Coconuts and coconut oil aren't featured strongly, or at all, in most Americans’ diets. However many healthy cultures, the versatile, tasty fruit serves as a staple. Here are five powerful reasons why you should incorporate coconuts, or their oil, into your diet today.
It may seem counterintuitive that a fat could help you lose weight; and even more counterintuitive, if you happen to know that the fats in coconuts are saturated. It is important to note, however, that the dangers of saturated fats have been blown way out of proportion and that these fats are not as harmful as dieticians once went to great lengths to convince us.
Furthermore, the type of saturated fats coconuts contain are different than the other saturated fats with which you might be familiar. The saturated fats found in coconuts are medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs for short. These are shorter in length than the saturated fats found in beef, butter, etc., and for whatever reason, easier to metabolize and thus, better for you.
There are at least two ways in which coconut oil will help you meet your weight-loss goals. One is through the heightened energy the oil will provide you. It is thought that incorporating MCTs into one’s diet will substantially increase energy expenditure, and thus, total calories burned.
A December 2003 study published in The International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders found that among healthy adults, those who incorporate 15-30 grams of MCT’s into their daily fat intake increase their energy expenditure by 5%.
The second way the oil will help you meet your goals is through appetite reduction. A study published in the May 1996 edition of the same journal, found that among the healthy adults they tested, those whose diets were high in medium chain triglycerides ate 256 fewer calories daily than those adults whose diets were high long chain triglycerides instead.
2. Reduced risk of heart disease
Preliminary studies suggest that MCTs found in coconut oil drastically reduce LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and raise HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol).
These studies are supported by a quick look at populations that rely upon coconuts as a dietary staple. The Tokelauans, of the South Pacific, for example, rely upon coconuts for 60% or more of their daily caloric intake; and despite this extraordinarily high saturated fat intake, show little to no occurrence of heart disease.
3. Fights infection
Coconut oil is high in lauric acid, which, when digested, produces a monoglyceride known as monolaurin. Monolaurin has a powerful ability to fight the pathogens that cause viruses, as well as bacterial and fungal infections.
4. Alzheimer’s treatment
Coconut oil is commonly held to ward off a variety of chronic illnesses and afflictions—but the evidence in support of these common beliefs is scant. Some preliminary research, however, does support the oil’s ability to treat the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
A 2009 study published in Nutrition and Metabolism suggests that, because of their direct and easy metabolism, fats found in coconuts can serve as an alternate source of energy for the brain—which is potentially useful for Alzheimer’s patients whose brains have difficulty accessing energy from glucose, the brain’s usual energy source.
5. Skin and hair health
Coconut oil has long been known for its cosmetic worth. Many people use it to improve the health of their skin and hair. The oil, when employed externally, protects against hair damage, revamps lipid levels in the skin and can even serve as an effective sunscreen.
CATEGORIES: Weight Loss, Health Benefits, Coconut Oil, Healthy Fat, Coconut, Alzheimer's