The benefits of coconut oil

This popular food has many health benefits.

There has been plenty of hype surrounding coconut oil, so here are some of the facts if you’ve never tried this tropical delight before.

Coconut oil contains short term medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs). These are the healthier form of saturated fat, unlike trans fat. Trans fatty acid consumption is linked with heart problems, depression and increased cholesterol levels. When we consume MCFA fats in coconut oil our body metabolises these fats in the liver, immediately converting this into energy (fuel for the brain and muscle function) rather than it being stored as fat.

Researchers discovered coconut oil helps weight loss as it is easy to digest and protects the body from insulin resistance. Add one teaspoon to your (healthy) diet and gradually work your way up to four teaspoons per day to help with weight loss.

Coconut oil has been found to benefit digestive disorders including irritable bowel syndrome and microbial related tummy bugs. Fatty acids in coconut oil contain anti-microbial properties, which have a soothing effect on bacteria, candida or parasites that cause poor digestion.

A recent study by the Garvan Institute of Medical Research found that coconut oil protects against insulin resistance, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. MCFA fats are small enough to be absorbed into the cells where they’re quickly converted to energy. This process reduces the amount of fat we put into storage and improves insulin sensitivity.

Coconut oil is made up of healthy fats including lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid. These contain antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral prosperities to boost the immune system. Lauric acid contains the highest concentration of MCFA fatty acids, approximately 75 percent. The body turns this fat into monolaurin which is claimed to help heal viruses such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, helicobacter pylori and candida.

So next time you’re at your local health food counter pick up some coconut oil and add it to your diet. Read more about the health benefits here.