The discoveries surrounding the health benefits of coconut oil continue to surprise and encourage the medical and naturopathic communities alike. The unique chemical structure and abundance of healthful properties makes coconut oil a near perfect way to keep your body and mind in great shape as you age.
Not all coconut oil is created equal, so you’ll want to make sure you use organic, virgin coconut oil that has been cold pressed and remains in its raw and natural state. Heated and chemically treated coconut oil will not give you the same benefits, as the delicate natural properties would be adulterated and diminished.
Although doctors and the general public may contend that foods high in saturated fat should be enjoyed only in moderation or avoided all together, don’t let the high saturated fat content in coconut oil dissuade you from exploring its possibilities. Even though coconut oil is a whopping 90% saturated fat, its success as a medicinal dietary component lies within this very anomaly.
Coconut oil’s fat is made of medium chain triglycerides. This particular configuration of fatty acids metabolize differently from more common long chain fatty acids, like those found in meat and cheese. The healthy medium chain triglycerides do not promote fat storage, but are quickly metabolized and used as an energy source. and converted into compounds called ketone bodies. This metabolic action happens directly through the liver, instead of the intestines.
1. Healthy Weight Loss
Medium chain triglycerides are immediately used for energy and increase energy expenditure, or stored fat burning, while newly formed ketone bodies suppress appetite. The combination of appetite suppression, increased energy, and fat burning can lead to steady and significant weight loss over time. Fortunately, this fat loss seems to target metabolically active and chemically dangerous abdominal fat.
2. Healthy Heart
The leading cause of death in the US is heart disease. Stress reduction, healthy diet and regular exercise help minimize this risk. But adding coconut oil to your daily regimen can further improve your chances of staving off this deadly disease. Coconut oil can reduce cardiovascular risk factors by raising high density lipids (HDL), or good cholesterol, neutralizes harmful low density lipids (LDL), and reduces triglycerides.
3. Healthy Brain
The antioxidants found in virgin coconut oil generally support both healthy heart and brain function. But the metabolized ketone bodies have been shown to improve brain function in some patients. Some symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, the leading cause of dementia, may be alleviated through these ketone bodies by supplying alternative energy sources for malfunctioning brain cells. Coconut oil is also utilized in therapeutic application of “ketogenic,” or very low carb and very high fat diets used to help reduce seizures in children suffering from drug-resistant epilepsy.
4. Healthy Body
With lauric acid making up almost 50% of coconut oil’s fatty acids, once metabolized into monolaurin, coconut oil has effective antibacterial, antiviral and antiseptic applications. Regular coconut oil ingestion can help protect you from harmful infections.
5. Healthy Healing
Coconut oil’s protective and soothing properties can make it a good choice when it comes to wound care. You can use it as a standalone or coupled with aloe vera to treat sun burn. You may also use coconut oil as a topical ointment on minor scrapes and burns to provide a protective physical barrier from germs, and provide antioxidant and antiseptic benefits to promote healing.
6. Healthy Skin
Thinning, aging skin can lose moisture, elasticity and other essential nutrients. Coconut oil is deeply moisturizing and can be used as a penetrating and exfoliating facial, whole body or foot scrub when mixed with Himalayan salt or sugar. Apply coconut oil directly to skin after showering, or add to a warm bath for an aromatic, softening and soothing experience. The antioxidant and acid content of coconut oil can also diminish skin blemishes. Rub coconut oil on your hands and other areas every day to help fade age spots.
Coconut oil has many uses that promote a healthier life inside and out. Use every day in many ways to keep you looking and feeling youthful, vibrant and focused.