This article originally appeared on Live in the Now.
The natural health community has embraced the use of coconut oil for many health conditions with much enthusiasm and excitement — and for good reason. While early research forced many to shy away from coconut oil, epidemiological studies reveal that, despite coconut oil’s saturated fat content, populations who regularly use coconut and coconut oil in their diets experience considerable value of this substance in promoting wellness due to its unique chemical structures.
While most of the fats contained in meat, dairy products and vegetables are classified as long-chain fatty acids, coconut oil is one of the few dietary sources of medium-chain fatty acids, specifically, lauric acid. This is an important distinction because the body responds to and metabolizes the different sized fatty acids in different ways. In fact, one study found that the consumption of lauric acid increased HDL cholesterol and resulted in an overall improved lipid profile.
Coconut oil also contains a unique fat called monolaurin. Jon Kabara, Ph.D., the scientist whose laboratory first discovered it, states it is one of the most exceptional fats found in nature.
The Case for Using Coconut Oil to Improve Health
Coconut oil is widely used in the Asian Pacific area, and many in this community enjoy excellent health and longevity. Also, research on people who live in tropical areas and whose diet is high in this oil show that they have lower rates of heart disease and cancer, as well as digestive maladies and prostate disorders.
Furthermore, coconut oil has been used in IV solutions for feeding critically ill patients for several decades. Additionally, it is a major ingredient in baby food, as it contains many of the same nutrients present in human breast milk. All of these facts, together with findings from hundreds of studies published in medical journals, attest to the reality that this oil has special properties.
Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
#1: Infection Fighter. Coconut oil contains lauric acid that is transformed within the body to monolaurin, a substance that is very toxic to viruses, funguses and bacteria.
#2: Hair and Skin Health. The molecular structure of the fatty acids of coconut oil are small, enabling them to penetrate the hair shaft. It is also a rich skin conditioner because the medium-chain triglycerides penetrate deeply.
#3: Weight Loss. The medium-chain fatty acids present in the oil boost metabolism more quickly than long-chain fatty acids, as they are easier to digest and convert into energy.
#4: Diabetes. Many people consume sugary foods and beverages to get a quick burst of energy, but this habit can lead to diabetes. Substituting coconut oil, a quick energy producer, for sugar in the diet can help prevent or delay the onset of this disease.
#5: Hypothyroidism. Coconut oil’s fast energy release associated with an increase in body temperature can stimulate the thyroid gland, causing it to become more active and produce more thyroid hormone.
#6: Bone Health. Studies show coconut oil aids in the absorption of calcium and magnesium, which strengthen bones and deters osteoporosis.
#7: Alzheimer’s Disease. Dr. Mary Newport found that coconut oil has medium-chain triglycerides, a substance used in a drug trial in which her husband was ineligible to participate. She administered a tablespoon of coconut oil to her husband two times a day for six weeks, which resulted in his near total recovery.
Bruce Fife, a certified nutritionist, naturopathic doctor and author of The Coconut Oil Miracle, asserts that this oil is one of the most amazing foods in the world. He has used it successfully in his practice to eradicate a host of maladies including psoriasis, dandruff and precancerous skin lesions, along with infections, chronic fatigue and hemorrhoids.