Did you know that coconut oil is a superfood? Did you know that it is a healthy fat? I have been researching coconut oil for some time and decided to start eating it myself daily 6 months ago. This article explains why it is so good for you and what can happen if you include it in your diet.
I am going to start with a seemingly contentious statement:
There is absolutely NO evidence that coconut oil contributes or creates heart disease. In fact all the research says that it actually protects the heart from disease.
So now I have got that off my chest (no pun intended) I can explain why this is so. The biology is complicated but I have tried to simplify it so it is easy to understand.
About Coconut Oil Fats
Fats come in three types: short, medium and long-chain fatty acids. Animal fats in meat and animal products are long-chain. Coconut oil is a mixture of mostly medium (and some short chain) fatty acids. Many of the health benefits of coconut oil are due to the way coconut oil is digested. This process also means that it can aid weightloss very effectively. More on that later but first let me explain the background…..
The digestion of Coconut Oil is Different!
Our bodies digest fats in different ways according to the size of the chain. Eat a meal containing animal fats such as cheese or meat and the long chain fatty acids require digestion by pancreatic digestive enzymes. They are then absorped through the gut wall as something called lipoproteins and in that form start circulating in the blood stream. It is while they are circulating that they can be deposited as fat in fat cells and form plaque in our arteries. With coconut oil however, the medium chain fatty acids are already broken down by the time they get to our gut, and so do not need the pancreatic enzymes. They are absorbed through the gut wall and instead of circulating around like the long chain animal fatty acids, they go straight to the liver and are used as a fuel source.
They do not have the same lipoprotein stage as long chain fats which is one of the crucially important differences.
Coconut Oil health benfits
The way in which coconut oil is digested is the reason behind its weight loss effects, but first let’s look at some seriously good health benefits of this superfood:
- Coconut oil supports thyroid function
- It lowers cholesterol by promoting the conversion of cholestrol to the key ‘mother’ hormone prednisolone
- Quick, easy metabolised source of excellent nutrition so it is used in hospitals for babies and malnourished patients
- Stomach and duodenal ulcers with the bacteria h.pylori present can be successfully treated by coconut oil
- It produces an energy surge when it is metabolised in the liver
- It appears to have healing properties for digestive disorders
- Coconut oil reduces our needs for adrenal or stress hormones
- It evens out blood sugar peaks and troughs
G. W. Crile and his wife found that the metabolic rate of people in Yucatan, where coconut is a staple food, averaged 25% higher than that of people in the United States. In a hot climate, the adaptive tendency is to have a lower metabolic rate, so it is clear that some factor is more than offsetting this expected effect of high environmental temperatures. The people there are lean, and recently it has been observed that the women there have none of the symptoms we commonly associate with the menopause. (1996 Raymond Peat)
My personal Coconut Oil Experience
If you are familiar with my story you will already know that I had cancer of the lymphatic system when I was 18. The treatment I received at that time was extremely high dose radiotherapy and as the cancer was located in my neck and torso, so my thyroid gland received a huge blast, and has been struggling to cope since.
As soon as I found out about coconut oil supporting the thyroid gland and looked into the physiology of how it does this, I decided to use myself as an experiment. I started on 1 table spoon a day with my morning veggie juice at breakfast. Over the course of 10 days I increased this to two tablespoons a day with the second one being taken before dinner in the evening. What I found was very interesting:
- I had more overall energy
- I was less hungry
- I actually experienced an energy surge (not usual with an underactive thyroid gland)!
- I also started to lose some weight without changing anything else which was a nice bonus
- My blood sugar was more balanced
- Not to mention good skin, shiny hair and happy thoughts 🙂
So How does coconut oil contribute to weight loss?
- Coconut oil is used as a fuel source rather than stored in fat cells
- It has fewer calories than other fats
- Coconut oil helps to raise our metabolic rate as it stimulates our liver into action
- This means our matabolic rate stays higher for 24 hours after consumption of coconut oil which in turn means we burn more calories
- Reasearch shows it is very satisfying to eat so reduces appetite
- It supports the thyroid which in turn supports metabolism
Coconut Oil is also Antimicrobial
The benefits do not end there! Research has shown repeatedly that coconut oil destroys invading pathogens. The monoluarin substance in coconut oil deactivates bacteria, fungi and viruses by disrupting the workings of their lipid membranes.
So you can see that the health benefits of coconut oils are massive. So what else is important about coconuts?
Coconut Water aids Exercise Recovery
Coconut water that comes from young coconuts is the most natural isotonic drink. (Isotonic means it has the same concentration as our blood and cells in the body). I conducted a recent experiment on my partner and son who ran the world’s largest fun run of 14km in Sydney this month called the City to Surf. I stood waiting for them on a very long and steep hill commonly referred to as “heartbreak Hill” (you can guess why) in order to give them some coconut water. After drinking it as they ran they both reported an amazing difference in their muscles and energy levels that was quite remarkable shaving 8 minutes off their race time!
You can see from the length of this post that the health benefits of coconut oil are numerous and considerable. Isn’t it about time that you started including it in your diet?
Happy Health and Homeopathic prescribing!