I’ve heard all sorts of crazy claims about coconut oil. I’m sure they aren’t all true. Anyone can just make anything up and put it on the internet. So I’m on a mission to find the top 10 proven coconut oil benefits. When I say proven, I mean that there should be at one reliable study backing up that benefit. It was hard to narrow the list down to the top 10, but I want them to not only be real, proven benefits, but benefits that are good benefits that you actually care about.
Before I start talking about the health benefits of coconut oil, I feel like I first need to explain a little more about coconut oil and what it’s made up of. Coconut oil is made up of 6 fatty acids, but of those 6, there is only one fatty acid that makes up more than 10% of coconut oil. So, if you ask me, when someone says there’s this study about caprylic acid and how it’s so great and marvelous, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can make that leap to saying that coconut oil has those same benefits.
After all, caprylic acid only makes up 7% of coconut oil. So you have to take that in to account. Like, say you read an article and it says 1 unit of caprylic acid a day helps with X, say there are only .1 units of caprylic acid in a tsp., you have would to eat 10 tsp. a day to get the benefits at the level it’s talking about in that study. You also have to consider things like how the coconut oil is processed and if you are heating the coconut oil. All those things can change the conclusion.
According to Wikipedia, coconut oil is made up of 48% of lauric acid. To me, that’s significant. If you haven’t heard of lauric acid before, just know that it’s awesome. And 48% is an impressive amount.
If you take the percents of caprylic, lauric and capric acids and add them up, around 62% of the oils in coconut oil are medium-chain fatty acids. So some people say that coconut oil is bad because it is about 90% saturated fat. I grew up being told that saturated fat was evil, horrible and to be avoided at all costs. But it’s important to note that since the saturated fat in coconut is 62% medium-chain fatty acids, it’s healthy saturated fat. What do I mean by healthy? Short and medium-chain fatty acids are absorbed by our body just as other absorbed nutrients do. However, long-chain fatty acids end up as triglycerides. The triglycerides are coated with cholesterol and protein into a compound called a chylomicron.
Further, there is increasing evidence that saturated fat does not cause heart disease, nor does high cholesterol.
Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
- Improves Thyroid Function (see more here)
- It is a stable, healthy saturated fat that contains zero trans fats.
- It is a medium chain fatty acid which is quickly absorbed, metabolized and converted to energy.
- It supports healthy metabolic functions, promoting natural weight loss.
- It supports the immune system.
- It functions as an anti-oxidant.
- It promotes healthy skin and hair.
- It prevents destructive free-radical formation and provides protection against them.
- It can help to keep the skin from developing liver spots, and other blemishes caused by aging and over exposure to sunlight.
- It helps to keep connective tissues strong and supple so that the skin doesn’t sag and wrinkle. In some cases it can even restore damaged or diseased skin.
Coconut Oil Brand and Cost ComparisonUnfortunately, everyone doesn’t live close to a warehouse store, but if you do, make sure and check there before you buy it anywhere else. I buy mine at Costco.
Island Fresh - Amazon
Nutiva - Amazon
Thrive Market - Thrive Market
Nutiva - Thrive Market
Vitacost - Vitacost
How have you used coconut oil? Have you noticed any benefits? Did I leave something out? Leave a comment and share your insights!