December 14, 2017 2 min read
By Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD
Although previously shunned due to its high saturated fat content, coconut oil has become very popular because of its unique fatty acids that can improve brain function, fat loss, skin health, digestion, hair and immune response.
Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides (MCT). Compared with long-chain fatty acids these MCTs are metabolized differently, since they are transported straight to the liver from the digestive system and are used immediately as energy or converted into ketones. Ketones have been shown to have a therapeutic effect on brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s and epilepsy.
Coconut oil can be used as a moisturizer as well as a massage oil on all types of skin. The antioxidants in coconut oil can help with degenerative diseases such as premature aging. Skin problems such as dermatitis, eczema and skin infections can also be alleviated with coconut oil.
Because of the ketones produced when it’s metabolized, coconut oil suppresses hunger, reducing the number of calories you consume on a daily basis. This can have a positive effect on your weight over the long term.
The lauric acid in coconut oil, which contains antimicrobial lipids, kills viruses, bacteria and fungal infections. Staphylococcus aureus is an example of a bacteria that lauric acid can combat.
Coconut oil is beneficial for weight loss due to medium chain fatty acids which help remove excessive fat. Research also indicates that abdominal obesity in women can be reduced by consuming coconut oil. Add to this the beneficial effect of boosting your metabolism, helping your body to burn more energy — and as a result, stored fat. Coconut oil does this by removing the stress on your pancreas.
The antimicrobial properties of coconut oil help your body deal with bacteria, fungi and parasites that can cause indigestion. It aids digestive health and helps prevent digestive problems such as irritable bowel system (IBS).
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