- Coconut oil contains saturated fats that lower the risk of heart disease and encourage the burning of fat in the body, according to a recent study.
- The medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil have been found to promote weight loss, reduce seizures in children with epilepsy, reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, and reduce belly fat.
- Additionally, coconut oil helps improve skin, nails, and oral health.
Many people consider coconut oil as a superfood. But what do studies say about the health benefits of coconut oil?
1. Provides healthy fatty acids
Coconut oil is packed with certain saturated fats that encourage fat-burning. It also fuels the body and brain and raises the HDL (good) cholesterol in your blood. Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) that go straight to your liver and uses it as a quick energy source or turns it into ketones, which have powerful brain benefits.
2. Boosts heart health
According to a 1981 study, a population of Tokelau, an island chain in the South Pacific, gets most calories from coconuts. Further, the Kitavan people in Papua New Guinea, who eat a lot of coconuts alongside tubers, fruit, and fish, have minimal heart disease cases.
3. Encourages burning of fats
One study that looked at the health benefits of MCTs found that consuming 5–30 grams of MCTs per day increases the number of calories your body burns. However, the study didn’t specifically examine the effects of coconut oil, only the health effects of MCTs.
4. Provides antimicrobial effects
The fatty acid in coconut oil is made up of 50% lauric acid. When lauric acid is digested, a substance called monolaurin is formed. According to studies, these substances help kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Some studies also suggest that using coconut oil as mouthwash can benefit oral health. However, more evidence is needed.
5. Curbs hunger
Multiple small studies found that men who ate more MCTs consumed fewer calories per day, which may lead to weight loss over time.
6. Reduces seizures
The MCTs in coconut oil go to your liver, where it turns into ketones. Increased ketone concentration in the blood has been found to reduce seizures in children with epilepsy.
7. Increases HDL (good) cholesterol
Multiple studies found that the saturated fats found in coconut oil reduced total and LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol, resulting in a lower risk of heart disease.
8. Nourishes skin and hair
According to studies, coconut oil improves the skin’s moisture eases the symptoms of eczema. Another study found that it can block about 20% of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays when used on the skin.
9. Boosts brain function in Alzheimer’s disease
Some research suggests that ketones can reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. A 2006 study indicates that MCTs in coconut oil improved brain function in people with more moderate forms of Alzheimer’s disease. However, more studies are needed.
10. Reduces harmful abdominal fat
MCTs appear to work effectively in reducing belly fat, which is linked to many chronic diseases. In a study of women with abdominal obesity, it was found that those who took two tablespoons of coconut oil per day significantly improved their Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference. Another study of 20 men yielded similar results.