What is the deal with coconut oil?
Coconut Oil is rated as healthy by most people. Just make a little test and ask your friends and see how they will rate it, good or bad. The marketing machinery works very well and does a good job of making us believe this natural product is some kind of holy grail. And the more you eat from it, the healthier you will get.
It´s a natural product and when we think of coconuts we associate just positive thoughts with it like palm trees, beautiful beaches and endless hours of sunshine. Something like this has to be healthy like nothing else on earth.
Should you avoid coconut oil?
Coconut oil is a saturated fat and it´s the only one that doesn´t come from animals. We typically associate saturated fat with animal products, for example, butter, meat or cheese, and unsaturated fats mostly with olive oil or seeds.
Saturated fat should be used limited and not consumed more than 10% of the daily calories. They are one of the reasons for an increased cholesterol level.
But what about the healthy medium chain fatty acids?
Medium chain fatty acids (MCTs = medium chain triglycerides) are known for being easy to digest. Because of their chain length, no bile acid is needed for the digestion. They are water soluble and go directly into the blood and liver.
Sure, coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids but only around 14%. That´s not much when you think about the mega-hype coconut oil gets.
Researchers have shown there are a lot of more ways to use coconut oil than just eating it. You can use it for:
- oil pulling (oral detoxification and teeth whitening)
- skin and hair
- can have an antifungal effect on scalp
Top 3 benefits of coconut oil for your health
1. Skincare (anti wrinkle care)
Coconut oil is an amazing tool to treat dry skin. You can use it as a massage oil and treat the affected areas. It will perfectly moisturize your skin. And unlike conventional body lotions, coconut oil has no side effects. Coconut oil is already used for thousands of years to help with smooth skin and it´s a well-proven tool for flaking skin.
You can use coconut oil to treat skin problems like dermatitis or eczema. This is the reason why coconut oil is often the base ingredient of many body lotions, soaps or creams.
Furthermore, it is a great antioxidant. And that is the reason for another possible benefit. It is a natural remedy to reduce wrinkles and prevent the sagging of your skin.
Have you ever used baby oil to smooth the skin around your eyes? If you tried it, then you have noticed that it takes the oil some time to fully be absorbed into the skin. In the meantime, you have to deal with the oily shining areas in your face. Doesn´t look cute, right?!
With coconut oil, you won´t have that situation. The oil is absorbed right away. No shiny look around your eyes.
To sum it up, coconut oil is a great anti-aging resource.
2. Oil pulling
Coconut oil pulling can be one of the best ways to remove bacteria and support healthy teeth. It´s also a good way to naturally whiten your teeth. It is a great procedure to detoxify your mouth and make it a germ-free zone.
It is easy to use. Just take a tablespoon of coconut oil and swish it in your mouth for about 10 minutes.
Imagine that the oil works like soap. It cleans your mouth like soap cleans dirty dishes. The result is a shiny, clean oral environment with less dental cavities and other diseases.
The benefits of coconut oil pulling for your health are:
- fresh breath
- reduce inflammation
- heal bleeding gums
- prevent cavities
- supports your immune system
- smooth lips
- positive effect when your throat is dry
3. It can help build and maintain muscle mass
As mentioned before coconut oil contains MCTs. They help to expand your body´s energy level and support burning calories.
The MCTs from coconut oil are often added to popular muscle building products, for example in Muscle Milk. But Muscle Milk is a processed food and some of the original key benefits of MCTs will be reduced.
So it makes definitely sense to bypass the processed food and go straight to the source. Add a tablespoon of coconut oil directly to your meals to have the most effective benefits.
Different types of coconut oil
Be aware that refined or processed coconut oil can be bleached, chemically processed to increase shelf life or overheated past the preferred melting point. Like with other processed foods the refined versions are not as nutrient dense as the unprocessed foods. They will be deficient in key nutrients.
The processing changes the chemical structure of the oil. It is often tasteless and has no coconut smell. It is ok for external uses but in general, avoid buying hydrogenated coconut oil.
For internal use only buy virgin, cold pressed or unrefined organic oil. The cold pressed version has the most aromatic and flavorful taste among the oils.
Can Coconut Oil help you lose weight?
Compared to other oils coconut oil has a unique nutrition profile.
The particular reason that makes the tropical oil especially beneficial for weight loss is that it consists mostly of MCTs.
How can MCTs help you lose weight?
Medium fatty chain acids are metabolized differently than the longer chain fats.
To metabolize longer chain fatty acids our body needs the help of bile acid (produced in the liver) to break it down into smaller fatty acids.
MCT fats don´t need bile acid to be broken down. They are sent directly to the liver from the digestive tract. Here they can be used for energy right away. MCT fats are recommended to use when you have problems with the digestive system.
Weight loss is about being in a calorie deficit.
Coconut oil has fewer calories than the most oils. But does it make a difference if you use an oil that has 1kcal less? No, it doesn´t! It does not significantly impact your daily calorie deficit.
However, the nutrients in coconut oil make the difference!
One important compound is caprylic acid. Caprylic acid is beneficial to calcium and magnesium and amino acid absorption. All of that is beneficial for building muscle mass.
Muscles are super important for a healthy life and for a long-lasting weight loss.
Coconut oil is not a miracle cure for weight loss.
You will not lose weight just by eating the tropical flavored oil. But overall, it is beneficial to your health and you should include it in your diet.
Treat this oil like any other fat, what means don´t over do it and use it in moderation. It brings a nice flavor to every meal but keep in mind EATING MORE WILL NOT MAKE YOU MORE HEALTHY.
To get the best health benefits from this natural product always buy the organic products and avoid highly processed brands.