Updated: Oct 14, 2020
Yes! Coconut oil has profound and numerous benefits to the human body. Lets explore why this is and some of the ways this oil can be advantageous.
It's no surprise today that neurodegenerative conditions are on the rise. We are seeing higher and higher rates of dementia, especially in the form of Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's. The brain is composed of 60% fat and requires healthy fats to reinforce the myelin sheath, help with neuronal signaling and to aid in memory and recall. When healthy fats are deprived and there is higher carbohydrate intake (especially refined, gluten-containing grains,) brain health suffers. Coconut oil provides key constituents in the form of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) to bolster neurologic health. These fats are processed through the liver and form ketones, which help to repair and bolster functionality of the central nervous system (2).
In addition to the brain being aided by these healthy fats, we know that proper endocrine system health is predicated on healthy fats in the diet. These fats can especially help modulate estrogen levels during menopause and help stabilize hormonal output for cycling females.
Cognitive enhancements are observed from the ingestion of MCTs in coconut oil.
Coconut oil is powerful when it comes to immune health because it acts as a natural antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal agent. Monolaurin comes from lauric acid metabolism and aids the process of allowing the body to fight these pathogenic organisms. Additionally, coconut oil is a tremendous natural anti-candida product and can help minimize the overgrowth of candida and yeast in the gut. This is huge because candida can perforate the intestine based in its structure, which can then lead to inflammatory processes being initiated in the body. Coconut oil is able to help combat urinary tract infections as well. Most of these are caused by E. coli and at other times fungal species. Its antibacterial and anti-fungal capabilities can provide stark relief when it comes to these types of infections.
Coconut oil has been shown to raise what is known as the good cholesterol, HDL, and therefore can have positive impacts on heart health as well as reducing hypertension(1).
Coconut oil can provide some noticeable external benefits when it comes to complexion. The caprylic and lauric acid within coconut oil help to moisturize, cleanse and also act as anti-inflammatories to help enhance the skin microflora. The antioxidants present help nourish the skin and help heal the skin of various inflammatory conditions.
A tablespoon or two a day of virgin coconut oil can be a good idea to notice the benefits listed above. Coconut oil has a smoke point of 350 degrees Fahrenheit so it's an okay oil to cook with. It can also be included in smoothies or even just consumed as is.
I don't generally promote a lot of high saturated fat foods, but coconut oil is one exception that boasts profound health capabilities.
Dr. Seamus Allen
CFMP, DACBN, DC