How VCO Changes the Body for the Better
Do you know that the wondrous Virgin coconut oil, an old standing tradition in the Indian household, is classified as a superfood? Recommended for its myriad of health benefits, this is an elixir you want to keep at your disposal. Read on for VCO’s evidence-backed benefits to your overall health and body.
Boosts Heart Health
Coconut — a staple fruit in many tropical and Asian countries is used for its myriad of benefits. It’s loaded with coconut oil, a dietary mainstay that people have thrived on for generations. A study in 1981 on the population of Tokelau, an island chain in the South Pacific, showed that over 60% of their calories came from coconuts. Researchers reported a good overall health, but also very low rates of heart disease. The Kitavan people of Papua New Guinea also live on a lot of coconut, alongside tubers, fruit, and fish, and have very little cases of stroke or heart disease.
Burn, Baby Burn - Fat Burning
Coconut oil, rich in fatty acids, is just what the body needs to encourage it to burn fat and provide quick energy to your brain and body. The medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), is basically healthy fats found in coconut oil. Unlike longer-chain fatty acids, this fat metabolises differently, increasing the number of calories your body burns. One study found that eating 15–30 grams of MCTs per day increased 24-hour energy expenditure by 5%.
These studies, however, didn’t specifically examine the effects of coconut oil. Instead, it looked at the health effects of MCTs, excluding lauric acid, which make up only about 14% of coconut oil. Another fact to bear in mind is that there currently isn’t any notable evidence that mentions that ingesting coconut oil will increase the number of calories you expend. Remember, that all good things should be done in moderation; the same concept applies to consuming coconut oil. It is very high in calories and could easily lead to weight gain if eaten in large amounts.
The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil have antimicrobial properties. Lauric acid makes up about 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil and this means that when our body digests this acid, it forms a substance called monolaurin. Both lauric acid and monolaurin work to kill harmful pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi. This is backed by test-tube studies showing that these substances help kill the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, which causes staph infections, and the yeast Candida albicans, a common source of yeast infections in humans.
This might peak the interest of those who want to lose weight. An interesting feature of MCTs is that it can reduce hunger, probably due to the way our body metabolises fats, because ketones (byproduct when body burns fat for energy) can reduce a person’s appetite. This is evident in a study where six healthy men ate varying amounts of MCTs and LCTS. Those who ate the most MCTs ate fewer calories per day. In another study, 14 healthy men reported that those who ate the most MCTs at breakfast ate fewer calories at lunch.
That said, these studies were small and had observed during a short time span. If this effect were to persist over the long term, it could lead to reduced body weight over several years. Although coconut oil is one of the richest natural sources of MCTs, there’s no evidence that coconut oil intake reduces appetite more than other oils. In fact, one study reports that coconut oil is less filling than MCT oil.
May Treat Epilepsy in Children
Ketogenic diet — a very low in carbs and high in fats, such as coconut oil is currently studied by researchers to find out its use in treating various disorders. It’s increasing therapeutic use is to treat drug-resistant epilepsy in children. The ketogenic diet is found to directly affect the receptors in the brain and dramatically reduce the rate of seizures in children with epilepsy, even those who haven't had success with multiple types of drugs. With the keto regime, the MCTs in coconut oil gets transported to the liver and turn into ketones, which are greatly increased. To treat epilepsy, healthcare professionals may use a curated keto diet that includes MCTs and a more generous carb allowance to induce ketosis.
Coconut oil is rich in natural saturated fats, and this increases the HDL (good) cholesterol levels in your body and may convert LDL (bad) cholesterol into a less harmful form. Experts believe that increasing HDL may boost heart health compared to other fats. A study researching this on 40 women showed that coconut oil reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing HDL, compared with soybean oil. Another study revolving around 116 adults showed that following a diet regime that incorporated coconut oil raised levels of HDL (good) cholesterol in people with coronary artery disease.
Besides being great for the inner workings of the body, coconut oil has many other uses such as to improve the health and appearance of their skin and hair. Studies have shown that coconut oil works for those with eczema its moisturising properties. For the longest time, the Indian household not only use coconut oil for cooking, but also to protect against hair damage. One study even goes to show that this natural potion may work as a weak sunscreen, blocking about 20% of the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. Oil pulling, also known as Kavala, is an Ayurvedic dental technique which involves swishing coconut oil in your mouth like mouthwash, with the aim of killing harmful bacteria residing in the mouth.
Alzheimer's disease, a progressive disorder that causes brain cells to degenerate is the most common cause of dementia. It is typically a disease of the elderly. The MCTs abundant in coconut oil break down into ketones, which research suggests, can provide an alternative energy source for the 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. However, the research is in its preliminary stage, and no evidence proves that coconut oil itself combats this illness.