Because the word "fat" is often associated with being overweight, many people go overboard and think that all fats are bad. That's far from the case. Some fats are necessary, and some fats are actually amazingly good for you.
Coconut oil contains some of those amazing fats, called medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs). They include caprylic acid, lauric acid, and capric acid.
What makes these fatty acids so amazing? For one thing, they convert into energy far more easily than do many other fats. While most fats go through a process that entails 26 steps to be converted into energy, MCFAs require only three steps. Because they are smaller than long-chain fatty acids, they’re relatively easy to digest. And because they’re processed by the liver, they become energy immediately after the liver does its job with them.
4 Key Benefits of Coconut Oil
1) It Helps Prevent Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure
Coconut oil is full of natural saturated fats. This not only increases the amount of good cholesterol in your bloodstream, but also helps to convert bad cholesterol into good cholesterol.
2) It Can Help Brain Function
When MCFAs are processed through the liver, a byproduct of this process is ketones. Ketones are an alternative from of energy that your tissues and muscles can use for fuel. When your body doesn’t produce enough insulin to turn glucose into energy, the body can use ketones instead. This has great potential implications for brain health.
The brains of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease have generally lost the ability to create insulin. Ketones can step in and provide another source of energy to maintain brain function.
3) It Can Help Prevent Cancer
Tumors use sugar to grow, but tumor cells are unable to derive energy from ketones. Producing more ketones through consumption of coconut oil gives the body the energy it needs for its healthy cells, while simultaneously depriving energy from cancer cells.
4) It Can Help You Lose Abdominal Fat
One study, observing 40 women with abdominal obesity, found that they lost considerable amounts of fat after taking daily supplements of 2 tablespoons of coconut oil for 12 weeks.
The Last Word
The research into the benefits of coconut oil is still ongoing, and it has a lot of calories per ounce, so it shouldn’t be used in excessive amounts. One of the easiest ways to integrate it into your diet is to replace your standard cooking oils with coconut oil. But keep in mind that coconut oil isn’t the best choice for high-temp cooking (above 350 degrees). Oh, and it tastes great!
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