Coconut oil has had a bad reputation for being high in saturated fat and calories, prompting weight-watchers to strike it off to their list of forbidden foods.
But of late, Coconut oil is stealing the spotlight from other superfoods as researchers take a closer look at it.
Studies have discovered that this impressive oil has fats known as Medium Chain Triglyceride (MCT) that can be very useful in weight management, losing excess body fat and controlling obesity.
The list of coconut oil benefits is a long one. It improves cholesterol reducing the risk of heart disease, its anti-bacterial, and provides amazing skin and hair benefits, to name a few.
1. Boosts metabolism
Coconut oil behaves differently in the body than the traditional oils in our diet. As opposed to the long chain triglycerides found in conventional foods, they have a smaller carbon atom length.
Due to this smaller molecular structure and more water solubility, they are easier to absorb by the body.
They require simpler digestive process, where they bypass the digestive system and go straight to the liver, unlike LCT (long chain triglycerides).
Since processed by the liver, the MCT is converted to energy directly for the cells and muscles. Thus they provide quick energy for the body and are less likely to be stored in the form of body fat.
2. Burns calories faster
Research has shown that coconut oil has “thermogenic” properties, which increases energy expenditure or fat burning to produce heat, as compared to same amount of calories from other oils.
Because MCTs act as a source of fuel to produce immediate energy, they stimulate metabolism.
It boosts metabolism, thus increasing the body’s use of calories. As a result, calories obtained from the foods we eat are burned up at a higher rate, reducing the chance of fat storage.
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3. Reduces appetite and hunger cravings
Coconut oil is considered a good appetite suppressant. Research shows that compared to other fat, MCT makes you feel fuller for longer time, thus reducing hunger and frequent food cravings. This effect is again due to the way MCTs are metabolized by the body.
4. Improves Digestion
Coconut oil promotes the production of healthy hormones which improve digestion, reduce stress and anxiety, increase energy and burn away that extra fat which is around your waist, buttocks and thighs. It has the power to improve digestion.
Daily consumption of coconut oil helps your digestive tract to absorb fat soluble vitamins more efficiently. Enjoy a tablespoon or two of coconut oil everyday before meals or in your coffee, to keep your body running smoothly like a well oiled machine.
5. Helps stabilize blood sugar
Coconut oil helps to stabilize your blood sugar. It can actually help your body to maintain stable blood-sugar levels by promoting the efficient production and use of insulin, thus providing you more glucose to give you energy and help you loose weight.
6. Lower body fat mass
Consumption of coconut oil can reduce abdominal fat, according to a published research. Subjects who ingested coconut oil, along with engaging in light exercise and a low calorie diet, lost more body fat mass, in comparison to subjects who consumed olive oil. The credit for this effect is due to its star component again, the MCT fatty acids.
7. Increases Energy
The boost in metabolism stimulated by MCT remains elevated for as long as 24 hours after eating a meal containing coconut oil. So you enjoy an increased level of energy and continue to burn calories at an accelerated rate for many hours after the meal.
8. Helps balance hormones
The increased metabolism also leads to a rise in body temperature. Individuals with low thyroid function (hypothyroidism) report that coconut oil ingestion raises their body temperature, often to normal levels, and remains elevated for many hours.
Temperatures in such individuals can rise more than 2 degrees, depending on the oil amount consumed. Those individuals who are overweight because of low thyroid function can stimulate the metabolism by using coconut oil to help them shed some weight.
While coconut oil may be beneficial for weight and fat loss when used as part of a reduced-calorie diet and regular exercise regimen, it’s important to not go overboard by including too much coconut oil in your diet. It is, after all, fat and calories, which if not consumed in moderation can hinder weight and fat loss. The rule to weight and fat loss is that you should burn more calories than you take in.
It turns out, the fat we were so wary of actually promotes weight loss, reduces appetite, reduces body fat and is heart healthy!
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