While olive oil has long stood at the top of oils, it appears Coconut Oil has become the new boss in town. Health claims about coconut oil range from its ability to prevent heart or thyroid disease to treating cancer, HIV, and obesity.
Sounds pretty awesome, doesn’t it? Not so fast.
Before you go to your local store buying all the Coconut Oil in stock, these so called benefits need to be reviewed. After all, if you hear things that are too good to be true, chances are they are.
Proven Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has been studied extensively and there is some data to support some of the claims made by coconut oil supporters.
Here are some of the proven health benefits of coconut oil:
Lower Cholesterol: Research has found that coconut oil contains a high concentration of lauric acid, a very heart healthy compound. Lauric acid increases HDL cholesterol production, which naturally decreases LDL cholesterol. Lauric acid also converts cholesterol into pregnenolone, a molecule which acts a precursor for several hormones.
Lower Blood Pressure: Since coconut oil naturally removes cholesterol and plaque from our body, our blood can flow more freely through the arteries. This lowers blood pressure and the decrease is often a significant one.
Obesity (kind of): Research is still inconclusive about the effects of coconut oil on obesity but research has suggested that it can find weight gain. In a 2009 study, participants who took coconut oil were able to maintain a steady weight while on a high fat diet where as a placebo group gained weight.
Improved Immune System Function: Coconut oil has omega 3, omega 6, and flavonoids, which all are proven immune system boosters. Coconut oil not only boosts the immune system but it also prevents free radical damage to our tissue and UV damage to or skin from the sun.
The other so-called benefits of coconut oil can be disputed and there is not enough definitive research to support these claims. However, a large amount of research is currently in progress so perhaps we will no soon what exactly coconut oil can do.
Using Coconut Oil
One of the big benefits to using coconut oil is that it is incredible versatile. Coconut oil is often used in baking and it can be used to sauté vegetables for a sweeter taste. It can also be added to a protein shake or to oatmeal for a creamier consistency.
Final Thoughts On Coconut Oil
Coconut oil does not seem like the miracle oil that the health world has made it out to be. However, it does have proven cardiovascular and immune system benefits, which should not be ignored.
Coconut oil is definitely something to consider adding as a replacement for olive or canola oil. However, don’t expect it to be the miracle cure all that many have claimed it to be.
If you’d like to try coconut oil, you can do so online or it most grocery or health retail stores near you.