Coconut Oil: Surprising Health Benefits

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Coconut oil was once thought to be unhealthy because of its high saturated fat content, which is proven to contribute to heart disease, however, this is not true. Coconut oil is really a heart-healthy food that can enhance your health in many ways.

Coconut oil is beneficial for the heart. It contains about 50% lauric acid, which helps in actively preventing various heart problems which are created through high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. It does not lead to an increase in LDL levels; it reduces the incidence of injury and damage to arteries and therefore helps in preventing atherosclerosis.

Coconut oil is used extensively in tropical countries especially India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the Philippines, which have a good production of coconut oil. This oil was also popular in western countries like the United States and Canada at one time, but a propaganda campaign initiated by the corn oil and soy oil industry placed doubt onto those who used and loved this natural product.

Today though, there is strong evidence of the contrary. Coconut oil has so many health benefits it is considered a "super-food".

Recent findings also found that coconut oil has been proven to reverse Alzheimer's disease.

Studies show that consuming coconut oil can help the bodies immune system build a resistance to viruses and bacteria that cause illness. It also helps fight off yeast infections, fungus, and candida.

It also positively affects our hormones that control thyroid and blood sugars. People who take coconut oil have shown improved blood sugar levels since the fruit can help improve insulin use in the body. It also helps boost thyroid function - thereby increasing metabolism function - adding energy and endurance.

It has been shown that lauric acid increases the good HDL cholesterol in the blood to help improve cholesterol ratio levels. It also lowers cholesterol by promoting its conversion to pregnenolone, a steroidal hormone manufactured in the body.

The fats in coconuts are called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) that have shown to break down unhealthy fats in the liver allowing efficient burning through energy. A 2009 study found that women who consumed 2 tablespoons of the oil daily did not gain weight, but experienced a lessening of abdominal fat.

Coconut oils have also been shown to have an antioxidant effect in the body. Meaning they help stop damage that other unhealthy fats do to our tissues and our body. Oxidation is a known contributor to heart problems, as well as aging skin. The oil can help our bodies reduce the need for antioxidants.

Coconut oil is a great oil to use in cooking, and a good replacement for the higher and less beneficial vegetable oils so prevalent on the market today.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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