Welcome back to my Superfood Study series!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard all of the miracles that coconut oil brings. Skin, hair, weight loss, better teeth…. But what’s the truth? What do the studies show?
I’m starting here because this is what most people are concerned about – is eating more FAT going to help me lose FAT? The short answer? YES.
We’ve been raised to believe that fat, especially the saturated fat that is in coconut oil, has been demonized. Just look around in your grocery store – low fat cheese, low fat dairy, reduced fat, crackers and baked goods, “lean” meats, fat-free salad dressings… However, more studies are showing that consuming HEALTHY fats is good for your waistline! The saturated fats in coconut oil are medium chain triglycerides, or MCTs, which are metabolized differently than the fats on a steak, for example.
Coconut oil has been found to increase your metabolism and the amount of calories you burn each day, up to an average of an extra 120 calories burned/day. Coconut oil also helps curb hunger. The MCTs in the oil are turned into ketones, which are known appetite suppressant.
The Cholesterol Question
But isn’t eating more fat going to raise my cholesterol? Probably!
Hear me out, though: studies have show that coconut oil increases the GOOD HDL cholesterol while reducing the harmful LDL cholesterol, which can actually improve your health, especially in regards to your heart.
I can say from personal experience in my work that this is 100% true. A known treatment for seizures is a ketogenic diet, in which carbs are almost completely eliminated and most calories come from fats. Your brain then runs on ketones instead of sugar, and it really does help reduce seizures. Coconut oil is a staple in these diets.
Studies have shown that coconut oil can also be beneficial in Alzheimer’s with a similar mechanism.
Hair, Skin, & Nails
Obviously, coconut oil is an OIL, and therefore will help with dry skin. Did you know, though, that it also works as a sunscreen, too?! The same goes for your hair: moisture and sun protection.
Coconut oil has several oral health benefits. It contains lauric acid, which can kill the bacteria that causes dental problems and tooth decay. It can also help to reduce plaque, which may help prevent gingivitis (gum disease).
The final verdict?
If you’ve ever played with coconut oil, it’s kind of weird. But based on available research, it seems to play an important role in your overall health!
Try replacing your cooking oil with coconut oil. Yes, it DOES give a slight coconut-y taste, but even my husband (who hates coconut) doesn’t notice most of the time.
- Add a tablespoon into your smoothies or coffee in the morning.
- Create your own toothpaste with coconut oil, baking soda, and a peppermint extract.
- Try “oil pulling,” for your teeth: swish some coconut oil in your mouth for about 15-20 minutes, and spit into a trashcan (not your sinks unless you want clogged pipes!)
- Replace your moisturizer with coconut oil, but remember: a little goes a long way!
- Use coconut oil as a hair mask, and leave on for an hour or even overnight for soft, shiny hair. You may have to shampoo twice to get it all out after!
Want to review the scientific evidence for yourself? Click here!
To your health!
*All information based on studies and articles on authoritynutrition.com