Coconuts are an exotic food found highly in the Western world. Where coconuts are more popularly grown people consuming them have been known to be more health conscious. Coconuts have been used as a dietary staple and have been thrived on for generations. These people eat over 60% of their calories from coconuts and are the biggest consumers of saturated fats in the world but are in excellent health, with no evidence of heart disease. Two studies were done testing the affects of coconut oil on women and in rats. Forty women were tested on how coconut oil it improved their cholesterol levels. The study showed that coconut oil reduced Total and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL compared to soybean oil. In the study performed on rats, coconut oil reduced triglycerides, total and LDL cholesterol, increased HDL and improved blood coagulation factors and antioxidant status.
This improvement in cardiovascular risk factors should theoretically lead to a reduced risk of heart disease over a long period of time. In both studies coconut oil proved to lower the important risk factors like Total, LDL and HDL cholesterol, which may translate to a reduced risk of heart disease.
Obesity is still one of the biggest health problems in the world. It is a fact that food affects people differently whether it’s the ingredients in the food or calories obtained from intaking the food. These medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil can increase energy expenditure compared to the same amount of calories from longer chain fats.
One study found that 15-30 grams of MCTs per day increased 24 hour energy expenditure by 5%, totaling about 120 calories per day. Which over time can potentially lead to weight loss over a long period.
While replacing dietary LCTs with MCTs men and women increase their daily energy expenditure (metabolic rate). So,assuming your calorie intake and exercise remain unchanged, any increase in metabolic rate through the addition of MCTs to your diet will result in the loss of body fat.
In one recent study men were given varying amounts of medium and long chain triglycerides were tested. The men eating the most MCTs ate 256 fewer calories a day on average. Another study was done whom involved 14 healthy men who ate the most MCTs at breakfast ate significantly fewer calories at lunch. The fatty acids in coconut oil can significantly reduce/ control your appetite, which may positively affect body weight over a long term. MCTs have also been shown to improve satiety of meals, meaning you feel fuller, and you’re more satisfied quicker, making you less likely to over-eat and ingest too many calories.
Coconut oil can serve in various purposes that have nothing to do with eating it, but rather than applying it topically. Many people are using it for cosmetic purposes and to improve the health and appearance of their skin and hair. Studies on individuals with dry skin show that coconut oil can improve the moisture and lipid content of their skin. Coconut oil can also be very protective against hair damage. Coconut oil can be an effective form of sunscreen blocking about 20% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Another way coconut can help your overall hygiene is using it like mouthwash in a process called oil pulling, which can kill some of the harmful bacteria in your mouth, improve dental health, and reduce bad breath.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia worldwide and occurs primarily in elderly individuals. In Alzheimer’s patients, there appears to be a reduced ability to use glucose for energy in certain parts of the brain. Ketone bodies can supply energy for the brain and researchers have speculated that ketones can provide an alternative energy source for these malfunctioning cells and reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s. In one 2006 study, consumption of medium chain triglycerides lead to an immediate improvement in brain function in patients with milder forms of Alzheimer’s. Other studies support these findings and medium chain triglycerides are being intensively studied as potential therapeutic agents in Alzheimer’s disease. These studies show that the fatty acids in coconut oil can increase blood levels of ketone bodies, supplying energy for the brain cells of Alzheimer’s patients and relieving symptoms.
MCT Oil- The Most Underrated Supplement. By: Bryan Hamann. Lean and Muscular. http://www.leanandmuscular.org/mct-oil.php
The Truth About Coconut Oil: 10 Facts You Need to Know. By: Kris Gunnars. http://cdn.eatlocalgrown.com/2-coconut-oil.html