The Truth about Coconut Oil
The truth about coconut oil is obvious to anyone who has studied the health of those who live in traditional tropical cultures, where coconut has been a nutritious diet staple for thousands of years.
Back in the 1930′s, a dentist named Dr. Weston Price traveled throughout the South Pacific, examining traditional diets and their effect on dental and overall health. He found that those eating diets high in coconut products were healthy and trim, despite the high fat concentration in their diet, and that heart disease was virtually non-existent.
Similarly, in 1981, researchers studied populations of two Polynesian atolls. Coconut was the chief source of caloric energy in both groups. The results, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, demonstrated that both populations exhibited positive vascular health.
In fact, no evidence exists that the naturally occurring high saturated fat intake had any kind of harmful effect in these populations!
That’s not what you expected, is it? Based on 60 years of negative public policy towards naturally occurring saturated fats, you would expect these cultures to be rife with clogged arteries, obesity and heart disease.
It may be surprising for you to realize that the naturally occurring saturated fat in coconut oil actually has some amazing health benefits, such as:
- Promoting your heart health
- Promoting weight loss, when needed
- Supporting your immune system health
- Supporting a healthy metabolism
- Providing you with an immediate energy source
- Keeping your skin healthy and youthful looking
- Supporting the proper functioning of your thyroid gland
But how is this possible? Does coconut oil have some secret ingredients not found in other saturated fats? The answer is a resounding “yes.”
Coconut Oil’s Secret Ingredient
Fifty percent of the fat content in coconut oil is a fat rarely found in nature called lauric acid. If you’re a frequent reader of my newsletter you already know that I consider lauric acid a “miracle” ingredient because of its unique health promoting properties.
Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa properties .
Monolaurin is a monoglyceride which can actually destroy lipid coated viruses such as:
- HIV, herpes
- Influenza virus
- Various pathogenic bacteria
- Protozoa such as giardia lamblia.
Lauric acid is a powerful virus and gram-negative bacteria destroyer, and coconut oil contains the most lauric acid of any substance on earth!
Capric acid, another coconut fatty acid present in smaller amounts, has also been added to the list of coconut’s antimicrobial components.
This is one of the key reasons you should consider consuming coconut oil, because there aren’t many sources of monolaurin in our diet. But the health benefits of coconut oil don’t stop there.
The Benefits of Medium-Chain Fatty Acids
Coconut oil is about 2/3 medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), also called medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs. These types of fatty acids produce a whole host of health benefits. Coconut oil is nature’s richest source of these healthy MCFAs.
By contrast, most common vegetable or seed oils are comprised of long chain fatty acids (LCFAs), also known as long-chain triglycerides or LCTs.
et me tell you why these long-chain fatty acids are not as healthy for you as the MCFAs found in coconut oil:
- LCFAs are difficult for your body to break down — they require special enzymes for digestion.
- LCFAs put more strain on your pancreas, liver and your entire digestive system.
- LCFAs are predominantly stored in your body as fat.
- LCFAs can be deposited within your arteries in lipid forms such as cholesterol.
- In contrast to LFCAs, the MCFAs found in coconut oil have many health benefits, including the following beneficial qualities:
- MCFAs are smaller. They permeate cell membranes easily, and do not require special enzymes to be utilized effectively by your body.
- MCFAs are easily digested, thus putting less strain on your digestive system.
- MCFAs are sent directly to your liver, where they are immediately converted into energy rather than being stored as fat.
- MCFAs actually help stimulate your body’s metabolism, leading to weight loss.
Coconut Oil Helps Fight Diabetes
Your body sends medium-chain fatty acids directly to your liver to use as energy. This makes coconut oil a powerful source of instant energy to your body, a function usually served in the diet by simple carbohydrates.
But although coconut oil and simple carbohydrates share the ability to deliver quick energy to your body, they differ in one crucial respect.
Coconut oil does not produce an insulin spike in your bloodstream. You read that correctly, Coconut oil acts on your body like a carbohydrate, without any of the debilitating insulin-related effects associated with long-term high carbohydrate consumption!
Diabetics and those with pre-diabetes conditions (an exploding health epidemic in America), should immediately realize the benefit of a fast acting energy source that doesn’t produce an insulin spike in your body. In fact, coconut oil added to the diets of diabetics and pre-diabetics has actually been shown to help stabilize weight gain, which can dramatically decrease your likelihood of getting adult onset type-2 Diabetes.[Coconut Oil, the Friend to Athletes and Dieters
If you live in the United States, you have an almost 70 percent chance of being overweight. And, by now, I’m sure you’re well aware that obesity affects your quality of life and is linked to many health concerns.
One of the best benefits of coconut oil lies in its ability to help stimulate your metabolism. Back in the 1940s, farmers found out about this effect by accident when they tried using inexpensive coconut oil to fatten their livestock. It didn’t work!
Instead, coconut oil made the animals lean, active and hungry. However, many animal and human research studies have demonstrated that replacing LCFAs with MCFAs results in both decreased body weight and reduced fat deposition.
In fact, the ability of MCFAs to be easily digested, to help stimulate the metabolism and be turned into energy has entered the sports arena. Several studies have now shown that MCFAs can enhance physical or athletic performance.
Additionally, research has demonstrated that, due to its metabolic effect, coconut oil increases the activity of the thyroid. And you’ve probably heard that a sluggish thyroid is one reason why some people are unable to lose weight, no matter what they do.
Besides weight loss, there are other advantages to boosting your metabolic rate. Your healing process accelerates. Cell regeneration increases to replace old cells, and your immune system functions better overall.
Coconut Oil on Your Skin
Besides the mounting medical and scientific evidence that coconut oil has powerful positive health benefits when eaten, it has also been used for decades by professional massage therapists to knead away tight stressed muscles.
However, you don’t have to be a professional massage therapist to gain the skin and tissue support benefits of coconut oil. Just use coconut oil as you would any lotion. Coconut oil is actually ideal for skin care. It helps protect your skin from the aging effects of free radicals, and can help improve the appearance of skin with its anti-aging benefits.
In fact, physiologist and biochemist Ray Peat, Ph.D. considers coconut oil an antioxidant, due to its stability and resistance to oxidation and free radical formation. Plus, he believes it reduces our need for the antioxidant protection of vitamin E.Like Dr. Peat, many experts believe coconut oil may help restore more youthful-looking skin. When coconut oil is absorbed into your skin and connective tissues, it helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by helping to keep your connective tissues strong and supple, and aids in exfoliating the outer layer of dead skin cells, making your skin smoother.
Coconut Oil and Your Heart
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S. And heart disease is often a silent killer. The first sign of cardiovascular disease is commonly a heart attack, and sadly, over one third of heart attacks are fatal.
And despite the propaganda, the truth is this: it is unsaturated fats that are primarily involved in heart disease, not the naturally occurring saturated fats, as you have been led to believe.
Plus, the polyunsaturated fats in vegetable and seed oils encourage the formation of blood clots by increasing platelet stickiness. Coconut oil helps to promote normal platelet function.