Not long ago, the common belief was that saturated fats were harmful for consumption. People were told to keep their distance and refrain from eating foods high in this type of fat. Now, upon further investigation, it has been found that the opposite is true. Naturally sourced saturated fats are actually beneficial for your health, particularly for the brain and heart. Research shows that consuming coconut oil, for example, can be an excellent source of these benefits.
An important new study focusing on coconut oil and its health effects was conducted at the School of Medicine of the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro with promising results for those with high cholesterol. Considering that conventional pharmaceutical methods used to lower cholesterol such as Statins have a wide range of seriously harmful side effects, the new findings could help many. Consuming coconut oil may provide the same results as these medications, but naturally and with added health benefits.
New Research on Consuming Coconut Oil
The focus of the study in Rio de Janeiro was on how consuming coconut oil affected HDL cholesterol and body weight, size, and circumference. All participants in this study had high blood pressure, putting them at higher risk for a variety of issues including coronary artery disease, stroke, heart failure, vision loss, and kidney disease. 63% of the 136 participants were male, and all were between 54 and 70 years old. 95% also had dyslipidemia, an abnormal amount of lipids in the bloodstream such as triglycerides, cholesterol, and phospholipids, and were taking conventional drugs to lower cholesterol.
For the first three months of the study, all participants were placed on a standardized and regulated diet. The 116 who followed through with this phase were then placed into two groups. Group one included 22 participants who continued with the pre-formulated diet, while the remaining 92 were given strict directions on consuming coconut oil. They were asked to take 13 ml, or approximately one tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil daily.
At the end of the trial period, the results were that the group of participants who had been consuming coconut oil showed a decrease in weight, body mass, waist circumference, neck perimeter, and systolic and diastolic blood pressures.
Consuming one tablespoon of coconut oil daily resulted in an average of:
- 0.6 kg weight reduction
- 0.2 kg body mass reduction
- 2.1 cm waist circumference reduction
- 4 cm neck perimeter reduction
- 3.3 points reduction in systolic blood pressure
- 3.5 points reduction in diastolic blood pressure
- 3.1 to 7.4 mg increase in HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol)
Scientifically speaking, researchers concluded, “non-pharmacological interventions are essential for risk factor control in secondary prevention among patients with coronary disease. Our study showed that a diet rich in extra virgin coconut oil seems to favor the reduction of WC and the increase of HDL-C concentrations, raising with secondary prevention for CAD patients.”
In other words, the study supports the idea that consuming coconut oil daily could be more effective for those who are overweight and at risk for heightened cardiovascular disease than traditional pharmaceutical approaches. Consuming coconut oil appears to be an all natural diet-based lifestyle change that can raise HDL cholesterol safely and reduce midsection fat.
Top 10 Benefits of Coconut Oil
Consuming coconut oil may very well be one of the most versatile natural remedies available. Its uses for health and wellness are infinite.
In addition to its benefits for weight loss and cholesterol, here are just a few other coconut oil benefits:
- Healing Sunburns. Applying coconut oil regularly to sunburns not only soothes the burning sensation, but it also aids in preventing further damage and complications.
- Wound Recovery. Using coconut oil on wounds can speed up recovery and prevent scarring.
- Improving Fungal Infections. Because of its antifungal and antibacterial properties, coconut oil can be used to help fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, candida, or ringworm, as well as for reducing the overgrowth of bacteria.
- Pregnancy Stretch Marks. Rubbing coconut oil on a pregnant woman’s belly can prevent the appearance of stretch marks, as well as other marks and scars on the skin.
- Face and Hair Care. Coconut oil has been shown to be a great skin moisturizer and to diminish dark circles under the eyes. Many people also use it as a deep conditioner for shinier, healthier hair.
- Heartburn. Consuming a spoonful of coconut oil has been shown to reduce painful heartburn sensations.
- Asthma. Coconut products are helpful for asthma because they can be substituted for foods that cause inflammation and worsen asthma symptoms.
- Hormone Imbalance and Stress. Hormone health is extremely important, especially when recovering from Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS), a common ailment in today’s fast-paced and overstressed world. The healthy fats found in coconut oil are extremely useful in hormone regulation. Coconut oil can aid in fighting the symptoms of AFS and bolster the neuroendo Metabolic (NEM) Stress Response, our body’s system of self-regulation that works to protect against excessive stress.
- Inflammation and Arthritis. Inflammation can wreak havoc on your body due to imbalances and overuse of the NEM Stress Response system. The caprylic and lauric acids that are found in coconut oil have been proven to lower internal and external inflammation.
- Alzheimer’s and Epilepsy. Coconut oil is a natural remedy for both Alzheimer’s and epilepsy as it increases the production of ketones in the blood which have been found beneficial in many neurological disorders.
The list does not stop here. There are many more ways of using coconut oil as a natural medicine.
The question then becomes how to integrate this superfood into your diet.
Ways to Add Coconut Oil to Your Diet
Not everyone is able to down a tablespoon of raw coconut oil every day. Some will need a bit of coaxing, and other methods and variations of food to take it with are always nice. Here are some other great coconut oil ideas:
- Add a tablespoon of melted coconut oil to your smoothies. Here you can get creative with taste. You can keep it more green flavored if you are a veggie lover by adding kale, celery, and spinach, or sweeten it up with some bananas and strawberries, cherries or peaches. Recipes for smoothies come by the millions. Find one that is suitable to your taste buds, and make it part of your daily regiment.
- Keep the coconut oil solid, and spread it on toast with some organic, all-natural jelly. You’ll want to make sure your bread is organic and whole grain as well.
- Mix in with hot coffee or tea.
- Use it for baking and frying. Coconut oil can replace most oils and butter. Here you can have fun and get creative. From muffins to stir-frys, the list is endless!