Coconut Oil – The Tropical Health Treasure

Susan Patterson

Coconut oil, the amazing superfood, was lost in the saturated fat controversy and is just now starting to make a hearty comeback. Used for thousands of years by people in the tropics, coconut oil is both a medicinal as well as nutritional powerhouse.  Truly a gift, coconut oil is a must to include in both your kitchen pantry as well as in your medicine box.

The Loss of Healthy Fats

Over the last 60 years or so, the American diet has changed dramatically. One of the most devastating losses has come with the abandonment of healthy fats and oils. These disease fighting and health promoting fats have been replaced by deadly hydrogenated trans-containing vegetable oils.

The consumption of trans fatty acids has skyrocketed, and research is just now starting to unveil some of the damaging effects of this deadly fat. While we may be told that saturated fat is to blame for heart disease, the statistics say otherwise. Studies done on Pacific islanders, whose diet is anywhere from 30 to 60 percent saturated fat, show virtually no heart disease. The Tokelaunans are a great example. They live in the South Pacific are in excellent health with no evidence of heart disease. Coconut is a dietary staple for this population and has been for hundreds of years.

Coconut Oil Composition

Almost 50% of the fat found in coconut oil is lauric acid. Lauric acid is used by the body to make monolaurin which has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. Coconut oil is the richest form of medium-chain fatty acids (MCT’s) which are easily digested and burned for energy by the body. In comparison, the long chain fatty acids found in vegetable or seed oils are harder to break down and usually stored as fat. MCT’s boost metabolism and are a vital part of a healthy diet.

Health Promoting Qualities

Research demonstrates that coconut oil can help regulate body weight and dramatically reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Consuming coconut oil on a daily basis will improve your energy levels, concentration, overall immune function and metabolic rate. Some studies have even indicated that coconut oil can improve physical and athletic performance. In one study,  it was found that consumption of 13-30 grams of medium-chain-fatty acids per day increased energy expenditure 5% or 120 calories in a 24 hour period. In addition, consuming coconut oil will help reduce your hunger and keep cravings at bay.

Unsaturated fats, found in most processed foods today, reek havoc on your heart and waistline. The pure and rich saturated fat found in coconut oil is extremely heart healthy and will, in fact, protect you from heart disease.

Coconut oil is about 50% lauric acid which, when consumed, becomes monolaurin. Both lauric acid and monolaurin are known to kill harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Other Known Benefits of Coconut Oil

Here are just a few other amazing things that coconut oil can do:

  • Reduce triglycerides
  • Improve moisture content of skin
  • Protect hair
  • Block 20% of UVA rays
  • Improve in brain function of Alzheimer’s patients
  • Reduce abdominal fat

Be sure to buy organic virgin coconut oil and aim for about 2 tablespoons daily to improve overall health.

Sources for this article include:

About the Author: Susan Patterson is a natural health writer with a passion for living well. Her writing includes regular contributions to some of the most visited health and wellness sites on the internet, e-books, and expert advice sites. As a Certified Health Coach, Master Gardener and Certified Metabolic Typing Advisor, Susan has helped many people move towards a better understanding of alternative health options. Susan practices what she writes and is an avid fitness enthusiast, whole foods advocate and pursuer of sustainable living. To read more articles by Susan, please visit
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