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Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

By Paul Rothbart

There are many foods that are marketed as superfoods. They are touted for the health benefits their nutritional content provides. Some are just the latest fad, but many are backed by science. One of these latter superfoods is coconut oil. Research has discovered that this unique combination of fatty acids may boost your health in a number of ways. Here are some of the benefits of coconut oil.

Healthy Fatty Acids

Coconut oil is high in saturated fats. These are the healthy dietary fats that have a positive impact on the body. The fats in coconut oil can encourage your body to burn fat and provide energy to the body and brain. They also help reduce the risk of heart disease by raising the level of good cholesterol in the blood. Coconut oil also contains medium-chain triglycerides. The body turns them into ketones, substances that provide benefits for the brain and may help reduce the risk of Alzheimer's.

Improve Heart Health

Coconuts are not a common food in the West. However in some parts of the world, they are a staple in the diet. People who consume coconuts are also getting coconut oil. A study was conducted in 1981 in Tokelau, an island chain in the South Pacific, where coconuts provide 60 percent of the daily calories consumed. The researchers found that the overall health of the people there was excellent and they had a very low risk of heart disease. The people of Papua New Guinea, another place where coconuts are a staple, have a low rate of heart attacks and strokes. 

May Help Burn More Fat

Good health is not just about body weight, it's also about body composition. Burning more fat to create a leaner body is essential to improving health. Research has found that the medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil may encourage the body to burn more fat. The number of calories burned every 24 hours may be increased by as much as 5 percent by adding coconut oil to the diet. 

Antimicrobial Effects

About 50 percent of the fatty acid in coconut oil is lauric acid. Upon digesting lauric acid, the body creates a substance called monolaurin. Monolaurin and lauric acid both kill viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Test tube studies have shown that these substances may be very helpful in killing harmful pathogens. Coconut, when used as a mouthwash, may help oral hygiene by killing germs in the mouth. 

There are a growing number of foods that research is discovering have multiple health benefits. It just makes sense that consuming these will help boost health. Coconut oil is not a common food, but research suggests that it is well worth adding to the diet. 

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Orlando, Fla.

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