Nuts about Coconut Oil: Top 5 Benefits

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coconutGuest Blog Post…

In the past, coconut oil was thought to be unhealthy– so unhealthy, in fact, that people actually believed it was a primary contributor to heart disease. But boy, did we have it wrong! As it turns out, coconut oil is actually a heart-healthy food, among many other health benefits, including potential disease-curing qualities. As an ingredient in beauty products, such as shampoos and lotions, coconut oil has a natural way of moisturizing and softening dry skin, without leaving behind the unwanted oiliness.

When used in cooking, coconut oil provides an essential combination of fatty acids that can encourage fat loss, improve brain function and increase your energy. In addition to the benefits mentioned here, coconut oil is also one of the best oils for cooking because it’s one of the healthiest in comparison with vegetable or olive oil. Who knew?

If you can work it in, you’ll be benefiting your body in the following ways:

1. Fatty Acids
Coconut oil contains a fat known as Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT), which is simply a medium-length fatty acid. It’s actually a type of saturated fat that’s metabolized differently as a quick source of energy for your body, or is turned into ketones, which could possibly have a therapeutic impact on brain disorders.

Despite the fact that these saturated fats can benefit you, there still needs to be a reasonable amount of moderation, since too much saturated fat (of any kind) can cause problems with weight gain and eventually, clogged arteries. Once again, the best method is to work it into your cooking as an oil substitute.

2. Coconut Oil and Heart Disease
In the United States, it is estimated that one out of every three deaths is a result of heart disease. If you’re looking to reduce your own risk, you should know that coconut oil can actually increase HDL (good cholesterol) and help to improve the overall cholesterol profile.

Since the ratio of HDL to LDL (bad cholesterol) is considered a more accurate indicator of heart disease risk, pushing the HDL levels higher means the ratio improves which reduces your risk of heart disease by the medical community’s standards.

3. Cholesterol Free
Even with such a high concentration of saturated fat (over 90-percent, which is the highest of any food), coconut oil is cholesterol-free. Additionally, coconut contains lauric acid, which can increase the good HDL cholesterol in your blood.

4. Increased Energy 
By providing good saturated fats that are easily converted into energy by your liver, coconut oil can provide a quick and sustaining form of energy. As a result, this can help suppress your appetite, making you feel satisfied for a longer period of time.

5. Protection against Hair and Skin Damage
Studies have shown the coconut oil can improve the lipid and moisture content of your skin, which makes it useful in a cosmetic sense. It’s also frequently used in hair care products, as it’s able to block up to 20-percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays.

How should you use it?
Many are touting coconut oil as the latest cure-all solution to the world’s health problems. A couple minutes on WebMD will put that to rest fairly quickly. While it certainly is good for you and has some tremendous health benefits, it should be used and enjoyed in moderation like anything else, particularly due to the high amount of saturated fat it naturally contains.

Work it into your meals and use the lotion and shampoo at your own discretion. While it might not be a “cure all,” it’s definitely good for you.

Virginia Cunningham is a freelance writer and health enthusiast living in the Los Angeles area. As someone who is very health-conscious, incorporating coconut oil as well as other natural ingredients into her diet is a top priority. How do you cook with coconut oil? Share your comments below!

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