Coconut Oil – Tasty, Healthy, & Empowering

Coconut Oil – Tasty, Healthy, & Empowering

Dr Cesar Lara

Coconut oil rarely gets the appreciation it deserves. There are thousands of studies proving that coconut oil is one of the healthiest foods we can eat.

Coconuts are primarily made up of unique fats called medium-chain fatty acids, or medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs)(1). This composition is what makes coconut oil one of the most beneficial fats on the planet.

This article explains how the good fats in coconut oil help with weight loss and keep you healthy.

Coconut Oil Boosts Weight loss and Suppresses Your Appetite

Most foods contain predominantly long-chain fatty acids, which is why coconut oil is vastly different from other fats in the diet.

The thing with MCTs is that they are metabolized differently compared to long-chain fatty acids.

The MCTs in coconut oil are sent straight to the liver from your digestive tract where you turn them into ketone bodies for quick energy. These are the fats often used by people on a ketogenic diet for weight loss(2).

Using coconut oil during the day — drizzled on your salad and vegetables or you can add it to your coffee — help keep your ketones up to a level that can suppress your appetite(3).

Furthermore, some evidence suggests that MCTs are stored less efficiently than other fats(4).

Coconut Oil Can Help Burn Calories

A primary property of coconut oil is that it’s "thermogenic" — eating it tends to increase fat burning(5) when compared to a similar amount of calories from other fats.

One study(6) shows that one to two tablespoons of 15-30 grams MCTs per day increased energy expenditure by 5 percent, that's about 120 calories per day.

Other studies(7) confirm these results. Humans burn more calories by replacing the fats they are eating with MCT fats.

Therefore, the calories from coconut oil are NOT the same as calories from olive oil or butter — although these fats are healthy too.

Build Muscle With Coconut Oil

MCTs aren’t just good for fat burning — they're also excellent for improving the function of your skeletal muscle(8). The MCTs found in coconut are used in a lot of popular muscle-building products.

However, the majority of heavily produced supplements use processed forms of MCTs. You can add several tablespoons of coconut oil to your muscle-building shake or try an MCT oil derived from 100% pure coconut oil.

Improves Energy and Endurance

Coconut oil provides sustained energy.

When consuming a quality, unrefined coconut oil, you can get the most coconut oil benefits as its MCTs are sent directly to the liver to be transformed into long-lasting energy.

Athletes are known to use coconut oil as their source of fuel during training and races for long-distance events.

It's easy to make your own homemade energy fuel by mixing coconut oil, raw honey, and chia seeds. Just mix together one tablespoon of each and eat it 30 minutes prior to exercise.

Reduces Inflammation and Arthritis

One study shows that the high levels of polyphenols, or antioxidants, present in unrefined coconut oil decreased inflammation and managed arthritis(9) more effectively than leading medications.

In another study, coconut oil that was harvested with only medium heat was found to suppress inflammatory cells and worked as both a pain reliever and an anti-inflammatory.

Prevents Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure

Coconut oil contains “good” saturated fats.

Saturated fats increase the "good" cholesterol known as HDL cholesterol(10) in your body and also help convert the "bad" small, dense LDL cholesterol particles into large LDL particles(11), which are mostly benign.

By increasing the HDL in the body, coconut oil helps lower the risk of heart disease. Coconut oil also supports heart health by reducing high triglycerides.

Overall, saturated fats do not harm your blood cholesterol profile as previously believed.

Improves Digestion and Balances Gut Microbiome

Coconut can help improve digestion and absorption as it helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins, magnesium, and calcium.

If you take coconut oil at the same time as omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in fish oil, it can make them twice as effective.

Coconut oil can improve gut health and balance your gut bacteria by destroying the harmful bacteria and candida(12). A candida imbalance can decrease your stomach acid, which causes inflammation(13) and poor digestion.

Improves Memory and Brain Function

Coconut oil can efficiently fuel your brain cells.

In a study published in the Journal of Neurobiology of Aging(14), researchers found that the MCTs in coconut oil improved the cognitive function of older subjects with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease.

All patients had marked improvement in their recall ability after taking MCTs. These fatty acids are absorbed quickly in the body and used by the brain without the use of insulin.

In my personal journey, especially with marathon training and for improving my waistline, brain health and overall health, organic coconut oil is a staple of my daily routine. I use it for cooking and as an additive to my salads, coffee, or tea. I even take tablespoons on their own for a healthy boost of fats.

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