Coconut Oil certainly earns its place as a super food. Its unique combination of fatty acids can have a profound positive effect on our health. Those positive effects can include better brain function, improved cognitive abilities, weight loss, more energy and better health in general.
Types of Fatty Acids
Coconut oil does not contain your average fats. Most of the fatty acids in coconut oil are medium-chain fatty acids (MCTs) so they metabolise differently from those found in the likes of cheese, which are known as long-chain fatty acids (LCTs). MCTs metabolise differently in your body, going straight to the liver from the digestive tract. This means that they can be used as a quick source of energy or be turned into ketone bodies, which have a therapeutic effect on brain disorders like Alzheimers.
Coconut Oil as a staple in your diet
It has been noted that people who incorporate coconut oil as a dietary staple thrive better than in western countries. For example the Tokelauans in the South Pacific who eat more than half of their calorific daily intake in the form of coconuts are to be found in wondrous health with no evidence of the western-type heart disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia worldwide. Alzheimer disease is estimated to affect between 2 and 4 million Americans. Alzheimer disease development increases with age and with people living longer lives, the disease is expected to increase significantly in the future.
Generally Alzheimers applies to those coming into the winter of their lives (usually 65 years+), but not always. Occasionally also it can happen to someone younger. Alzheimer shows up in the more mature person as a reduced ability to use glucose for energy in certain parts of the brain leading to gradual memory loss, confusion, loss of judgment and eventually the ability to function.
Research has shown that ketone bodies supply energy for the brain and could provide an alternative energy source for malfunctioning brain cells and reduce considerably the symptoms of this degenerating disease. Studies show that the fatty acids in coconut oil can increase blood levels of ketone bodies, supplying energy for the brain cells of Alzheimer’s patients and relieving symptoms.
The Lauric Acid in Coconut Oil
Almost 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil is known as Lauric Acid. When we consume coconut oil it forms monolaurin, which when added to the lauric acid can kill off harmful bacteria, virus and such, helping to prevent diseases.
One of the best known therapeutic applications of this type of diet is in treating drug-resistant epilepsy in children. It involves eating very little carbohydrates and large amount of fat, leading to increased ketone bodies concentrated in the blood. This leads to a great reduction in the rate of seizures in epileptic children.
Studies in rats and then with humans proved that coconut oil improves important risk factors like Total, LDL and HDL cholesterol, which may translate to a reduced risk of heart disease. Coconut oil is loaded with saturated fats, which actually do not harm the blood lipid profile like previously thought.
Saturated fats raise HDL (the good) cholesterol and change the LDL cholesterol to being benign.
As previously stated, Coconut Oil is composed of a group of unique fat molecules known as medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA and although technically classified as saturated fats, this fat can actually protect you from getting a heart attack or suffering a stroke.
Coconut oil consumption was found during studies to have many factors associated with a reduced risk of heart disease:
improved cholesterol readings,
lower body fat deposition,
higher survival rate,
reduced tendency to form blood clots,
fewer uncontrolled free radicals in cells,
low levels of blood and liver cholesterol,
higher antioxidant reserves in cells,
lower incidence of heart disease
Coconut Oil can be viewed as heart healthy or at least benign as far as heart disease is concerned. Other studies are not viewed so optimistically but time will tell with current studies ongoing. We will be watching closely for the results.