Coconuts are among the most nutritionally dense foods on earth and coconut oil is certainly the healthiest of all the oils you can consume. Unfortunately, coconuts have gotten a bad rap because they contain saturated fats, and studies have shown that saturated fats are dangerous.
So why the confusion? Well, the short answer is that most of the studies that were done on coconut oil used hydrogenated coconut oil. When an oil is hydrogenated, it contains trans-fatty acids (trans-fats) that have been linked to elevated cholesterol levels and heart disease. Based on some of these studies, “experts” starting telling everyone to avoid all saturated fats, and coconut oil got thrown in the bunch.
In fact, all saturated fats are not the same. In its natural, unrefined state, coconut oil contains large amounts of what are called medium chain fatty acids. These types of saturated fats are actually health promoting. They have anti-microbial properties, are an excellent source of energy, and have been shown to improve immune system function.
So now that you know that coconut oil is not bad for you, let’s talk about some of the benefits of this amazing oil.
The Medium-Chain Triglycerides (MCT) in coconut oil act as an effective skin conditioner, with moisturizing properties that can help protect against environmental and free radical damage.
Coconut oil is an effective treatment for candida (yeast overgrowth) which can lead to weight gain, carbohydrate cravings and fatigue. The fatty acids in coconut oil are easily digested and converted into energy which can help in boosting metabolism and burning fat.
Lauric Acid, which is only found in breast milk and coconut milk, is converted into monolaurin in the body. Monolaurin has been shown to have anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-protozoa properties.
The MCT that coconut oil contains goes directly to your liver to use as energy. The true benefit is that coconut oil provides an excellent source of instant energy for your body without spiking insulin levels, and without the harmful effects of consuming large amounts of carbohydrates, which is a factor in diabetes onset.
The fatty acids in coconut oil are terrific conditioners for your hair. They work from the inside of the hair shaft out, providing protein and nutrients, and helping to eliminate dandruff.
These are just a few of the benefits of coconut oil. Be sure to incorporate this incredible oil into your lifestyle, both externally as well as internally, and enjoy its amazing benefits. One final suggestion – be sure to use organic, unrefined, cold-pressed, extra-virgin coconut oil for maximum benefits.
Michael Lenz RPh, is a partner in Fallon Wellness Pharmacy of Saratoga. He has over 10 years experience in custom compounding. Michael has received extensive training in Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) and Adrenal Fatigue. He is an advocate for healthy eating and proper nutritional supplementation, and speaks frequently on the subjects of hormone health, nutrition and wellness. Michael is currently enrolled in the Institute For Functional Medicine’s Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner Program. He lives in Saratoga Springs, NY with his wife and 4 children.