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1. A Flat Belly
In one study, 40 women ages 20-40 were evaluated for the effect of coconut oil on belly fat. They ingested 2 tablespoons of coconut oil per day. They saw no negative changes in lipid profile and reported a significant reduction in belly fat. (5) In the study, they compared the daily ingestion of coconut oil with soybean oil… and the results were striking. The soybean oil resulted in negative changes in the lipid profile and no change in waist circumference. Although these results are exciting for users of coconut oil, more research is needed to determine why exactly this occurred. (5) Sadly, soybean oil, not coconut oil, has found its way into almost every processed food on the shelves.
2. A Strong Heart
Cooking with coconut oil rich in medium chain fatty acids has been shown to support healthy HDL and LDL ratios. (3) A recent study of 1839 Filipino women further supports the positive association between medium chain fatty acids and HDL levels. (1) As you may know, high levels of HDL are associated with a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease.
3. A Resilient Memory
Oral consumption of medium chain fatty acids found in coconut oil has been shown to improve cognition in older individuals. (6) In a pilot study where neurons in the cortex of the brain were treated with beta-amyloid plaque (a deficiency of which has been linked to memory and cognitive function concerns) and then treated with coconut oil, the cortical brain cells were rescued whereas the cells that were only treated with the plaque were not. (2)
4. Healthy Cholesterol Levels
In one study, virgin coconut oil was compared with copra oil to measure their effects on the body’s good and bad fats (lipids). Copra oil is made from dried coconut meat, which is often highly refined, bleached and deodorized. In this study, compared to the copra oil, the virgin coconut oil was significantly more effective in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. Compared to the copra oil, the polyphenol function of virgin coconut oil was also more effective in protecting the body’s lipid profile from the ravages of oxidation. (3) Oxidation is a degenerative process that can turn good fats into bad fats.
Still Hesitant About Eating Saturated Fats?
In an exhaustive meta-analysis, where many studies were evaluated together in an attempt to determine the link between saturated fats and cardiovascular health issues, the results were surprising. In this landmark study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, they followed 347,747 subjects for 5 to 23 years and found “no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular or cardio-health issues.” (4)
Always buy extra virgin, non-GMO, organic coconut oil. However, be mindful that even these organic coconuts can sit around for months in the heat before processing and lose much of their health potential as seen in the copra oil study. The final determination of the coconut oil is your nose. When you open the jar, a fresh coconut smell should explode into your olfactory plate – and smell really good! Here at LifeSpa, when available and in season, I only source the coconut oil that has been processed quickly to ensure the quality, benefits and distinctive aroma.
Consume 1-2 teaspoons of unrefined, non-GMO organic coconut oil per day. While more has been shown to be safe, in my clinical experience more is not necessary. You can do this a multitude of ways. You can eat it straight out of the jar, cook or bake with it as it is heat-stable, toss it into your soups or smoothies, blend it into coffee or stir it into herbal tea, make coconut butter, the options are limitless! Enjoy!
What is your favorite way to consume coconut oil?