along smoothly
As I mentioned above, this valuable fat gives our bodies a break by being easy to digest. Author, Jordan Reasoner, explains how coconut oil is a breeze to “move through the blood and into the liver to be quickly converted right into energy.”
Another sweet benefit of coconut oil is its ability to help us absorb more of the nutrients passing through. And if that weren’t enough, the antifungal, antiviral, as well as the antimicrobial properties of virgin coconut oil go after the crappy critters (pun totally intended) ready to wreak havoc on the gut.
8. Coconut oil is shown to put a pep in our step
Tired of being tired? Believe me, I completely understand. I’ve yet to try this out for myself, but consuming just 1 – 2 Tbsp. of coconut oil can kick our energy up a notch. Best-selling author, Brendan Brazier points out that the MCFA’s found in coconut oil, “are digested in the body like a carbohydrate; effortlessly converted by the liver into energy.”
Many athletes and non-athletes alike are turning to coconut oil for longer lasting energy and greater endurance.
9. Coconut oil can assist us in shedding some weight
Tis true, dear Beastlings. Coconut oil can actually help us burn more calories, thanks to its MCFA’s. Authority Nutrition creator, Kris Gunners, BSc, mentions a study that found “15-30 grams of MCTs per day increased 24 hour energy expenditure by 5%, totaling about 120 calories per day.”
Consume that amount regularly and before you know it, you could be down a couple pounds.
Losing weight by simply eating? Yes, please!
10. Coconut oil can play a role in both preventing cancer and kicking it to the curb
Coconut oil does not mess around when it comes to cancer. This jack of all trades oil creates ketones, what the Coconut Research Center defines as “a special type of high-energy fuel produced in the liver.” Ketones step up to the plate when our glucose levels, the body’s main source of energy, get low.
So why share that stuff with you? Well, get this. Cancer cells feast off of glucose! And if a body’s glucose levels are running on empty, cancer cells go hungry and begin to croak. Following a low or no carb, high fat eating plan, known as the Ketogenic diet, is believed to be ideal for starving cancer cells.
Not only is coconut oil a possible treatment for cancer, it may prevent cancer from ever happening to begin with. Naturopath, Dr. Josh Axe chalks it up to those marvelous MCFAs in coconut oil. As these fatty acids “digest the lipid walls of bacteria, they also can kill the helicobacter pylori bacteria that has been known as increasing the risk of stomach cancer.”
This, along with what coconut oil can potentially do for Alzheimer’s, is pretty fricking major. Soooo, what I want to know is why this information isn’t more well known?
11. Start oil pulling with coconut oil to polish up those pearly whites and more
Swishing coconut oil around your mouth is the Ayurvedic detox method called oil pulling (while many typically favor coconut oil and its antibacterial properties, if you’re a traditionalist, you’ll want to use a high quality sesame oil).
As you “pull,” push, and/or move the oil through and around your teeth, gums, and tongue, you’re drawing out the toxins as well as unwelcome bacteria hanging out in your pie hole. To reap the biggest benefits, swish up to 1 Tbsp. oil for about 20 minutes unless, that is, you’re a newbie with some gnarly gag reflexes.
In that case, you might think about starting with only a few minutes and then work your way up. When done consistently, this 3,000 year old practice can apparently work all sorts of magic. People have reported sturdier gums, whiter, stronger teeth, fresher breath, plaque removal, etc.
What’s more, oil pulling benefits are said to extend beyond our oral health. Dr. Joseph Mercola M.D. tells us that we can even find “rapid relief from systemic health problems such as arthritis, diabetes and heart disease.”
Pretty incredible, huh?
Before I go, I want to point out that the above tidbits of info are merely a handful of reasons why coconut oil should be a staple in everyone’s kitchen. There are dozens more unexpected benefits out there.
Yeppers! I never would’ve guessed coconut oil could help regulate our hormones, treat UTIs and yeast infections, or prevent osteoporosis. I mean, the list goes on and on!
Not too shabby for something that has carried a blemished reputation for decades, you know?
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