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Coconut Oil Is One Awesome Source of Fat (Here’s Why)

Craig Leonard May 15, 2014
Coconut Oil - Health and Fitness Blog

Until recently, coconut oil has been vilified in association with other saturated fats as being a contributor to heart disease and obesity. However, modern science now recognizes the fact that not all saturated fats are problematic.

In fact, certain saturated fats like those from butters and meats produced from grass-fed cattle and eggs sourced from organic, free-range chickens are now known to be beneficial for lowering LDL cholesterol (the bad kind), raising HDL cholesterol (the good kind), and serves to prevent the degeneration of cognitive function that can lead to dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Saturated fats can provide awesome health benefits when consumed from the right sources. Coconut oil, however, may be the most incredible single source of fat in terms of optimizing one’s health.

It is now known that certain populations whose diets contain a substantial number of daily calories from coconut oil, such as the Tokelauan and Kitavan people of the South Pacific, are among the healthiest peoples on earth.

I, for one, am convinced that this isn’t a mere coincidence. That being said, it’s important to note that these populations also enjoy a diet that is heavy in plant-based phytochemicals.

While it would be foolhardy to proclaim coconut oil as the sole contributor to the health of the Tokelauan and Kitavan peoples, it would also be shortsighted not to give it the credit it is due.

Coconut oil may not be the cure-all for natural health enthusiasts, but it’s a source of nutrition I’d consider to be indispensable for optimizing one’s health.

Coconut Oil Provides Energy, Not Body Fat

Coconut Oil - MCTs

Like pretty much any other fat source, one tablespoon of coconut oil contains 14 grams of fat, equating to approximately 120 calories. Nearly 90 percent of these calories come from saturated fat.

The saturated fats found in sources like meats and cheeses are comprised of long chain triglycerides (LCTs). LCTs are not easily broken down and digested by the body. This makes them a not-so-readily-available source of energy.

Coconut oil is predominantly comprised of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs, on the other hand, are metabolized extremely quickly by comparison.

As such, MCTs are a terrific source of immediate energy. And, unlike its LCT counterpart, this property ensures that MCTs are rarely stored on the body in the form of body fat.

Calories are not created equal and there may be no better single source of fat calories for promoting optimal health and a lean physique than coconut oil.

On that note, let’s look at how coconut oil can prove to be a powerful ally in the war on excessive body fat and obesity.

Coconut Oil Fights Obesity

Despite the pervading sentiments surrounding saturated fats that have obfuscated the truth about coconut oil during the past couple of decades, recent evidence provides some transparency showing that not all saturated fats produce the same unhealthy, fat-hoarding effects.

As reports, “Due to its concentrations of MCTs, long-term consumption of coconut oil has actually been linked to weight loss, not weight gain.

A Brazilian study published in Lipids in 2009, found that women who consumed 30 milliliters of coconut oil daily for a 12 week period experienced a reduction in BMI and waist circumference. A group of women who consumed equal amounts of soybean oil, which contains LCTs, during the same period did not experience the same benefits.”

Coconut oil,  because of its MCT composition, comes with health benefits that can’t be boasted by other dietary fat sources.

And the benefits don’t end with BMI improvements…

Coconut Oil Can Kill Bacteria and Viruses

Almost 50% of the MCTs found in coconut oil is lauric acid, a 12-carbon saturated fatty acid that our bodies convert into monolaurin. Monolaurin is one of the natural world’s greatest antivirals, antibacterials and antifungals.

Dr. Joseph Mercola claims that monolaurin can destroy lipid-coated viruses, such as measles, herpes, influenza, most pathogenic bacteria and even HIV. He also explains that placing a couple of drops of coconut oil in the ears can help to prevent and even naturally cure ear infections.

These viruses are prevalent in our world and the promise coconut oil and its derivatives provide in terms of combating them are quite encouraging.

More encouraging is the fact that these claims are now being studied and confirmed by science.

One study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food in 2007, found that coconut oil is extremely effective at killing Candida albicans, a common yeast infection in humans. Another study published in the Journal of Bacteriology in 2000 discovered that coconut oil can help kill Staphylococcus aureus, which is a common cause of skin conditions and respiratory diseases.

I can personally attest to the skin healing benefits of coconut oil.

I struggled with Rosacea for years. After a few weeks of consuming a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil on a daily basis, and rubbing a small amount on my cheeks before bed, my annoyingly red cheeks were back to normal.

After trying 3 different prescriptions that failed to correct the problem, I found that my ailment was nothing more than a bacterial condition, one that didn’t require toxic drugs to cure. All it took was a little organic coconut oil.

It’s just too bad I didn’t realize the bacteria-killing properties of coconut oil sooner and save myself the years of sporting embarrassingly red cheeks.

Coconut Oil Preserves Cognitive Function

Coconut Oil - Brain Health

It is well documented that a lack of glucose in the brain can lead to cognitive decline. This has led some to conclude that low-carb diets are detrimental to brain function.

My research has uncovered contrary evidence. My studies have indicated that the ideal diet for brain health actually has nothing to do with the consumption of glucose.

For a great book that credibly substantiates my conclusions, I recommend reading “Grain Brain” by Dr. Perlmutter.

The body was designed to be remarkably adaptive, containing redundant systems that help to ensure survival and the sustenance of essential physiological functions. The brain can use glucose to power its myriad complex processes.

However, glutenous carbs and excessive carb consumption in general lends itself to inflammation throughout the body, including the brain. This inflammation will lead to cardiovascular disease and brain disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s if it’s allowed to continue.

Carbohydrates are beneficial for brain function in the short-term, but the debilitating long-term implications just mentioned are absolutely deplorable. There’s a better way… And it comes in the form of fats, specifically the MCTs that coconut oil is uniquely capable of providing.

According to researcher Dr. Mary Newport, coconut oil can help prevent these diseases due to the high concentrations of ketone bodies in its MCTs, which function as an alternative (and better) fuel source.

“Humans do not normally have ketone bodies circulating and available to the brain unless they have been starving for a couple of days or longer, or are consuming a ketogenic (very low carbohydrate) diet, such as Atkins,” says Newport. “In Alzheimer’s disease, the neurons in certain areas of the brain are unable to take in glucose due to insulin resistance and slowly die off… If these cells had access to ketone bodies, they could potentially stay alive and continue to function.”

Pure Coconut Oil Awesomeness

As you can see, coconut oil is awesome on a number of accounts. You can cook with it, add it to a cup of black coffee or just eat a tablespoon straight up.

However you prefer to ingest it isn’t nearly as important as simply making sure you’re consuming it on a regular basis.

Coconut oil is a superfood that provides too many health benefits to be ignored.

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