Have you heard about the benefits of coconut oil?
I have it every morning in my smoothie, and I also used it as a moisturizer. I’m telling you-this stuff is wonderful! It does so many amazing things. If you add one new thing to your diet this year, this should be it!
Here are 7 reasons why I’m sold on this food, and why I hope if you haven’t, you’ll soon try it as well.
They Duped Us
For years we’ve been told to stay away from fat. Consuming fattening foods would increase our risk of heart disease, they said. In response, manufacturers produced low-fat just about everything, in the hopes it would make us healthier.
It didn’t. A study published in 2006 showed that a low-fat diet didn’t affect risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, or coronary heart disease. A 2010 analysis of 21 studies reported similar results. And just this year, in a review of over 70 studies involving over 600,000 people, researchers stated:
“Current evidence does not clearly support cardiovascular guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids with low consumption of total saturated fats.”
Coconut is high in saturated fat, so for years we all thought we should avoid it for our good health. Turns out that we were avoiding something that could have been helping us all this time!
7 Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
Prepare to be surprised. You may have suspected that coconut oil was moisturizing and a good source of energy, but did you imagine that a food high in saturated fat might actually be able to help you lose weight? Even I was surprised by that one!
- Weight loss: The fat in coconut is special-it’s made up of fatty acids that the body uses quickly for energy. A 2009 showed the surprising results-coconut oil doesn’t make you fat, and might actually help you lose weight. Researchers gave obese women either soybean oil or coconut oil for 12 weeks. They also had them follow a balanced diet and walk for 50 minutes a day. Those consuming the coconut oil developed higher levels of HDL “good” cholesterol, lower levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol, and reduced their waist circumference. On the other hand, those consuming the soybean oil experienced increases in LDL cholesterol, decreases in HDL cholesterol, and no change in waist circumference. A later 2011 study also found similar results. Coconut oil also tends to help keep you satisfied so you don’t feel hungry. I know my morning smoothie keeps me going for hours!
- Brain function: Want to protect your brain from decline? Eager to avoid Alzheimer’s and dementia? Another reason to add coconut to your daily routine. Called a “brain booster,” it was found in a 2004 study to almost immediately improve cognitive function in older adults with memory problems. A total of 20 patients with Alzheimer’s disease were given either coconut oil fat, or a placebo. After only 90 minutes, researchers noted an increase in recall ability.
- Heart health: As I mentioned above, coconut oil helps boost HDL cholesterol. Many saturated fats do the opposite-lower HDL cholesterol-so this is a surprising benefit with coconut oil. A 2004 study also found that coconut oil lowered LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides, while boosting HDL cholesterol.
- Beautiful skin: If you have dry, rough, itchy skin, or if you suffer from eczema or other skin conditions, try this oil. It helps heal while moisturizing and plumping. It’s made up of more than 90 percent fats, which are quickly absorbed and used by the skin to produce softer results. A 2004 study found that patients with xerosis (extremely dry, itchy skin) who used coconut oil experienced significant improvements in skin hydration, as well as an increased level of fats in the surface (fats are good for skin!). It’s also especially effective because it is a natural antibacterial, so it’s healing as well as moisturizing. A 2008 study reported that it also effectively treated atopic dermatitis in adults. It’s very conditioning for your hair, too!
- Ulcers: Because of its natural antibacterial properties, coconut oil is often named as a natural treatment for stomach ulcers. The oil contains lauric acid (a fatty acid), which can help kill off H. Pylori bacteria-the ones that cause most stomach ulcers. A 1996 study, for instance, found that lauric acid was effective against H. pylori. We don’t have large studies proving that humans who consume coconut oil will cure their ulcers yet, but the evidence is there that it may help-and many people have already tried and experienced success.
- Prostate health: Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)- a swollen prostate-is a condition that affects many men as they get older. If you want to reduce your risk of suffering from this condition, add coconut oil to your diet. A 2007 animal study found that rats with swollen prostates that received coconut oil experienced a significant reduction in prostate swelling. This is an early, preliminary study, but worth paying attention to if this condition is in your family.
- Bone health: Reduce your risk of osteoporosis when you add some coconut oil to your daily diet. A 2012 animal study found that it helped maintain bone structure and prevented bone loss in rats that already had osteoporosis. Another 2012 study found that it also helped protect bones from oxidative damage.
Do you enjoy coconut oil in your daily diet? Please share your thoughts.
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