Good Fats: The Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

 

Coconut oil got a bad rap for years due to its high saturated fat content. But times change. Today, we know that all saturated fats aren’t the same. As it turns out there are many health benefits to using coconut oil in lieu of other types of oils & fats.

Coconut Oil
Photo by Brenda Godinez on Unsplash

Coconut Oil Contains Lauric Acid

Over 50% of the fat in coconut oil comes from lauric acid. This saturated fat is a medium-chain triglyceride that is linked to weight loss & lower cholesterol. Lauric acid is difficult to find naturally outside of coconut and palm oils. The other major source of lauric acid is breastmilk.

Lauric acid is also thought to improve the immune system function. One of coconut oil’s other fats, caprylic acid, also plays a similar role.

Potential for Diabetics

Because coconut oil helps to boost metabolism and the fat content is very high, it can play a role in controlling blood sugar. This is critical for diabetics. Maintaining a healthy blood sugar can also assist with weight loss.

Stronger Bones & Teeth

The saturated fats in coconut oil are critical to the body’s ability to absorb certain fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamin D happens to be one of those, and it’s been proven to increase the body’s ability to absorb calcium. By proxy, a diet including coconut oil will also be a diet that absorbs more calcium.

Other important fat-soluble nutrients include Vitamin A, E, & K. All of which are powerful antioxidants.

 
Photo by Jonas Dücker on Unsplash health benefits of coconut oil
Photo by Jonas Dücker on Unsplash

External Benefits of Coconut Oil

There’s a good reason why you find coconut oil as an ingredient in lots of skin-care products. It’s an incredibly versatile moisturizer for dry skin.

Survivalists know that rubbing coconut meat on your skin can help protect against sunburn in the tropics. The meat contains the oil, which provides the skin protection.

Avoid Highly Processed Oils

The oil can be extracted from coconut by simply pressing the meat. This is critical. While vegetable and corn oils require high amounts of processing and exposure to dangerous solvents, coconut oil is largely unmodified from its original form.

Processed vegetable oils are a health disaster. Avoid them completely.

Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash health benefits of coconut oil
Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash

Incorporating Coconut Oil Into Your Diet

Coconut oil has a high smoke point which makes it a great option for high heat frying and sauteing. If you use vegetable oils such as canola oil, you can swap them out for coconut oil instead.

Some folks like to put a dab of coconut oil in their coffee, which makes the coffee a much more satiating beverage to start off your day. A shot of healthy fats can stave off mid-morning hunger and help you avoid sugary snacks.

Don’t Overdo It

Like any high-calorie food, it’s important that you don’t overeat coconut oil. While a moderate amount on a regular basis carries many health benefits, a high-calorie diet can undo many of those benefits.

Enjoy coconut oil as a part of a varied & healthy diet. Pair it with low-fat superfoods like tomatoes, parsley, and lean meats. Your body will thank you!


Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonas Dücker on Unsplash

 
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