Coconut oil is widely marketed as a superfood.
The unique combination of fatty acids in coconut oil may have positive effects on your health, such as boosting fat loss, heart health, and brain function.
Here are 5 evidence-based health benefits of coconut oil.
1. Good For Hair, Sin and Teeth
Many people use Coconut Oil for cosmetic purposes to improve the health and appearance of their skin and hair.
Studies show that coconut oil can improve the moisture content of dry skin and reduce the symptoms of eczema.
Coconut oil can also protect against hair damage. One study shows that it may work as a weak sunscreen, blocking about 20% of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Oil pulling, which involves swishing coconut oil in your mouth like mouthwash, may kill some of the harmful bacteria in the mouth. This may improve dental health and reduce bad breath, though more research is needed
2.Healthy Fatty Acids
The fatty acids in coconut oil can encourage your body to burn fat, and they provide quick energy to your body and brain. They also raise HDL (good) cholesterol in your blood, which may help reduce heart disease risk.
Most dietary fats are categorized as long-chain triglycerides (LCTs), while coconut oil contains some Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are shorter fatty acid chains.
When you eat MCTs, they tend to go straight to your liver. Your body uses them as a quick source of energy or turns them into ketones.
Ketones can have powerful benefits for your brain, and researchers are studying ketones as a treatment for epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and other conditions.
3. May Boost Heart Health
In some parts of the world, coconut — which is loaded with coconut oil — is a dietary staple that people have thrived on for generations.
For example, a 1981 study noted that the population of Tokelau, an island chain in the South Pacific, obtained over 60% of their calories from coconuts. Researchers reported not only good overall health but also very low rates of heart disease.
Kitavan people in Papua New Guinea also eat a lot of coconuts, alongside tubers, fruit, and fish, and have a little stroke or heart disease
4. May Help Reduce Harmful Abdominal Fat
As some of the fatty acids in coconut oil can reduce appetite and increase fat burning, it may also help you lose weight.
Abdominal fat, or visceral fat, lodges in the abdominal cavity and around your organs. MCTs appear to be especially effective at reducing fat belly compared to LCTs.
Abdominal fat, the most harmful type, is linked to many chronic diseases.
Waist circumference is an easy, accurate marker for the amount of fat in the abdominal cavity
5. May Boost Brain Function in Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. It usually affects older adults.
This condition reduces your brain’s ability to use glucose for energy.
Researchers have suggested that ketones can provide an alternative energy source for these malfunctioning brain cells to reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
The authors of a 2006 study reported that MCTs improved brain function in people with milder forms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Yet, research is still preliminary, and no evidence suggests that coconut oil itself combats this illness.