You have probably heard about some of the many health benefits of coconut oil. Many people following a low carb or keto diet use it but you may be worried that because it’s primarily a saturated fat it may not be so good for you.
After all a few years ago a Harvard University professor caused a bit of a storm when he called coconut oil “pure poison”. We’ve long been hearing that saturated fats are unhealthy but the tide is turning.
Related reading: Coconut Oil Is Not Poison But Sugar Is!
In 2014, researchers conducted a meta-analysis of research studies and randomized, controlled clinical trials which examined the effect of saturated fats on cardiovascular health.
No association between saturated fat and heart disease
The researchers found no significant association between the consumption of saturated fats and diseases of the heart and blood vessels including coronary heart disease, angina, and heart attack.
That’s hardly surprising because countries with the highest intakes of coconut oil have the lowest rates of heart disease.
Related reading: Keto and Heart Disease: Are Keto and Paleo Bad for your Heart?
For most people using coconut oil poses no problem. I’ve been eating raw coconut oil by the table spoon for a few years now and I wrote about the result of my latest in depth cholesterol test in this article.
Dr Mark Hyman states:
I call MCTs (found in coconut oil) a super fuel for your cells because your body uses this kind of fat very efficiently. Your cells burn MCTs for energy while storing very little as fat, boosting your metabolism and supporting your immune system.
Since coconut oil is loaded with these healthy fats those who are following the ketogenic lifestyle add it to their meals.
Related reading: How much Fat should I eat on Keto?
It can help you to reach or maintain the ketosis state, which is the main concept behind keto.
Aside from helping you to stay in ketosis coconut oil comes with many other excellent health benefits. Let’s take a look at these in more detail.
Health Benefits of Coconut Oil for Keto
1. Aids in Weight Loss
One of the many ways in which the coconut oil can help you to lose weight is its ability to crush cravings by making you feel full longer.
According to Lisa Cohn, R.D. a consultant for miVIP Surgery Centers,
“The fat content in coconut is a medium-chain triglyceride, which helps with satiety,”
Several studies have shown that medium-chain fatty acids like coconut oil can help to suppress appetite, which prevents a person from overeating. Since coconut oil is rich in fiber and good fats, it can help you to feel full longer, which avoids unhealthy cravings.
Also coconut oil is low in calories, having only 8.3 calories per gram. It is therefore a healthier alternative for those who are trying to lose weight.
Coconut oil has also been found to have fat-burning properties that can help to boost metabolism.
2. Fights Heart Diseases and Cancer
in 1978, the United Nations released a demographic yearbook that shows Sri Lanka, a country that uses coconut oil as a main dietary fat, has the lowest number of deaths resulting from heart diseases.
After 1978, there was a campaign against saturated fats in the country, which has led to a decrease in coconut oil consumption. People started consuming corn oil as an alternative. As a result, the number of patients suffering from heart diseases has sadly increased.
Because of the results of this study, health experts believe that one of the health benefits of coconut oil is to prevent heart diseases and cancer. It has been found that coconut oil contains properties that protect the heart from diseases.
Research also shows that medium-chain fatty acids contain anti-coagulation properties that minimize the risk of atherosclerosis. This is a heart condition that will cause the arteries to harden leading to severe heart complications.
Because coconut oil can help produce ketones in the body, these tumor cells won’t be able to use it as a source of energy. The tumor can be prevented from growing and won’t spread to some other parts of your body.
In addition, coconut oil has been found to help kill the bacteria that causes stomach cancer. In some studies, coconut oil has been found to effectively prevent the development of cancer.
3. Prevents Metabolic Diseases
Coconut oil is made up of MCTs or medium-chain triglycerides. According to some studies, medium-chain fatty acids can help to effectively protect the body from metabolic diseases, including obesity, hypertension, and diabetes.
The MCTs have antioxidant effects on the body, which reduces the free radical toxins and boosts the body’s immune system.
Related reading: Does MCT Oil Burn Fat?
Adding coconut oil into your keto diet can also help to fight off diabetes by lowering your blood sugar level.
If you are suffering from an autoimmune disease, you may want to consult with your doctor about adding the coconut oil into your diet. Aside from being an anti-inflammatory, the MCTs have been found to have a positive effect on the body’s autoimmune characteristics.
In fact, some studies suggest that coconut oil may also help to minimize the risk of cognitive impairments like dementia. Therefore it may be effective in treating Alzheimer’s disease.
4. Fights the Signs of Aging
One of the many health benefits of coconut oil is in fighting the signs of aging. The oil has the ability to increase the body’s antioxidant properties. It also supports the body’s ability to detoxify naturally.
Many of those who follow the keto diet apply coconut oil topically to fight the signs of aging. You can apply it directly to your skin or hair in order to benefit from its healing properties.
Coconut oil can also be consumed to treat the gut and improve digestive problems which may be due to an overgrowth of bacteria or yeast or a result of oxidative stress.
5. Gives You More Energy
Among the health benefits of coconut oil for keto is its ability to convert to instant energy. People who are following low carb diets like keto can greatly benefit from this.
In fact, some athletes rely on coconut oil instead of energy drinks to give them a boost of energy for their game.
Unlike the energy drinks that could cause a sugar spike, coconut oil is healthy and safe. The energy that it gives is a result of the medium-chain fatty acid’s ability to be converted to energy instantly instead of being storing in the body for later use.
The medium-chain fatty acids will immediately metabolize into energy since they can penetrate deep into the mitochondrial membranes where energy is made.
Studies done on mice have found that those animals that were fed with medium-chain fatty acids outperformed those that were given long-chain fatty acids. The results also show that the mice which received the medium-chain fatty acids were able to burn fats faster.
Indeed, the health benefits of coconut oil for keto are immense, thanks to its high saturated fat content. Adding good quality coconut oil to your low carb diet is highly recommended.
It will not only help you to effectively shed off the excess pounds, but it can also help prevent cancer, heart disease, and metabolic diseases.
Just make sure you choose high-quality coconut oil that’s pure and organic and does not come with toxic ingredients. This one from Garden of Life is a good one.