We go Loco for Coco
Another week here and we are giving you the benefits plus the things we love to do with coconut oil!
So what is the craze?! It does have some relation to fat loss and improves brain function! Not surprisingly then we all love it. There has been a lot of talk about it over the past few years and things are always changing! Today we will get into the medicinal properties and the beauty effects, of course of coconut oil.
What is it made of?
So it’s made up of fatty acids. 92% of saturated fatty acids (triglycerides), about 70% are medium-chain fatty acids. The major fatty acid components of coconut oil includes 49% of lauric acid and 20% myristic acid. This becomes important later and you will see why.
So with that said given it is high in saturated fats is the reason why it has been linked to fat burning and provides your body as well as, your brain with quick sources of energy! It also raises cholesterol both the good and bad which is why it has not been approved for decreasing cardiovascular disease risk. We talked about most of these fatty acids being made up of medium chain triglycerides which means that they reach the liver are used for energy or turn into ketones. These ketones are now being studied for treatment of epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, among others.
There are populations that depend on coconut oil such as, Tokelauans in the South Pacific who get over 60% of their calories from coconuts and the Kitvans have been studied before and showed excellent health with low rates of heart disease.
1. Coconut oil and its relationship with fat burning is due to the medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil playing a role on the amount of calories you burn when compared to the same amount from longer chain fatty acids. One study showed that these medium chain fatty acids were shown to increase calories burned over twenty four hour period by as much as 5%. However, even knowing this it is still fattening so it has to be used in moderation.
2. It may kill harmful microorganisms so 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil are made up of 12-carbon lauric acid which was mentioned before and this forms another substance known as monolaurin when ingested. Both of these substances act on killing harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses and certain types of fungus. For example, staph and candida infections. You know yeast infections? That's caused by the candida species!
3. It can reduce hunger and help you eat less. This mechanism is still unclear but may be due to the way fats are metabolized. Those ketones we mentioned earlier they have an appetite suppressing effect. Which makes sense given the keto diet but we will get into that another time. Also, medium chain triglycerides have been studied in terms of consumption and it showed that people who ate more of these during breakfast consumed less calories at lunch. Other studies even showed that they consumed less calories per day. These studies aren’t definitive but it shows some relationship specifically in men. With that said, you need to remember that one tablespoon of coconut oil is equal to 120 calories so it is still fattening just may be better than some other things you currently use. Like we always say… Everything in moderation.
4. This one is really cool! It has been linked to reduce seizures. Specifically keeping a low carb and high fat diet increases the ketone concentration in the blood. This has been studied now to treat a bunch of disorders but most research has been shown with respect to its therapeutic effect in drug-resistant epilepsy in children!
5. It can also raise HDL cholesterol which is the protective cholesterol! Coconut oil has saturated fats that increase good HDL so this can be protective for your heart however it can also increase LDL cholesterol which is bad for your heart. This came about on an initial study that showed some affiliation between HDL and saturated fats however, evidence since then has showed it increases both types which is why its not used to decrease cardiovascular risk.
6. Lots of the implications of coconut oil revolve around skin and hair protection as well as dental care. It has been noted to help with dry skin by improving the moisture content which makes sense given the richness of coconut oil. It can help with the symptoms of eczema specifically the dryness. There has been some evidence that it may work as a weak sunscreen (providing up to 20% protection) but again this isn’t a substitute for SPF. It protects against hair damage and makes it nice silky, shiny as well as smooth. There is also something known as oil pulling which is when coconut oil is used as a mouthwash. People do this due to some evidence that it can kill bacteria in your mouth, thus improving your dental health and reducing bad breath!
7. We mentioned earlier some of its neurological effects. To reiterate it can boost brain function via the fatty acids and may be beneficial for Alzheimer’s patients. There has been evidence that shows Alzheimer’s patients are unable to use glucose for energy in certain parts of the brain. With that said, ketones may provide an alternative energy source. This is still really early in evaluation and it’s not necessarily the coconut oil but the medium chain triglycerides that may have this effect. In the future, there may be some promise as Alzheimer’s is a debilitating and progressive disease with no cure at this time.
8. It can help you lose fat, particularly the stubborn abdominal fat which the most harmful type of fat and hardest to get rid of. Side note: If you are interested in measuring the fat in your abdominal cavity get your waist circumference! Anyways, this theory came from two studies that demonstrated that two tablespoons of coconut oil per day is associated with a significant reduction in BMI and waist circumference. But again as mentioned, this would be 240 calories of just coconut oil as part of your meal. Remember coconut oil is high in calories so don’t add it to everything but you can replace this oil with other cooking fats to help with weight loss, slightly.
Our take on Coconut oil?
We buy the one from Trader Joes and we use the organic, virgin coconut oil (unrefined, of course) and we use it in a variety of ways.
Secret Tip #1: Use the coconut oil spray for food instead of butter!
Secret Tip #2: Use it as a hair mask that you can either put on for twenty minutes or overnight over the tips of your hair or the entire scalp! Remember it is very rich and may be hard to wash off.
Secret Tip #3: Use it for your coffee since you can get coconut creamer or milk. Even better, make dark chocolate (sugar free that is!)
Secret Tip #4: Some people have opted for coconut oil as a natural deodorant due to its antibacterial properties and lack of other chemicals.
Secret Tip #5: We love to use it on our cuticles and rub it into our elbows
Secret Tip #6: It can also be used as a gentle eye makeup remover
Secret Tip #7: Use it as a natural lip balm even slightly protecting your lips from the sun!
If you didn't think we loved coconuts before well now you know... That's all for this week, don't forget to leave us feedback, rate, review, subscribe and send in your questions so we can continue to improve as well as, provide you high quality content!
Disclaimer: The Content on our podcast/website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.