Coconut oil has become a popular product for better health, weight loss, and beauty for good reason.
Studies have proven that coconut oil offers a host of health benefits that range from improving people’s skin to enhancing the fullness of their hair, even weight loss!
Keep reading to discover the many health benefits of coconut oil.
What is Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is the oil extracted from the meat of mature coconuts.
Because it contains very high levels of healthy saturated fat, about 90%, it has been the subject of several public health advisories against eating it regularly in the past.
The saturated fats in coconut oil go by the official term “medium chain triglycerides” (or MCTs). Science confirms that diet-based fatty acids, such as the ones in steak or cheese, are of the long chain variety.
Basically, your body metabolizes the medium chain type differently than it does the long chain kind. (3)
Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
One tablespoon of coconut oil contains:
- 120 calories
- 14 grams of fat
- 12.5 grams of saturated fat
- 0.2 grams of polyunsaturated fat
- 0.8 grams of monounsaturated fat
Coconut oil does not contain sodium, cholesterol or carbohydrates.
By adding coconut oil to your diet, you will increase the amount of healthy fats that you are giving your body. Coconut oil also helps your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins.
If you don’t like the smell of coconut, then you may struggle to use it. Coconut oil supplements are available if you can’t handle ingesting the oil. By taking the supplements, you’ll still enjoy the coconut oil health benefits.
Here are the Top 5 Health Benefits of Coconut Oil:
#1 – Coconut Oil Weight Loss
When it comes to coconut oil and weight loss, studies show that the substance is pretty effective. In particular, it can decrease abdominal obesity in women. It also aids your body’s metabolic rate. (4)
Research shows that different foods affect the body differently. At a more basic level, coconut oil helps you lose weight by:
- Increasing your energy levels
- Decreasing the feelings of hunger
- Enhancing your body’s ability to burn fat
- Balancing your hormones
To achieve raising your metabolic rate, coconut oil eases stress on the pancreas, which helps you burn more energy.
One study determined that those who took 15 to 30 grams of Medium Chain Triglycerides each day saw a 5 percent increase in their energy, and this allowed them to burn about 120 more calories. (5)
Key Point: The high amount of Medium Chain Triglycerides (good fatty acids that metabolize differently) in coconut oil have a beneficial effects on metabolism, enhancing your body’s ability to burn fat.
#2 – Coconut Oil Helps Reduce Belly Fat
Several studies have shown that people who take coconut oil along with proper diet and nutrition lose more belly fat than those that use other kind of fats, like soybean oil. (6)
In one study with overweight men, 30 grams of coconut oil for 4 weeks reduced waist circumference by about 1.1 inches! (7)
Even though study participants didn’t lose weight much weight overall, the circumference of their bellies did shrink when taking coconut oil for weight loss.
Key Point: Coconut is very effective at reducing belly fat in the abdominal area, which is strongly connected with disease.
#3 – Coconut Oil Reduces Hunger Cravings
There have been many studies involving medium chain fatty acids that show that they increase the feeling of fullness and help you eat less, compared to other fats. (8)
It’s not totally clear why this phenomenon happens, but it possibly has something to do with the way coconut oil fats are metabolized. (9)
What is clear is in study after study, people who ate a higher amount of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) ate over 200 fewer calories on average. (10)
Key Point: Numerous studies show that adding Medium Chain Fatty Acids to your diet can reduce your appetite causing you to eat fewer calories.
#4 – Coconut Oil Helps Lower Bad Cholesterol
Because coconut oil is high in natural saturated fat, it assists your body in its efforts to convert the LDL, or bad, cholesterol into the good kind. (11)
Good cholesterol supports a healthy heart, which lowers your risk of heart disease.
Studies show that coconut oil may reduce inflammation and arthritis flare-ups. Coconut oil’s high antioxidant levels give your body relief from these ailments. (12)
Key Point: Studies show that coconut oil can help improve important risk factors like Total, LDL and HDL cholesterol, which contributes to a lower risk of heart disease.
#5 – Coconut Oil May Help Fight Cancer
One cancer-fighting element is the presence of ketones in the oil. Researchers have discovered that tumor cells are unable to use the energy in ketones.
Instead, they gain their energy through glucose. Because of this, it is thought that a ketogenic-based diet could help cancer patients overcome the disease.
The second cancer-fighting element goes back to medium chain fatty acids, which kill certain kinds of bacteria. When these types of bacteria are present, the risk of developing stomach cancer increases.
In research studies that involved the chemical induction of cancer, coconut oil was able to stop the disease from forming.
Key Point: Coconut has been shown in numerous studies to have a beneficial effect on cancer patients, and even helped reduce the effects of chemotherapy.
How Much Coconut Oil Should You Take A Day?
If you’re just starting out using coconut oil as a supplement, begin slowly to give your body time to adjust.
Start with about 1 tablespoon a day. If you take more than that, you may experience stomach problems.
To gain the most health benefits from coconut oil, take about 10 grams of it a day. (There are 15 grams in a tablespoon of coconut oil).
Be sure to purchase the extra virgin variety of coconut oil. Some producers refine or process the product to increase its shelf life. They do this by bleaching, chemically processing or overheating it.
When coconut oil is tampered with for longevity, it’s natural makeup changes. This could make the fats in the product less beneficial.
Coconut oil can help you shrink the size of your belly, help you lose weight, lower your cholesterol, reduce your hunger cravings, and even fight cancer!
It truly can be considered a “super food”, and is an ingredient that I try to work into my daily diet.
My favorite way to take it is in a coconut oil smoothie, but feel free to add it to whatever dish you’re making that calls for some kind of healthy oil.
When you work it into your daily diet, you’ll begin to reap the coconut oil weight loss benefits of this amazing ingredient. Before long, you’ll feel a lot healthier and even have been skin and hair!
I welcome you to share your experiences with coconut oil by commenting below with your favorite recipes for this inexpensive ingredient.