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5 Surprising Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Background and history

Coconut Oil has gained wide acceptance as a healthy fat over the past 10 years. This is in sharp contrast to the smear campaign it underwent in the 80's. During the 1980's there was a huge backlash against "tropical oils". This included Palm and Coconut Oil. The campaign targetted saturated fats. The blanket claim is saturated fats are bad for you because they raise cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease and stroke (Read more here). In reality, the campaign against "tropical oils" had to do more with politics than health. The claims were later deemed misleading. It was only in February 2015 that researchers from the UK and US concluded that there is no correlation between high cholesterol levels and incidences in cardiovascular disease or all-cause mortality. They concluded that, “Dietary recommendations were introduced for 220 million U.S. and 56 million U.K. citizens by 1983, in the absence of supporting evidence from randomized controlled trials.” (Read full study here).

Why Coconut Oil?

It is far from the health villain it was purported to be. In fact, it is one of the healthier fats available. Extracted from the "meat" inside the hard-shelled fruit of the coconut palm, Coconut Oil is the most concentrated food source of saturated fats - more so than butter (Berkeley Wellness). It has approximately 13 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon, compared with about seven grams for butter (USDA's food-nutrient database). It is shelf-stable and can tolerate high heat cooking - two features you can't say about other oils. This makes Coconut Oil an attractive ingredient for food processing and baking.

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

1) Coconut oil to satisfy hunger

For folks looking to eat less, satiety is important. Coconut Oil is a great, healthy addition to your diet that can help effectively suppress your appetite, as it helps produce the feeling of fullness which signals you to stop eating (see research here).

2) Easy to digest

Coconut Oil's saturated fats are medium-chained, unlike the long chained saturated fats found in animal products. According to Dr. Glen D. Lawrence, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Long Island University in Brooklyn, medium chained fatty acids are easier to digest than the long-chain fatty acids most Americans are used to eating (The Wall Street Journal).

3) Energy enhancing properties

While most oils pass through the intestinal tract most intact, Coconut Oil breaks down into individual fatty acids more easily and quickly, allowing it to be immediately absorbed into the portal vein and sent directly to liver. In the liver, it is burned to produce energy. When the fatty acids in Coconut Oil are burned, you get a surge of energy that can last for several hours (Read more at Coconut Cures).

The quick turnaround means Coconut Oil contributes very little to the fat that accumulates in our body. Coconut Oil is converted into energy, not stored as body fat so it does not contribute to weight gain.

4) Increased metabolism

Coconut stimulates your metabolism due to the increased energy production created from the burning of the medium-chain fatty acids. As metabolism increases, the rate at which calories are burned increases. Research shows that after a single meal containing medium-chain fatty acids, metabolism quickens and continues working at a rapid pace for a full 24 hours. During this entire period you will have more energy and you will be burning calories at an accelerated rate (American Society for Nutrition).

5)Helps to treat Alzheimer's disease Very large doses of Coconut Oil are believed to treat Alzheimer's and other neurological disorders. Theoretical research, animal studies and anecdotal evidence found in a book called "Alzheimer’s Disease: What If There Was a Cure?" by pediatrician Mary Newport, M.D. (2012), has received lots of media attention. Here's the theory: that medium-chain triglycerides such as those in Coconut Oil, boost the production of ketones (byproducts of fat breakdown) in the liver. They offer an alternative energy source for brain cells that have lacked the ability to use glucose as a result of Alzheimer’s. There have been no further studies to support this claim. We have not been led to believe that Coconut Oil or other medium-chain triglycerides can assist in the prevention of the disease (See Berkeley Wellness for more detail).

Uses of Coconut Oil

Its delicious taste and heavenly aroma make it a great choice for cooking, deserts, raw treats and right off the spoon. From breakfast, snacks, to dinner and desert, there is no shortage of coconut oil recipes. See this great list of the more popular and delicious coconut oil recipes. Enjoy your coconut oil guilt free and visit our web store to pick up a bottle or bucket! Photo_CoconutOil

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