Coconut Oil Health Benefits

coconut oil health benefits

I am grateful that years ago I discovered coconut oil and the benefits of using it.

There is so much that could be said about the various coconut oil health benefits. Even better is that coconut oil itself has begun to take center stage among healthy food enthusiasts. Its renewed discovery has come during a time when our world contains more environmental and food toxins than ever before.

Coconut oil and its health benefits are being  hailed as a super ingredient, super-food and lately as a super beauty aid as well. Add that it can be consumed by all ages and it becomes a must-have in anyone's natural health kit. I keep my jar right where I can reach it in a moment's notice.

Remember, organic on the label will ensure 100% non-GMO. It is best consumed in its unprocessed form.  Look for extra virgin that has not been hydrogenated, bleached, refined or deodorized. Using anything less makes it harder on your liver.

A Dozen Coconut Oil Health Benefits

1 brain health

This one aspect of all the coconut oil health benefits is my overall favorite. It none of the other benefits applied, I would still use coconut oil because of what I know about the blood-brain barrier (BBB).

It was thought for years that the tissues of the brain served as a barrier to keep damaging substances from reaching the neurons of the brain. Thus, the nickname blood-brain-barrier. But instead of a barrier, it would be more accurate to consider it as a filter.

Most medications are unable to directly affect the brain: the blood-brain-barrier filters most chemicals in the blood, blocking them from entering the brain. The light, small molecules in coconut oil are different: able to cross over the BBB, they are used therapeutically to help those with memory loss or other brain disorders, Alzheimer's, depression, and more.

"Considering that the medium-chain triglyceride found in coconut oil (known as caprylic acid) does cross the blood-brain-barrier and has recently been found to have anti-convulsant properties, coconut oil likely does have a neuro-protective effect."

In plain English, it is brain protection against the likes of Alzheimer's. I want to protect my brain, so I use coconut oil daily!

Read "How Coconut Oil May Rescue Brain from Alzheimer's Diseasefor more information on this topic.

2 brain food

Similar to brain health, but with a twist; there are only two types of fuel your body can convert into energy: carbs/sugar, or fat. Again, ketones are what your body produces when it converts fat (as opposed to glucose) into energy. And a primary source of ketone bodies are the medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) found in coconut oil. In fact, coconut oil contains about 66 percent MCTs.

While your brain is quite happy running on glucose, there's evidence suggesting that ketone bodies may actually help restore and renew neurons and nerve function in your brain, even after damage has set in. Interestingly, the mechanism of this MCT-ketone metabolism appears to be that your body treats MCTs as a carbohydrate and not a fat.  This allows the ketone energy to hit your bloodstream without the normal insulin spike associated with carbohydrates entering your bloodstream. So in effect, coconut oil is a fat that acts like a carbohydrate when it comes to brain fuel.

3 metabolism

Coconut oil is composed of medium-chain-length fatty acids, or triglycerides (MCT’s). These are shown to have many health benefits, including raising the body’s metabolism. Naturally, as we get older, we find our metabolism declines and organs become increasingly strained. Plus, blood sugar imbalances can become more frequent leading to pre-diabetic conditions. The healthy fat properties within the oil are known to be effective in stabilizing blood sugar and boosting metabolism.  This ensures the negative fat doesn't get stored.

4 weight loss

Hand in hand with a smoother running metabolism is weight loss.  When choosing a fat to speed up weight loss, limit the use of olive oil and other predominantly monounsaturated fats like peanut oil.  Coconut oil for weigh loss is the far better choice. 

Coconut oil solidifies at 76 degrees Fahrenheit. It is best to liquefy it in hot water before consuming as a weight loss aid.  Twenty minutes before a mealtime is the best time to take your coconut oil. This will drastically decrease appetite and help you satisfied quickly with smaller portions.

To liquefy, mix 1 or 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil in a mug and add hot water or herbal tea. Coffee is not suggested. Stir to melt and drink.  Use the following guidelines to determine how much oil to consume before a meal.  Start out gradual so your body gets used to the oil.  You can work your up to the suggested amounts over time.

  • If you are between 90 - 130 pounds, use 1 Tablespoon coconut oil before each meal for a total of 3 Tablespoons per day.
  • If you are between 131 - 180 pounds, use 1.5 Tablespoons coconut oil before each meal for a total of 4.5 Tablespoons per day.
  • Over 180 pounds, use 2 Tablespoon coconut oil before each meal for a total of 6 Tablespoons per day.

If you don't want to drink it, simple eat the coconut oil and let it melt in your mouth before swallowing.

5 skin

The best thing for your skin is to replace your commercial, petroleum-based and water-logged products with coconut oil. Try it as sun protection, salve, moisturizing lotion, non-irritant deodorant, make-up removal, shaving cream, diaper rash protection, age spot removal, stretch mark reduction and as a massage oil for easing both surface and muscular tension and pain. 

6 immune booster

Coconut oil has anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. As a bonus, it has lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid.  These agents will significantly boost your immune system if taken daily. 

Want to fend off a cold or flu; replace cooking oil or butter with coconut oil.  Try adding a bit to your morning smoothie or hot tea before bed. It’s the perfect ingredient to help get rid of congestion, sore throat and/or pain in your joints, bones, head and ears.

Lauric acid in coconut oil in combination with oregano oil has even been found more effective in fighting the staph bacterial than antibiotics.  Lauric acid has also been shown to be preventative against some cancers. Coconut oil is over 40 percent lauric acid, the richest source naturally available.

  • Dosage suggestion: For every 50 pounds of body weight, consume 1 teaspoon of coconut oil a day.  Work your way up to 1 tablespoon per day if using to treat joint pain, fibromyalgia or arthritis.

More Good News on Coconut Oil health benefits can be found on the The Weston A Price Foundation website.

7 pain killer

The news just keeps getting better.  Another health benefit of coconut oil is that it is also an anti-inflammatory and considered the best natural remedy for inflamed muscles and joints. Use it topically (see Skin) or internally (see Immune Booster). If coconut oil alone doesn't do the trick, try adding the following ingredients:

  • Unsulphured Black-strap Molasses
  • Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Turmeric 
  • Essential Oils (one that suits your needs)

Usually, one of the above added will do the trick.  If not, feel free to add the others as well. This all depends on your particular system and the level of pain and inflammation you are experiencing. When combining with the first three ingredients, the ratio is 1:1.  Adding essential oils, you need far less; usually one drop per teaspoon of coconut oil as essential oils are super concentrated.

8 athletes foot and candida

What do these have in common?  They both can be treated with anti-fungal properties; which coconut oil contains.  The anti-fungal property of coconut oil combined with the three fatty acids (see Immune Booster) it contains have been found to be effective against Candida when taken internally.  Using this chemical-free and nutrient dense oil as a salve on athletes’ foot will soothe the skin and help eliminate the problem.You can read about In vitro antimicrobial properties of coconut oil on Candida species in Ibadan, Nigeria, found on PubMed.

9 digestive aid

The digestive health advantages of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA) over long-chain fatty acids (LCFA) are due to the differences in the way our bodies metabolize these fats. Because the MCFA molecules are smaller, they require less energy and fewer enzymes to break them down for digestion. They are digested and absorbed quickly and with minimal effort. MCFA are broken down almost immediately by enzymes in the saliva and gastric juices so that pancreatic fat-digesting enzymes are not even essential. Therefore, there is less strain on the pancreas and digestive system. This has important implications for patients who suffer from digestive and metabolic problems. They can also be of importance for people suffering from diabetes, obesity, gallbladder disease, pancreatitis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and some forms of cancer.

10 nutrient absorption

As we get older our bodies don’t function as well as they did in earlier years. Our pancreas doesn’t make as many digestive enzymes, our intestines don’t absorb nutrients as well, the whole process of digestion and elimination moves at a lower rate of efficiency. As a result, older people often suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Because medium-chain fatty acids are easy to digest and improve vitamin and mineral absorption they should be included in the meals of older people. This is easy to do if the meals are prepared with coconut oil. Unlike other fatty acids, medium-chain fatty acids are absorbed directly from the intestines into the portal vein and sent straight to the liver where they are, for the most part, burned as fuel. Medium-chain fatty acids produce energy. Other dietary fats produce body fat.

11 detoxification

When combining the coconut oil health benefits with oil pulling, the results are almost unbelievable. Oil pulling is known as a powerful method of detoxifying the body.  Coconut oil expert Dr. Bruce Fife, author of Oil Pulling Therapy says "Oil pulling is one of the most remarkable methods of detoxification and healing I have ever experienced in my career as a naturopathic physician.

Oil pullers have reported these outcomes:

  • Whiter teeth
  • Healthy, pink gums
  • Increased Energy
  • Decreased migraine headaches
  • Clear sinuses
  • Less severe asthma
  • Decreased allergies
  • Cured gingivitis
  • Improved PMS symptoms
  • Regulated menstrual cycles
  • Better sleep
  • Clear skin

12 cholesterol and trans-fatty acid free

If there is a dish that you would like to cook with a small amount of oil, coconut oil is a great choice because it has a lower smoke point than other oils. In other words, because it is nearly a completely saturated fat, it is much less susceptible to heat-induced damage. it will stay stable at high temperatures. It is also great in baking. While coconut oil is a saturated fat, it is cholesterol free and trans-fatty acid free.  It has actually been shown to help lower cholesterol levels due to its ability to stimulate thyroid function.