Chances are, you’ve found yourself strolling through the isles at the grocery store and noticed the recurring theme of coconut oil. Perhaps it was in items for cooking, soaps, lotions, maybe drinks. Apparently this stuff is everywhere. The products may reveal what coconut oil is capable of, but over the years, thousands of studies have highlighted the oil as one of the best multi-use products you can buy. Here are a few lesser known benefits of the tropical trend.
Yes, you read that right. Coconut oil can be used as an effective weight-loss supplement. It is full of short and medium-chain fatty acids that when consumed, enable better functioning of the thyroid and endocrine system. Have you ever seen those crazed coffee lovers rave about loading their cup o’ joe with butter and MCT oil? That just so happens to be based on similar research. Additionally, coconut oil removes stress on the pancreas which enhances the body’s metabolic rate, causing you to burn more energy. One study tested 40 women with abdominal obesity and had them supplement with 30 mL (2 tablespoons) of coconut oil per day. The results showed a significant reduction in both BMI and waist circumference over a period of 12 weeks.
Because coconut oil contains such high amounts of fatty acids like lauric, capric and caprylic acid, it has antimicrobial, antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties! This may be used as prevention or a cure to the common cold, or even an infected cut. Interestingly, the body converts lauric acid into a substance called monolaurin, which has been shown to be a powerful agent against viruses and bacteria that cause diseases anywhere from influenza to HIV. Keep yourself healthy in the remaining cold months with coconut oil.
Another lesser known benefit of coconut oil is its ability to improve digestion. Those who suffer chronic IBS may be able to find some relief. For similar reasons as to its immunity benefits, it can deal with various bacteria, fungi and parasites that so often wreak havoc on our digestion. Most oils ingested require adequate amounts of pancreatic enzymes to break down, but not coconut oil. In fact, it passes through the digestive track without the need of any enzymes. Because of this, coconut oil is great for those with “sensitive stomachs” and aids in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins and minerals as well as amino acids.
Nervous about your upcoming dentist appointment? Let me guess, you just need your sweets in the afternoon! In any case, coconut oil can be used to promote better overall mouth and dental health. By swishing some around in your mouth just as you would mouthwash, the oil actually pulls unhealthy bacteria and toxins from surfaces. Research has shown that this could be beneficial in reducing plaque formation and plaque-induced gingivitis. Also, since coconut oil facilitates the absorption of calcium into the body, it can promote stronger enamel, fighting tooth decay.
The ongoing debate of whether saturated fat is the best or worst thing for heart health still remains unsettled. However, regarding coconut oil specifically, studies have proved it to be an incredibly viable option for those on the fence of the debate. Saturated fats make up roughly 90% of coconut oil’s profile and yet, due to its high lauric acid content, it is able to fight against high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. Coconut oil has been noted as not leading to increase in LDL (bad) cholesterol and even protecting the arteries against damage. For those looking to guard against future heart problems, the use of coconut oil may be a safe, effective and delicious way to enjoy better health.