My brother-in-law is a dieting nut and exercise addict. I am a health and wellness junkie and wannabe nutritionist. Put us together and you’ve got two people who think they know it all, but usually end up in a heated debate over whose wellness path is the correct one to follow.
A few weeks ago, he and I were engaging in one of our usual banters. He mentioned that he’d just bought a jar of coconut oil—he wanted to see what all the fuss was about and figured, hey why not? It wasn’t until he got home that he read the label and gasped: 14 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon!
“That stuff is HORRIBLE for you!” he told me. “It’ll give you a heart attack!”
Oh silly boy, time for me to set you straight.
“Listen up, know-it-all, it’s not horrible for you; it’s just the opposite,” I told him. “Yes, it has saturated fat, but there’s more to the story than that—much more.”
I then proceeded to tout all the benefits of coconut oil, as I understood them. But I could see by his expression that he was not sold. He wasn’t hearing what I had to say, he was just seeing ’14 grams of saturated fat’ in his mind’s eye. My words were falling on deaf ears. So I went home and did some additional research and then flooded him with all sorts of eye-opening information. I was simply determined to prove my point.
I’m happy to report that I was successful in my endeavors. He’s now believer.
So what was it that changed his mind? See for yourself.
Promotes weight loss: Unlike the vast majority of naturally-occuring saturated fats out there, coconut oil is comprised primarily of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT). MCTs have been shown to increase energy expenditure, boost metabolism, help burn more calories, lower body fat mass and reduce body weight.
Helps manage diabetes: Coconut oil helps to balance blood sugar by slowing the absorption of sugars into bloodstream. It’s processed in the liver where it is quickly converted to energy. This not only improves insulin sensitivity, but also leaves little behind to be stored as fat.
Improves cholesterol profile: Coconut oil has been clinically proven to increase HDL cholesterol and lower the overall cholesterol ratio. When looking at these specific cholesterol values, coconut oil is believed to be more protective against heart disease than an other dietary fat.
Helps fight viruses and disease: Coconut oil is comprised predominantly of lauric acid, a substance also found in breast milk. Lauric acid converts to monolaurin in the body where it gains its antimicrobial, antibacterial, and anti fungal properties. It helps the body to fight off viruses and bacteria and also supports the immune system.
Improves cognitive function: A 2004 study published in Neurobiology of Aging found that the MCTs in coconut oil improved cognitive function in older adults with memory disorders such as Altzeimer’s.
Aids in digestion. With its antimocrobial properties, coconut oil helps ward off various bacteria, fungi, and parasites that can cause indigestion. It’s also been shown to help in the absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
May help to prevent cancer: Though coconut oil in the prevention of cancer is still being researched, several studies of lab animals have shown promising anticancer results.
Promotes healthy skin and hair: Coconut oil can increase the moisture and lipid content of the skin. It’s also been shown to protect the hair from sun damage, blocking nearly 20% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
These are just a few benefits. Coconut oil is also believed to help with thyroid function, tissue repair, sugar cravings, pancreatitis, chronic fatigue syndrome, kidney disease, bladder infections and more.
Coconut oil has been a mainstay in my diet for the last year or so. I use it generously every single day—for cooking, in my smoothies, on toast, in my oatmeal and so on. I use coconut cream in my coffee and also pour it over fresh berries for a night time snack. And no, I haven’t gained a pound. Just the opposite in fact. In the last year alone, I’m down 10 lbs. How’s that for proof!
Don’t take my word for it. Try it for yourself.