Coconut oil benefits, what are they? Recently, the American Heart Association (AHA) issued an advisory stating that replacing saturated fat with “healthier” (unsaturated) fat in our diets can lower our risk of certain diseases. This statement was blown out of proportion, and everyone thought that the AHA said, “coconut oil is unhealthy.” In fact, what they said is that a healthy diet should have plenty of unsaturated fats, so replacing some coconut oil (82% saturated fat) with unsaturated fat may be beneficial.
So yes, coconut oil is primarily saturated fat. However, saturated fat is not as bad as we have been led to believe. Let’s look at some benefits of coconut oil!
1. Great Source of Saturated Fat
Let’s state the obvious first: coconut oil is a great source of saturated fat! There is nothing wrong with saturated fat in general. Contrary to popular myth, there is no evidence that consuming saturated fats can increase risk of heart disease. Saturated fat can raise levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol and can only mildly elevate large LDL cholesterol.
Coconut oil contains approximately 60-70% medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are quickly absorbed and used as energy. Much of the MCT content of coconut oil consists of lauric acid, a 12-carbon saturated fatty acid that has been shown to have antimicrobial and antifungal properties.
There is evidence that coconut oil has a higher thermic effect of food (TEF) than longer chain triglycerides. This means that coconut oil may be able to increase metabolism to a greater extent than regular fatty acids.
4. Great to Cook With
Because it is so high in saturated fat, coconut oil is more stable and less prone to oxidation than unsaturated fats, which can react with oxygen to form toxic byproducts. When cooking food at extremely high temperatures, coconut oil is a great choice.
Like all oils, coconut oil is calorie-dense and very filling. This makes it a great fat to help promote fullness. This is why you often see people putting coconut oil in their coffee while they are fasting!
Improve Blood Lipids
Coconut oil contains phytosterols, which are structurally similar to cholesterol. Phytosterols can decrease serum LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, and they may even have anti-tumor properties.
Aid in Vitamin Absorption
Certain vitamins (D,E,K,A) are fat soluble meaning that they require dietary fat to be absorbed and broken down. Coconut oil is a great fat source for nutrient absorption duet to its ability to be rapidly absorbed.
Because coconut oil can be rapidly converted to ketones, it has therapeutic applications, especially for neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s. Whenever the ketogenic diet has an effective therapeutic application, coconut oil is a great option to fine-tune the diet and give the body quick, easy access to a fat source that can aid in ketogenesis.
Did you know that coconut oil can also provide beauty benefits?
When considering the consequences of specific foods on your health, remember that the overall picture is what matters. Coconut oil has several health benefits, and we should consume it in moderation as part of a balanced diet for best results.
- Despite recent news, coconut oil is very beneficial to our health.
- Coconut oil is high in saturated fat which can increase HDL cholesterol.
- Coconut oil can aid in ketone production.
- Coconut oil can help you feel full.
- Coconut oil can aid in nutrient absorption.
- Coconut oil can provide antibacterial and anti fungal properties