- Coconut is making a huge comeback as the new miracle food. They are highly nutritious, rich in fiber, and packed with essential vitamins and minerals.
- Top 10 Health Benefits of coconuts
- Benefits of Coconut Fruit: Why Should You Eat Coconuts
- The Health Benefits of Coconuts
- Why Coconut is Packed With Benefits for Your Muscles and More
- How to Enjoy Coconut:
- Benefits of eating coconut every day
- How it’s made
- Nutritional highlights
- How to select and store
- Recipe suggestions
- The Science-Backed Health Benefits of Coconut Water
- What Is Coconut Oil?
- Nutrition Facts
- Health Benefits
- 1. Proven Alzheimer’s Disease Natural Treatment
- 2. Prevents Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure
- 3. Treats UTI and Kidney Infection and Protects the Liver
- 4. Reduces Inflammation and Arthritis
- 5. Cancer Prevention and Treatment
- 6. Immune System Boost (Antibacterial, Antifungal and Antiviral)
- 7. Improves Memory and Brain Function
- 8. Improves Energy and Endurance
- 9. Improves Digestion and Reduces Stomach Ulcers and Ulcerative Colitis
- 10. Reduces Symptoms of Gallbladder Disease and Pancreatitis
- 11. Improves Skin Issues (Burns, Eczema, Dandruff, Dermatitis and Psoriasis)
- 12. Prevents Gum Disease and Tooth Decay
- 13. Prevents Osteoporosis
- 14. Improves Type II Diabetes
- 15. Coconut Oil for Weight loss
- 16. Building Muscle and Losing Body Fat
- 17. Coconut Oil Benefits for Hair Care
- 18. Candida and Yeast Infections
- 19. Coconut Oil for Anti-Aging
- 20. Coconut Oil for Hormone Balance
- Risks and Side Effects
- How to Use
- Eating Coconut Daily Will Give You These Amazing Health Benefits
- Coconut Benefits
- Health benefits of coconut milk
Coconut is making a huge comeback as the new miracle food. They are highly nutritious, rich in fiber, and packed with essential vitamins and minerals.
What is it about this exotic food that continues to tantalize and intimidate us at the same time?
Let’s explore more of the amazing health benefits of coconuts.
Young coconuts are the most health enhancing. The water in the young coconut is one of the highest sources of electrolytes. Electrolytes are responsible for keeping the body properly hydrated so the muscles and nerves can function appropriately.
Therefore it is more beneficial to drink the water from a young coconut after an intense workout rather than sports drinks.
Coconut water is also low in calories, carbohydrates, and sugars, and almost completely fat-free. In addition, it is high in ascorbic acid, B vitamins, and proteins. Furthermore, the soft meat, or flesh, inside the coconut helps to restore oxidative tissue damage and contains a source of healthy fats, proteins, and various vitamins and minerals.
ALSO READ:5 of the strangest foods from around the world
Top 10 Health Benefits of coconuts
1. Supports immune system health: it is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-parasite.
2. Provides a natural source of quick energy and enhances physical and athletic performance.
3. Improves digestion and absorption of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
4. Improves insulin secretion and symptoms associated with diabetes.
5. Helps protect the body from cancers due to insulin reduction, removal of free radicals that cause premature aging and degenerative disease.
6. Reduces risk of heart health and improves good cholesterol (HDL).
7. Restores and supports thyroid function.
8. Helps protect against kidney disease and bladder infection.
9. Promotes weight loss.
10. Helps keep hair and skin healthy and youthful looking, prevents wrinkles, sagging skin, age spots, and provides sun protection.
Benefits of Coconut Fruit: Why Should You Eat Coconuts
May 08, 2015 · Written by Foodtolive Team
Coconuts are both delicious and nutritious, and you definitely should include them in your diet if you want to stay healthy and enjoy your meals in the process. Health benefits of coconut fruit are numerous. The most important of them are:
- Coconut can be considered a complete food as it’s incredibly rich in vitamins, minerals, and calories. One fruit can provide you with a daily dose of almost all essential nutrients.
- Lauric acid is the most important saturated fat provided by coconuts. It lowers the level of bad cholesterol in your body and helps keep your arteries clean and healthy.
- Coconut water is not only a delicious and refreshing drink, it is also rich in electrolytes, enzymes, and minerals. Therefore, it helps digestion and boosts your metabolism. This is one of the reasons as to why coconuts are good for weight loss even despite their high calorie count.
- Cytokinin, one of the elements found in coconut water, possesses potent anti-carcinogenic and anti-aging properties.
Sponsored by Food to live
- Coconut kernel is rich in copper, iron, manganese, and zinc, which makes it one of the best sources of these essential minerals.
- Eating coconuts strengthens you immunity as these fruits possess strong anti-viral properties. It doesn’t matter what form you choose as every part of the fruit is equally effective in the fight against bacteria.
- Coconuts not only provide you with nutrition but also improve your body’s ability to absorb magnesium and calcium, two elements essential for bone health. Therefore, eating coconuts regularly reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis.
- There is no arguing the fact that coconuts contain plenty of saturated fats, but this is the reason that makes them so nutritious and allows this fruit to provide you with a powerful energy boost that will last a while.
Do you still wonder what are the benefits of eating coconut? In essence this fruit is a perfect snack for the times when you require nutrition but don’t have the time to prepare a proper meal. Try munching on it when you are in a dire need of an energy boost and soon you won’t remember how you’ve ever managed to live without it.
The Health Benefits of Coconuts
Recently, coconuts have been christened as the new miracle food. Learn about the Benefits of Coconuts: It is no surprise, to be honest, as coconuts are extremely nutritious, rich in fiber and packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Coconuts can be found in everything from culinary creations to ‘magic’ beauty potions these days. There is no doubt that many find coconuts tantalizing, and for good reason, as coconuts can be used as both food and medicine.
Coconuts boast many heath benefits and some of the most notable include the fact that coconuts support immune system health. Coconuts are anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-parasite. Coconuts also improve digestion and absorption of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Coconuts are also full of electrolytes, and provide a natural source of quick energy plus they have been known to help enhance physical and athletic performance.
Coconuts are also well-known for promoting good cholesterol which is great for heart health. They also boost thyroid function and help to stabilize metabolism. It has also been proven that coconuts can improve insulin secretion and symptoms associated with diabetes, as well as providing relief to bladder infections.
More important health benefits of coconuts come from using the coconut by-product of coconut oil. Coconut oil is fantastic and it helps keep hair and skin healthy and youthful looking. It also helps to prevent wrinkles and age spots as well as provides sun protection.
When it comes to buying coconuts, fresh coconuts can be either young or mature. Young coconuts are typically found in Asia, and although we have both varieties here in Phuket, it is the young coconut that is the more health enhancing of the two as it contains more water and soft, gel-like meat. Mature coconuts have firm meat and less water.
As mentioned earlier in this article, coconut water is full of electrolytes. If you are not aware, electrolytes are responsible for keeping the body hydrated so that nerves and muscles can function normally. It really is more beneficial to drink coconut water from a young coconut after an intense workout rather than sugary sport drinks we often see advertised on television.
All of us at Santosa Detox and Wellness Center consider ourselves lucky that there is an abundance of fresh coconuts here on the island of Phuket, where we are located. We have an ample supply of coconuts on offer for our guests to enjoy after their fitness classes, yoga classes, spa treatments and during their detox programs.
If you are interested in learning more about the health benefits of coconuts, or exploring a detox at our center located high in the hills of Kata overlooking the spectacular Kata Beach, simply fill out the enquiry form below and a dedicated member of staff will get back to you. We look forward to speaking to you about our health journey over a fresh young coconut!
Can you add coconut into your low-fat diet? How does it compare to other fatty sources such as olive oil?
The answers lie in these facts:
1. Coconut Should Be a Staple for Those Doing the Keto Diet
First of all, what is the keto diet? Also known as the ketogenic diet plan, it is a program wherein you induce ketosis.
Ketosis is a state when the body burns fat instead of sugar for energy. To do it, you need to eat foods low in carbs but high in fat.
One of the benefits of coconut is it can help you get into ketosis due to its medium-chain fatty acids. Sometimes called MCTs, these are triglycerides that go straight to the liver.
The liver can then quickly convert the fats into ketones, which then becomes your energy source. In turn, you may be able to lose weight without feeling lethargic.
What are ketones? The chemicals the liver creates when insulin production is low.
Coconut may not be the best choice if you’re into a low-fat diet, but it doesn’t mean it’s bad. Remember, not all types of fat are created equal.
2. It’s Also a Plant-Based Protein
Do you want to become a vegetarian or a vegan? Eating coconut can help you!
As mentioned, you can make many things with coconuts. Try topping vegan muffins with shredded coconut.
You can add raw coconut meat to your salad as a topping ried coconut is great when paired with oatmeal. They are both rich in fiber and will help you feel satiated for a longer period of time.
Most of all, it contains moderate protein. It complements other plant-based products such as the Sunwarrior Classic Protein.
Blend them both, and you’ll have a creamy, delicious protein shake anytime you need one. What’s more, healthy fats can keep you full for longer periods.
3. It Contains Trace Minerals
Coconuts contain more than fats—they are also an excellent source of some trace minerals. These include:
One of the benefits of coconut is it has zinc and selenium, which are essential nutrients for maintaining thyroid function. You need iron in producing red blood cells.
Magnesium is a nutrient necessary for electrolyte balance. Potassium takes care of your nerve function, while copper reduces the risks of cardiovascular diseases and osteoporosis, a condition where the bones become brittle.
4. Coconuts Are a Great Moisturizer for Acne-Prone Skin
Contrary to popular belief, one of the health benefits of coconut is it helps fight acne. A lot of people mistakenly believe eating food with high-fat content leads to skin problems.
At least three factors contribute to acne:
- Excessive oil production
- Clogged pores
- Bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes)
Some factors may also increase risks such as hormonal changes, lack of sleep, and obesity.
One piece of evidence of the effectiveness of coconut against acne is a 2009 study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. It found out that lauric acid, which is abundant in coconut, can reduce acne inflammation.
It may even be a better therapeutic option than benzoyl peroxide, which is a common acne treatment.
Another of the benefits of coconut is it contains capric acid, which reduces skin dryness that worsens acne. The fatty acid creates a layer that traps the skin’s moisture.
5. Science Can’t Still Agree on the Effects of Coconut Oil on Cholesterol Levels
In spite of studies showing coconut oil may reduce cholesterol levels, especially low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol, some scientists are not convinced by its benefits.
One of the reasons is the high-fat content, especially saturated fat. A tablespoon of the oil can have almost 14 grams of saturated fat.
That makes it close to the recommended daily saturated fat intake of the American Heart Association (AHA)!
Some, however, disagree, saying it may boost HDL cholesterol or good cholesterol. For example, a 1998 study showed coconut oil helped maintain cholesterol levels by raising good cholesterol and reducing bad cholesterol.
It also cited how it performed better than butter and was at par with safflower oil when it came to cholesterol synthesis.
One of the benefits of coconut oil is it’s more stable than olive oil when exposed to heat. In other words, it doesn’t change its composition.
This explains why you may want to cook with coconut oil instead of olive oil. Olive oil, though, still makes a nice ingredient in salad dressings, along with apple cider vinegar.
So you want lean muscle mass, eh? Then put down that burger and listen up! Regardless of all that propaganda out there telling you that beef is the best way to increase your muscle mass or that egg whites and chicken are foods you should eat to get lean, those health hypes couldn’t be further from the truth. While animal products are a source of protein, they also come with a major price. Inflammation, cancer, heart disease, clogged arteries, diabetes, chronic digestive problems, and even some hormonal problems have all been tied to animal protein intake.
Why Coconut is Packed With Benefits for Your Muscles and More
We all know we need protein to maintain lean muscle mass, even if that’s not as much as bodybuilders eat. Plant proteins are easy to come by and your body can use these proteins just as well as it can animal proteins. Not only are plant proteins easy to prepare, but they’re also delicious and sustainable.
Along with popular options like lentils, chickpeas, black beans, soybeans (edamame), peas, chia, hemp, tempeh, quinoa, tofu, and vegan protein powders, we should also be considering adding another food to our plates to pump up our muscles: coconut. That’s right – the tropical fruit most of us relate to just an exotic healthy fat source is actually packed with nutrients that improve lean muscle mass and support the overall body.
The important thing to remember is that the whole coconut meat is what we’re referring to – not just the oil. Coconut oil may come with some benefits, especially when applied topically, but it’s largely still a refined food. It’s fine to bake with it occasionally or use in place of butter to coat a griddle pan, but don’t rely on it as a fat source alone. Opt for whole coconut meat that’s either fresh or dried, which is where most of the nutrients are found.
Check out the benefits of coconut and why it’s now the new “other white meat”:
It’s Armed With Amino Acids and Protein
Coconut may not be a complete source of protein, but it’s still packed with amino acids. Containing 17 amino acids out of the 20 amino acids needed for optimal protein formation, it’s particularly high in threonine, an amino acid needed to protect the liver, central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and to support the formation of collagen in the body. For your muscles, it builds connective tissues and maintains elasticity in the body, even in the heart. Threonine also supports healthy tooth enamel, and it speeds up healing from wounds or injuries throughout the whole body. Coconut contains almost 97 milligrams of threonine in 1/2 cup of fresh coconut meat, and while coconut is not the highest source of all foods (watercress actually is), that’s still pretty impressive for a fruit! In terms of overall protein content, there are 3.5 grams of protein in 2 tablespoons of coconut flour, 8 grams of protein in 1/2 cup fresh meat, and 2 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons of coconut butter. Coconut oil contains virtually no amino acids and 0 grams of protein.
An Unknown Source of Dietary Iron
Coconut is also a great source of iron, especially for a fruit. Two tablespoons of raw coconut butter contain 6 percent of your iron needs, while 1/2 cup of fresh meat contains 11 percent. Iron is needed to ensure optimal blood flow to the muscles and for optimal energy needed for exercise. It’s completely possible to eat a vegan diet and get enough iron; the important thing is to eat a variety of sources.
Fights Abdominal Weight Gain
Coconut may not help you drop a significant amount of pounds, but it has been shown to reduce body fat in the abdominal region. This pertains to raw unsweetened coconut, not sweetened varieties or other highly refined sources of coconut (like the ice cream or flavored milks). Coconut’s fats are used by the liver for energy, and they help reduce insulin surges in the body, unlike sugary processed foods or refined grains. This can lead to a reduced amount of fat stored in the stomach, which often happens due to erratic insulin levels.
The fiber and medium chain tryglyceride fats in coconut also help boost the metabolism due to the way they are used during digestion. Not only does this give you energy, but also creates a thermogenic effect in the body where your calorie burn is increased naturally. Keep in mind, this doesn’t apply for eating coconut in excessive amounts, but instead to using it in small to moderate servings in place of sugary foods, refined grains, processed foods, fast food, etc., so use a few tablespoons a day to see how you benefit.
Folate is a B vitamin we need for healthy metabolism and red blood cell function. It’s also essential for healthy brain development in infants. Coconut meat contains 20 percent of your daily folate needs in a 1/2 cup of fresh meat. Avocados, asparagus, bananas, spinach, and beans are also great sources of folate too.
Potassium is an incredibly important mineral for our health. It reduces high blood pressure and aids in water balance in the body to counteract too much sodium (bye-bye bloat!). We need 4,700 milligrams of potassium a day. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best source, and coconut is a great option. The tropical fruit contains 285 milligrams of potassium in 1/2 cup of fresh meat. Coconut water is even higher, while coconut flour and butter are a bit lower.
To add to the list of benefits, coconut is even a fantastic source of dietary fiber. Fiber keeps you regular which improves your energy, takes care of your heart, and can even help whittle your waistline too. Coconut meat contains more fiber than wheat bran or any other grain per serving! In 2 tablespoons of coconut butter, you’ll get 5 grams of fiber, while 2 tablespoons of coconut flour will give you 7 grams, and the meat of the coconut contains around 10 grams per 1/2 cup. Coconut oil contains no fiber.
Easy to Digest
Best of all, due to the way your body processes coconut, it is very easy to digest compared to meat, eggs, and even some nuts, seeds, and beans that may not be as tolerable. What you digest from food is just as important as what you eat, so always choose foods that are easier on your digestive system while supplying you with nutrients at the same time.
How to Enjoy Coconut:
You can use coconut in a variety of ways, since it’s one of the most versatile foods out there in terms of available forms. For instance, you can use coconut flour in place of other flours, or stir some into your morning oatmeal. You can even put a couple tablespoons in a smoothie to thicken it up and add fiber in a flash! Or, try mixing it with non-dairy milk and coconut yogurt to make an instant dessert pudding.Top some fruit with coconut yogurt, use coconut shreds in your raw vegan snacks, and be sure to try coconut butter in oatmeal, smoothies, right off the spoon, or used in place of cow’s milk butter.
Of course, if you can get your hands on some fresh coconut meat, please do enjoy the purest form of this amazing food for all of us; it’s the best! While you needn’t go crazy with serving sizes, coconut is a great food to eat in small doses daily and in addition to a diet full of vegetables, greens, other fresh fruits and other healthy fats.
See all of our coconut recipes for more ideas to use this marvelous “other white meat” and tell us, what’s your favorite way to enjoy coconut? And for more recipes, download our Food Monster App where we have over 15,000 vegan and allergy-friendly recipes!
Benefits of eating coconut every day
READ ALSO: Benefits of rice water for skin and hair
Despite the fact that coconut is very useful, pediatricians do not recommend giving it to children under 3 years old in any form: be it coconut milk, pulp, or coconut sugar. This can cause severe allergies. It is better to give a try to a child after 3 years old, starting with one small piece. Although it is worth noting that in Thailand, babies are allowed to drink coconut water.
The benefits and harm of coconut pulp are completely dependent on the freshness of the nut. There is no obvious harm from its use. It is contraindicated only in case of individual intolerance, as well as with obesity since it is a high-calorie product. In all most cases, coconut is very useful.
READ ALSO: Benefits of applying coconut oil on face overnight
The coconut (cocos nucifera) belongs to the palm family (arecaceae). Grown in abundance in Malaysia, Polynesia and southern Asia, they are classed as a fruit and frequently confused for a nut – but the coconut is actually a one-seeded drupe. In Sanskrit, the coconut palm is known as kalpa vriksha – ‘tree which gives all that is necessary for living’ – because nearly all parts can be used, including the water, milk, flesh, sugar and oil. Even the husks and leaves are used as materials in furnishings and decoration. Palm trees produce coconuts up to 13 times a year, and although it takes a year for the coconuts to mature, a fully blossomed tree can produce between 60-180 coconuts in a single harvest.
How it’s made
Creamed coconut and coconut milk are made in a way surprisingly akin to their dairy counterparts. Coconut flesh (the white part) is grated and soaked in hot water. The coconut cream rises to the top and can be skimmed off. The remaining liquid is squeezed through a cheesecloth to extract a white liquid that is coconut milk. By repeating this process, the coconut milk becomes thinner. The thicker version is used for desserts and rich sauces. Thin coconut milk is used for cooking curries and soups. In the UK, fresh coconut milk is unavailable and coconut milk is bought in cans.
A note on coconut water…
Coconut milk is different to coconut water. Coconut water is the clear liquid from the centre of the young, green coconut and is low in fat but rich in easily digested carbohydrates. Coconut water has received a great deal of attention for its perceived health benefits, and is an important treatment for acute diarrhoea in the developing world. It is said to have a similar electrolyte balance as that found in isotonic drinks, which some claim to be useful for rehydration after intensive exercise. However, the research to date has shown inconsistent findings to support the use of coconut water as an alternative sports drink.
Coconut flesh is highly nutritious and rich in fibre, vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. However, the coconut milk available to us in the UK is typically canned and potentially lacking in many of these valuable micronutrients. Unlike cow’s milk, coconut milk is lactose-free so can be used as a milk substitute by those with lactose intolerance. It is a popular choice with vegans, and makes a great base for smoothies, milkshakes or as a dairy alternative in baking.
Coconuts are one of those foods that seem to oscillate between the ‘good’ food and ‘bad’ food camps. Coconut milk, especially the lower-fat variety, can be used in moderation (1-2 times per week). However, The British Heart Foundation recommends swapping saturated fats, including coconut oil, for unsaturated oils when cooking.
|169 calories||1.1g protein||16.9g fat
Coconuts contain significant amounts of fat, but unlike other nuts, they provide fat that is mostly in the form of medium chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs) in particular, one called lauric acid. Lauric acid is converted in the body into a highly beneficial compound called monolaurin, an antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial that destroys a wide variety of disease-causing organisms. It is therefore thought that consumption of coconut milk and other coconut-derived foods may help protect the body from infections and viruses.
MCFAs are rapidly metabolised into energy in the liver. It is thought that unlike other saturated fats, MCFAs are used up more quickly by the body and are less likely to be stored as fat. Research is mixed but recent studies are suggesting that the fats from coconut may not have such a detrimental effect on blood lipids and cardiovascular health as once thought. This is certainly one area of research to watch.
How to select and store
If you are able to get fresh coconut milk, be aware that it goes bad very quickly and should be used the same day as pressing. The canned variety is a useful storecupboard ingredient and can be stored at room temperature for a long time. Be careful to check the use-by dates and look out for damage or dents in the cans. Once opened, transfer the contents to a resealable container and refrigerate. Use within a few days. The high oil content makes coconut quickly turn rancid if not stored under proper conditions.
Make your own
Try making your own coconut milk with just water and unsweetened coconut flakes. Heat the water (make sure it doesn’t boil), add the flakes and blend. Pour through a colander to filter out the coconut pulp, then squeeze through a cheesecloth to filter out the smaller pieces of coconut. Use immediately or store in the fridge for up to four days.
Coconut milk has become a highlight of many cuisines in tropical and subtropical countries where they are grown. Coconut milk is a fantastic dairy-free alternative, popular in curry dishes.
Jersey potatoes and cauliflower make a great pairing, so why not try this tempting curry:
Cauliflower, egg & potato curry
Try lamb as part of a pilau dish:
Lamb, coconut & mango pilau
One pan, five ingredients, 20 minutes – it’s almost too good to be true:
Spicy prawn soup
Feeling the pinch? Try these soups, perfect for packed lunches or light suppers:
Spiced red lentil soup
Lightly spiced carrot soup
Coconut in Caribbean, Thai and Indian cuisines:
Easy jerk chicken with rice & peas
Thai coconut & veg broth
Kerala prawn curry
Red Thai meatball curry
Sticky rice, a Thai classic:
Sticky rice & mango
This article was last reviewed on 5 July 2019 by Kerry Torrens.
A nutritionist (MBANT) Kerry Torrens is a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food magazine. Kerry is a member of the The Royal Society of Medicine, Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC), British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT).
Jo Lewin works as a Community Nutritionist and private consultant. She is a Registered Nutritionist (Public Health) registered with the UKVRN. Visit her website at www.nutrijo.co.uk or follow her on Twitter @nutri_jo.
All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.
The Science-Backed Health Benefits of Coconut Water
There are all kinds of enhanced waters these days, but coconut water was the OG “healthy water.” The liquid quickly became a staple everywhere from health food stores to fitness studios (and on fitness influencers’ IGs), but it’s sweet, nutty taste isn’t for everyone. Do the nutrition facts back up the hype? Here’s what you need to know.
What exactly is in coconut water?
Well, it’s pretty straightforward: Coconut water is the clear liquid inside coconuts. You’d typically get coconut water from young, green coconuts—those harvested at five to seven months of age, explains Josh Axe, D.N.M., C.N.S., D.C., founder of Ancient Nutrition—versus older, browner coconuts, which are a better source of coconut milk.
FYI, coconut milk is actually made from a mixture of coconut water and grated coconut, adds Kacie Vavrek, R.D., an outpatient dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. And coconut milk, which is thicker than coconut water, tends to be higher in fat and calories.
Coconut water is packed with nutrients and low in calories, since it’s mostly water (about 95 percent), says Axe. One cup of coconut water contains about 46 calories, almost 3 grams of fiber, 11 to 12 grams of natural sugar, and plant compounds and electrolytes such as potassium, sodium, magnesium, and phosphorus, says Vavrek. “The electrolyte content depends based on the maturity of the coconut, so the amounts in coconut water may vary,” she adds. But it has especially high levels of potassium—”one cup contains approximately 600 milligrams or 12 percent of your daily value,” says Axe.
What health benefits does coconut water have?
People love to tout coconut water as a cure-all health drink. We can confirm, it’s definitely good for you: “Potassium, calcium, and magnesium (all electrolytes) play important roles in helping to maintain heart health, liver and kidney health, digestive functions, healthy blood sugar levels, muscle and nerve functions, and more,” says Axe.
Coconut water was shown to improve systolic blood pressure (the higher number of a blood pressure reading) in 71 percent of the participants in one study; that may be due to the high levels of potassium, “which helps to counteract the blood pressure-boosting effects of sodium,” says Vavrek.
Obviously, lower blood pressure can decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease, but there are other elements of coconut water that can also reduce that potential. “Coconut water helps to decrease total cholesterol and triglyceride levels,” says Axe. “And its magnesium content also seems to lead to improvements in blood sugar levels and reductions in oxidative stress, which are tied to metabolic syndrome/diabetes.” (Related: The Benefits of Magnesium and How to Get More of It In Your Diet)
And then there are its potential antioxidant powers. “We know that coconut ‘meat’ contains some amino acids and protein fractions that have antioxidant effects, such as albumin, globulin, prolamine, glutelin-1, and glutelin-2,” says Axe. “And studies focused on the content of cytokinins, or naturally occurring plant hormones that may help reduce the growth of cancer cells, suggest that coconut water may contain some anti-inflammatory and even anti-cancer properties.”
The price of coconut water tends to reflect it’s “magical” properties, but most studies on the antioxidant properties of coconut water have been done on animals, so “more research is needed to verify them,” says Vavrek. And, for what it’s worth, you can also get most of the nutritional benefits of coconut water from a healthy, well-balanced diet. (Related: These New Products Turn Basic Water Into a Fancy Health Drink)
Is coconut water actually helpful post-workout?
You may have heard coconut water referred to as “nature’s sports drink.” Not only does it have fewer calories than most sports drinks, but it’s also naturally packed with electrolytes. “Electrolytes are needed to maintain normal blood volume and to prevent dehydration, plus they can help reduce fatigue, stress, muscle tension and poor recovery from exercise,” says Axe. So, coconut can help prevent symptoms tied to dehydration resulting from water or electrolyte loss, such as fatigue, irritability, confusion and extreme thirst, he adds.
Some studies have found that coconut water restored hydration after exercise better than water and equal to high-electrolyte sports drinks, but other research found that coconut water can cause bloating and stomach issues due to the high electrolyte counts. (Related: How to Stay Hydrated When Training for an Endurance Race)
While coconut water could be a good rehydration option for you, remember that “the electrolyte content of coconut water varies widely throughout the maturation of the coconut,” says Vavrek. “Coconut water is also lower in sodium and sugar than athletes need for recovery and rehydration after exercise.” (Related: The Best Foods to Eat Before and After Your Workout)
In other words, don’t rely on coconut water alone to restore your electrolyte levels post-workout. You should be refueling post-workout with a recovery snack of protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats, which will help bring your energy levels back to normal and repair all that muscle you just put through the wringer.
- By Ashley Mateo
To date, there are over 1,500 studies proving coconut oil to be one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Coconut oil uses and benefits go beyond what most people realize, as coconut oil — made from copra or fresh coconut flesh — is a true superfood. It’s no wonder the coconut tree is considered the “tree of life” in many tropical locations.
There’s no doubt that many people are confused about whether or not they should consume coconut oil regularly, especially after the American Heart Association’s (AHA) 2017 report on saturated fats. The truth is that while the AHA’s recommendation to reduce saturated fats in your diet is plausible, it doesn’t mean that people can’t consume any of it. In fact, the AHA recommends sticking to 30 grams per day for men and 20 grams per day for women, which is about 2 tablespoons or 1.33 tablespoons of coconut oil, respectively.
In fact, we should highlight that the AHA did point out that we don’t have to completely avoid saturated fats, and that’s because we actually need it. It works to enhance our immune function and protect the liver from toxins.
And while the AHA is focused on how saturated fats may increase LDL cholesterol levels, we need to remember that coconut oil works to reduce inflammation naturally. Reducing inflammation should be everyone’s biggest health goal, as it is the root cause of heart disease and many other conditions.
So despite the somewhat negative response to coconut oil in the last few years, I’m still a huge advocate of coconut oil for reducing inflammation, supporting cognitive and heart health, and boosting energy levels — just to name a few of the many coconut oil benefits.
What Is Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is made by pressing dried coconut meat, called copra, or fresh coconut meat. To make coconut oil, you can use a “dry” or “wet” method. The milk and oil from the coconut is pressed and then the oil is removed.
Coconut oil has a firm texture at cool or room temperatures because the fats in the oil, which are mostly saturated fats, are made up of smaller molecules. At temperatures about 78 degrees, coconut oil liquifies.
It has a smoke point of about 350 degrees, making it a great oil option for sautéed dishes, sauces and baked goods. It is also easily absorbed into the skin because of its smaller fat molecules, making it an excellent skin and scalp moisturizer.
Types of Coconut Oil
The many coconut oil benefits are only available with a good quality product. There are a few types of coconut oil that you should be aware of, including the following:
Virgin coconut oil: Virgin coconut oil is the least refined and most beneficial. It’s made with copra, or dried coconut meat, that’s removed from the shell and pressed to extract the natural oils. Virgin coconut oil typically has a great nutty and sweet flavor.
Within the virgin coconut oil category, you’ll see oil that’s been produced using a “wet-milling” method, which means that it’s extracted from fresh coconut meat, and oil that’s been produced with a dry method, as dried copra is used instead. Sometimes you’ll see “extra-virgin coconut oil,” but there really is not difference between virgin and extra-virgin when it comes to coconut oil, so either option is a great choice.
Refined coconut oil: Refined coconut oil has gone through a refining process that involves bleaching and deodorizing the oil. Unlike virgin coconut oil, refined oils don’t have a noticeable coconut taste or aroma. Refined coconut oils are not recommended because many of them are made with high temperatures and harsh chemicals, both of which can destroy the oil’s beneficial antioxidants.
Related: Coconut Milk Nutrition: Beneficial Vegan Milk or High-Fat Trap?
Thousands of studies have been conducted to uncover the secrets of this amazing superfood: namely healthy fats called medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs). These unique fats include:
- Caprylic acid
- Lauric acid
- Capric acid
Around 62 percent of the oils in coconut are made up of these three healthy fatty acids, and 91 percent of the fat in coconut oil is healthy saturated fat. This fat composition makes it one of the most beneficial fats on the planet, as the USDA nutrient database shows.
Most of the fats we consume take longer to digest, but MCFAs found in coconut oil provide the perfect source of energy because they only have to go through a three-step process to be turned into fuel, as opposed to other fats that have to go through a 26-step process!
Unlike long-chain fatty acids found in plant-based oils, MCFAs are:
- Easier to digest
- Not readily stored as fat
- Antimicrobial and antifungal
- Smaller in size, allowing easier cell permeability for immediate energy
- Processed by the liver, which means that they’re immediately converted to energy instead of being stored as fat
One tablespoon of coconut oil contains about 120 calories, 14 grams of fat, no fiber, no cholesterol and only trace amounts of vitamins and minerals.
All things considered, it’s the MCFAs present in coconut copra that makes it a true superfood, and it’s why coconut oil health benefits are so plentiful and amazing.
Related: MCT Oil Health Benefits, Dosage Recommendations and Recipes
According to medical research and the USDA nutrient database, coconut oil benefits the body in the following ways:
1. Proven Alzheimer’s Disease Natural Treatment
The digestion of MCFAs by the liver creates ketones that are readily accessible by the brain for energy. Ketones supply energy to the brain without the need for insulin to process glucose into energy.
Recent research has shown that the brain actually creates its own insulin to process glucose and power brain cells. As the brain of an Alzheimer’s patient loses the ability to create its own insulin, the ketones from coconut oil could create an alternate source of energy to help repair brain function.
2. Prevents Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure
Coconut oil is high in natural saturated fats. Saturated fats not only increase the healthy cholesterol (known as HDL cholesterol) in your body, but also help convert the LDL “bad” cholesterol into good cholesterols. A randomized crossover trial published in Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that daily consumption of 2 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil in young, healthy adults, significantly increased HDL cholesterol. Plus, no major safety issues of taking virgin coconut oil daily for eight weeks were reported.
By increasing the HDL in the body, it helps promote heart health and lower the risk of heart disease. Coconut oil also benefits the heart by lowering high triglycerides.
3. Treats UTI and Kidney Infection and Protects the Liver
Coconut oil has been known to clear up and improve UTI symptoms and kidney infections. The MCFAs in the oil work as a natural antibiotic by disrupting the lipid coating on bacteria and killing them. Research also shows that coconut oil directly protects the liver from damage.
Coconut water also helps hydrate and support the healing process. Doctors have even injected coconut water to clear up kidney stones. Coconut is a powerful superfood, which is evident given all of these tremendous coconut oil health benefits.
4. Reduces Inflammation and Arthritis
In an animal study in India, the high levels of antioxidants present in virgin coconut oil (VCO) reduced inflammation and improved arthritis symptoms more effectively than leading medications.
In another recent study, coconut oil that was harvested with only medium heat was found to suppress inflammatory cells. It worked as both an analgesic and anti-inflammatory.
5. Cancer Prevention and Treatment
Coconut oil has two qualities that help it fight cancer: one is the ketones produced in the oil. Tumor cells are not able to access the energy in ketones and are glucose-dependent. It’s believed that a ketogenic diet could be a possible component of helping cancer patients recover.
And the second quality is the medium-chained fatty acid content in coconut oil. As the MCFAs digest the lipid walls of bacteria, they also can kill the helicobacter pylori bacteria that has been known to increase the risk of stomach cancer.
Plus, research shows that lauric acid found in coconut oil may have anticancer actions by triggering anti-proliferation and pro-apoptotic effects.
Coconut oil contains lauric acid (monolaurin), which has shown to reduce candida, fight bacteria and create a hostile environment for viruses. Many diseases today are caused by the overgrowth of bad bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites in the body.
You can replace grains and sugar in your diet with coconut oil as your natural fuel source when you’re sick. Sugar feeds the growth of bad bacteria. Instead, take one tablespoon of coconut oil three times daily when sick, and consume plenty of vegetables and bone broth as well.
7. Improves Memory and Brain Function
In a 2004 study published in the Journal of Neurobiology of Aging, researchers found that the MCFAs in coconut oil improved the memory problems in their older subjects.
Across all the patients there was a marked improvement in their recall ability after taking this fatty acid. As the MCFAs are absorbed easily in the body and can be accessed in the brain without the use of insulin. Thus, they are able to fuel brain cells more efficiently.
8. Improves Energy and Endurance
Coconut oil is easy to digest and also produces a longer sustained energy and increases your metabolism. When taking a quality unrefined coconut oil, you can get the most coconut oil benefits as its MCFAs are sent directly to the liver to be converted into energy.
Today, many triathletes use coconut oil as their source of fuel during training and races for long-distance events. You can make a homemade energy fuel by mixing coconut oil, raw honey and chia seeds together. Simply put together one tablespoon of each and consume 30 minutes prior to exercise.
9. Improves Digestion and Reduces Stomach Ulcers and Ulcerative Colitis
Coconut also improves digestion as it helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins, calcium and magnesium. If coconut oil is taken at the same time as omega-3 fatty acids, it can make them twice as effective, as they are readily available to be digested and used by the body.
Coconut oil can help improve bacteria and gut health by destroying bad bacteria and candida. Candida imbalance, in particular, can decrease stomach acid, which causes inflammation and poor digestion. All this together means coconut oil benefits digestive health and helps treat or prevent stomach ulcers and ulcerative colitis.
10. Reduces Symptoms of Gallbladder Disease and Pancreatitis
The MCFAs of coconut oil do not need the pancreatic enzymes to be broken down, so taking coconut oil eases the strain on the pancreas.
Additionally, this superfood is so easy to digest that it has been known to improve the symptoms of gallbladder disease as well. Replace other long-chain fats with coconut oil to improve gallbladder and total body health.
11. Improves Skin Issues (Burns, Eczema, Dandruff, Dermatitis and Psoriasis)
Coconut oil is wonderful as a face cleanser, moisturizer and sun screen, but also it can treat many skin disorders. The fatty acids (caprylic and lauric) in coconut oil reduce inflammation internally and externally and moisturize, making them a great solution for all types of skin conditions.
It protects the skin and has many antioxidants that make it ideal for healing the skin. In addition, the antimicrobial properties balance out the candida or fungal sources that can cause many skin conditions. There’s so much unrefined coconut oil can do for skin.
12. Prevents Gum Disease and Tooth Decay
Oil pulling with coconut oil has been used for centuries as a way to cleanse the mouth of bacteria and help heal periodontal disease. Plus, research shows that in addition to offering several oral health benefits, oil pulling with coconut oil also has beneficial effect on overall health. Coconut oil is one of the most effective oils for oil pulling due to its high concentration of antibacterial MCFAs.
By swishing the oil in your mouth, the oil denatures the bacteria and sticks to it. Removing oral bacteria greatly reduces your risk of periodontal disease. If you want to heal your gums and repair your teeth, I recommend coconut oil pulling three times a week for 20 minutes a day.
13. Prevents Osteoporosis
Oxidative stress and free radicals are the two biggest culprits of osteoporosis. Since coconut oil has such high levels of antioxidants, which help fight free radicals, it is a leading natural treatment for osteoporosis.
Another of the amazing coconut oil health benefits is that it increases calcium absorption in the gut. Research on osteoporosis has found that coconut oil not only increases bone volume and structure in subjects, but also decreased bone loss due to osteoporosis.
14. Improves Type II Diabetes
When cells refuse to respond to insulin and no longer take in glucose for energy, then they’re considered insulin-resistant. The pancreas then pumps out more insulin to compensate and creates an overproduction cycle. Insulin resistance is the precursor to type II diabetes.
The MCFAs in coconut oil help balance the insulin reactions in the cells and promote healthy digestive process. They take off the strain on the pancreas and give the body a consistent energy source that is not dependent on glucose reactions, which can prevent insulin resistance and type II diabetes.
15. Coconut Oil for Weight loss
Because of the energy-creating abilities of coconut oil and the fact it’s a no-carb oil, it is no wonder that it is beneficial in losing weight. It helps burn fat and calories, decrease appetite, and in studies it was especially helpful in losing belly fat.
Coconut’s ability to help you shed fat has been well-established. A 1985 study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health proved that a single injection of capric acid resulted in “initially rapid, then gradual decrease in food consumption and a parallel loss of body weight” in male rats.
It might seem counterintuitive to assume that eating coconut oil (a fat) will contribute to fat loss, but it is actually quite logical. The key to understanding this phenomenon lays in the multidimensional ability of the MCFAs to control a variety of physiological processes.
For example, in the 1985 study mentioned above, it was discovered that capric acid shows significant improvements in thyroid function, helps lower resting heart rate and assists your body in burning fat for energy.
More recently, the Obesity Research Journal published a study from Boston University Medical School that gives us a clue why MCFAs have fat-burning ability. Testing the effects that MFCAs have on fat breakdown, adipose (fatty) cells in rats were pretreated with caprylic acid. They observed that fat breakdown occurred at such a significant level that it literally mimicked the characteristics of fasting.
Fasting, in this sense, is not to be regarded as negative, but positive in that the body uses its energy reserves most effectively and speeds up the breakdown of needless fat reserves. In the words of the researchers who conducted this study, “Such changes could contribute, in part, to weight loss in animals and humans associated with dietary medium-chain fatty acids.”
16. Building Muscle and Losing Body Fat
Research suggests that MCFAs aren’t just good for burning fat and decreasing metabolic syndrome; they are also great for building muscle. The MCFAs found in coconut are also used in popular muscle-building products like Muscle Milk™.
The vast majority of heavily produced supplements, however, use processed forms of MCFAs. By eating actual coconuts instead, you get the “real deal.” I recommend adding two tablespoons of coconut oil to a muscle-building shake daily.
17. Coconut Oil Benefits for Hair Care
If you have dandruff or dry hair, coconut oil has the perfect fatty acids to help improve these conditions. In fact, there is so much coconut oil can do for hair. You can make homemade coconut lavender shampoo to improve your hair and use straight coconut oil as an all-natural hair conditioner.
To get rid of dandruff and thicken hair, massage one tablespoon of coconut oil mixed with 10 drops of rosemary essential oil into your scalp for three minutes. Then shower 30 minutes later.
18. Candida and Yeast Infections
A study published in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy found the capric acid and lauric acid in coconut oil made for an effective natural treatment for candida albicans and yeast infections.
To effectively kill candida and treat yeast infections, remove processed sugar and refined grains from your diet and consume plenty of healthy fats. Take one tablespoon of coconut oil three times daily as a supplement.
19. Coconut Oil for Anti-Aging
According to research published in the medical journal Food and Function, coconut oil improves antioxidant levels and can slow aging. Coconut oil works by reducing stress on the liver and lowering oxidative stress.
Also, researchers found that coconut oil may support detoxification because of how it works with the liver. To naturally slow aging, take one tablespoon of coconut oil with antioxidant-rich berries for breakfast. You can also apply it directly to skin for additional health benefits and smoothing.
20. Coconut Oil for Hormone Balance
Using coconut oil benefits your hormones as well! Coconut oil may help naturally balance hormones because it’s a great source of saturated fat, including lauric acid. Studies have found that coconut oil may be an excellent fat to consume during menopause and also may have positives effects on estrogen levels.
In order to naturally balance hormones, reduce sugar and grain consumption and load up on healthy fats from coconut, avocado, flax seeds and ghee. You can also consume other coconut forms, such as coconut butter or coconut water.
Risks and Side Effects
There are rarely any side effects for coconut oil. Occasionally, a contact allergy may occur for certain individuals that are allergic to coconuts. Some of the cleaning products created by coconut oil have been known to cause contact allergies as well, but it is not common.
In fact, coconut oil is known for reducing side effects of many medications. For instance, in studies, it reduced the symptoms and side effects of cancer treatments.
Keep in mind that refined or processed coconut oil can be bleached, overheated past the preferred melt point and chemically processed to increase its shelf life. Processing the oil changes the chemical makeup, and the fats are no longer good for you, so avoid hydrogenated oils whenever possible and choose extra virgin coconut oil instead.
Related: Is Peanut Oil Good or Bad for Health? Separating Fact vs. Fiction
How to Use
When purchasing coconut oil, choose an extra virgin coconut oil, which will offer the greatest coconut oil benefits. Opt for virgin, wet milled, unrefined, organic coconut oil to ensure you’re getting pure coconut oil. Refined versions, like with other foods, are not as beneficial and lose key nutrients.
What can coconut oil be used for? There are many ways to use coconut oil for its health benefits, including the following:
1. Cooking and Baking
Coconut oil can be used for cooking and baking, and it can be added to smoothies. It’s my oil of choice, since unrefined, natural, organic coconut oil adds a nice coconut flavor, but does not contain the harmful toxins other hydrogenated cooking oils often do. Plus, adding coconut oil to your food or smoothies helps to boost energy quickly and it’s easier to digest than other types of oils. Some ways to use coconut oil in your food includes:
- Sautéing veggies and meats
- Adding a creaminess to your coffee
- Adding nutrients to your smoothie
- Replacing unhealthy fats in baked goods
2. Skin and Hair Health
How do you apply coconut oil to your body? You can simply apply it topically directly to your skin or as a carrier for essential oils or blends. Rubbing it into your skin right after you shower is especially beneficial. Coconut oil works as a great moisturizer and it has antimicrobial properties that will boost skin and hair health. Some ways to use coconut oil for your skin and hair include:
- Using as a natural skin moistuizer
- Fighting pre-mature aging
- Creating a natural wound salve
- Making an anti-fungal cream
- Making a natural hair conditioner
- Treating dandruff
- Detangling hair
3. Mouth and Teeth Health
Coconut oil can be used for oil pulling, which is an Ayurvedic practice that works to detoxify the mouth, remove plaque and bacteria, and freshen breath. Swish one tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth for 10-2o minutes and then dump the oil into the trash.
4. DIY Natural Remedy Recipes
Coconut oil has antimicrobial properties, making it an excellent ingredient in DIY natural remedy recipes that are used to fight infections and boost immunity. Some recipes that can be made with coconut oil are:
- lip balms
- homemade toothpaste
- natural deodorant
- shaving cream
- massage oil
5. Household Cleanser
Coconut oil works as a natural dust preventer, laundry detergent, furniture polish and homemade hand soap. It kills bacteria and fungus that may be growing in your house, and it keeps surfaces looking shiny too.
Related: 77 Coconut Oil Uses: for Food, Body and Skin Care, Household + More
- Is consuming coconut oil good for you? The answer is a resounding yes! In appropriate amounts (about 2 tablespoons per day or less), pure coconut oil benefits are immense, and they don’t stop with these 20. Coconut oil helps the body in so many ways, which is due, in large part, to their medium-chained fatty acid content. Not only that, but coconut oil for dogs has benefits as well!
- MCFAs are easier to digest, are quickly used for energy, help to boost cognitive health, work to improve HDL cholesterol levels and more.
- You can use coconut oil in so many ways — from your cooking and baking, to adding it to smoothies and coffee, using it as an ingredient in DIY natural remedy recipes, and using it for oil pulling.
- Remember to always opt for a pure, unrefined organic version to get the best coconut oil benefits.
Eating Coconut Daily Will Give You These Amazing Health Benefits
Coconut which is often regarded as the ‘holy’ fruit in Indian Hindu Mythology actually comes with many incredible health benefits. Coconut is the fruit of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) whose meat and water has been used in almost every Indian ritual for decades. The South Indian state of ‘Kerela’ is blessed with the highest number of coconut trees and coconut production. Other major coconut growing states are Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh with more than 90 percent of area and production. Moreover, coconuts have been grown in tropical regions for more than 4,500 years but recently saw an increase in popularity for its flavor, culinary uses, and potential health benefits. But very few people know that coconut can actually help in controlling major diseases like diabetes, heart health and promote blood sugar control.
Let’s know about the unknown health benefits’ of coconut.
It’s highly nutritious than you think
The coconut meat and water contains protein, several important minerals, and small amounts of B vitamins. However, they’re not a significant source of most other vitamins.
Moreover, the minerals in coconut are involved in many functions in your body. Coconuts are especially high in manganese which is essential for bone health and the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and cholesterol.
Here are the nutrition facts for raw and dried coconut meat.
Raw coconut meat
Dried coconut meat
22% of the DV
40% of the DV
14% of the DV
26% of the DV
8% of the DV
23% of the DV
13% of the DV
18% of the DV
Coconut is Good for Heart Health
As per reports, consuming virgin coconut oil, which is extracted from dried coconut meat, may reduce belly fat. This is especially beneficial because excess belly fat increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
As per reports, a study in 20 people with obesity found the waist size of male participants decreased by an average of about 1 inch (about 3 cm) after they consumed 1 ounce (30 ml) of virgin coconut oil daily for 4 weeks. The female participants did not experience a significant reduction.
Coconut Promotes Blood Sugar Control
As coconut is low in carbs and high in fiber and fat, so it may help stabilize your blood sugar. The report says that the high fiber content of coconut meat can also help slow digestion and improve insulin resistance which can help regulate blood sugar levels as well.
Coconut Contains Powerful Antioxidants
As per reports, coconut meat contains phenolic compounds, which are antioxidants that may help protect cells from oxidative damage. The main phenolic compounds identified include.
Enhance Your Skin and Hair Health
It’s not a new thing to tell. Coconut water helps you to get healthy hair and skin and Malayali people are a bright example of that.
Health benefits of coconut milk
Research suggests that coconut milk has three main health benefits. Below, we describe the effects on weight loss, heart health, and the immune system.
1. Weight loss
Coconut milk contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which researchers have linked with weight loss. MCTs stimulate energy through a process called thermogenesis, or heat production.
Some studies indicate that MCTs work to reduce body weight and waist size. They may also balance out unstable gut microbiota. A lack of this stability may play a role in developing obesity.
A 2015 study in overweight men found that consuming MCTs at breakfast led to reduced food intake later in the day.
Findings of a 2018 study suggest that MCTs increase insulin sensitivity, and many researchers believe that this sensitivity promotes weight loss. Insulin is an essential hormone that breaks down glucose and controls blood sugar levels.
2. Heart health
Research has linked diets rich in saturated fat with high cholesterol and an increased risk of heart disease.
Some people may not consider coconut milk to be heart-healthy, because of its high fat content.
However, different sources of saturated fats may affect the body in different ways. Also, genetics play a role in how a person metabolizes saturated fats and the extent to which these fats impact health.
Scant research has investigated the effects of coconut milk on cholesterol levels. However, a substantial body of research has explored the effects of coconut oil.
One study found that coconut oil did not significantly increase levels of “bad cholesterol,” or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, but that it did increase levels of “good cholesterol,” or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL).
It is important to note that the study period was short, only 4 weeks, and that the research was lacking in controls.
HDL cholesterol protects the heart and removes LDL cholesterol from the blood. It carries LDL cholesterol to the liver, which breaks it down, and the body eventually eliminates it.
While coconut oil may not raise levels of LDL cholesterol, coconut-based products are high in fat and calories. People should only consume them in moderation.
Keep in mind that coconut oil has substantially more fat per serving than coconut milk, which will have less dramatic effects on cholesterol levels.
Boots immune system
Coconuts contain a lipid called lauric acid, and many researchers believe that lauric acid can support the immune system.
Some findings indicate that lauric acid has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
In a study of the antimicrobial effects of lauric acid from coconuts, the researchers isolated various bacterial strains and exposed them to lauric acid in petri dishes.
They found that lauric acid effectively inhibited the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Other researchers found that lauric acid triggers apoptosis, cell death, in breast and endometrial cancer cells. The findings suggest that this acid inhibits cancer cell growth by stimulating certain receptor proteins that regulate the growth of cells.