2015-07-07_23-25-12There has been a great deal of media attention over recent years focusing on “superfoods”. While many people may regard blueberries, cranberries and other fruits and vegetables as superfoods, there is no confirmed definition of the term.

Many experts assert that a superfood is a food which offers a high rate of health benefits compared to it’s calorific content. This typically refers to fruits and vegetables, which are low in calories, but contain high amounts of vitamins and antioxidants.

However, in recent months other, more higher calorie foods have been considered as a superfood.

Why Consume Coconut Oil?

While many people are concerned about having fats in their diet.  However, some degree of fat is needed for the body to regulate hormone production and facilitate proper body function.

Consuming high levels of saturated animal fats can be detrimental to health, increasing the risk of developing heart disease or high cholesterol. Yet, some plant based fats such as coconut oil can be beneficial.

This is due to the composition of the oil and the presence of lauric acid. This fatty acid chain contains anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-microbial properties. The composition of coconut oil is also beneficial to health. It is composed from medium chained fatty acids or MCFAs. These are efficiently absorbed and metabolized by the human body, providing a quick source of energy or therapeutic ketones.

Using Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is derived from the flesh of a coconut but unlike many oils, heating coconut oil does not compromise its nutritional benefits. While many people are concerned about using coconut oil and having the oil flavor the dish, it is not usually noticeable even in delicately flavored dishes.

Coconut oil has a lower melting point, which makes it a great for cooking and as a substitute for other fats in baking. Alternatively, coconut oil can be used as a fat in raw food preparation.

The Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

There has been a great deal of case studies conducted on the beneficial effects of coconut oil. Although formal research data has not yet been made available, the efficacy of coconut oil has been confirmed with supporting data from smaller studies. The potential health benefits of coconut oil include:

Healthy skin:

The beauty industry is estimated to reach sales of $265 billion worldwide by 2017.  This fast growing industry is based on producing lotions and creams to keep skin looking young and beautiful.

However, coconut oil can actually make a great product for moisturizing skin of all types. The fatty acids contained in the oil can be fantastic for aging dry skin, as they can lessen the appearance of any wrinkles.

Coconut oil has been shown to work as an effective medicinal product in treating a number of skin conditions, including dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis. In fact, many manufacturers of skin treatments are now using coconut oil as a base in their products.

Weight Management:

While consuming an oil may seem counter-intuitive to effective weight loss, studies have shown that consuming coconut oil can be beneficial.

The research involved both human and animal trials, the findings showed that consuming coconut oil, is actually more beneficial than olive oil. It is thought, that the medium chain fatty acids within coconut oil allow the increase in metabolic rate, improving thyroid function and encouraging the body to more efficiently burn calories.

Improved Digestion:

Coconut oil contains anti-bacterial components, which can assist the body in destroying parasites and bacteria within the digestive system. The gut contains both good and bad bacteria. Good bacteria is essential for proper digestion and a healthy system.

However, bad bacteria can disrupt this balance leading to indigestion and other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome. The fats contained in coconut oil can also increase the absorption rate of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. This ensures that you receive the adequate nutrients from the food in your diet.

Improved Brain Health:

This factor has received a great deal of media attention in the recent past. Case studies have shown positive results in the use of coconut oil to improve the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Although formal studies have yet to conclusively prove this, research has shown that the triglycerides in coconut oil can help to improve health of brain cells, which could support the case study data.

Although most superfoods are fruits or vegetables, many experts now believe that coconut oil should be classified as a superfood. If you’re considering improving your overall health, decreasing the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease, or would like healthier looking skin, coconut oil could be considered a superfood for you.

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