Coconut Oil is a Dietary Superfood

Coconut oil is a dietary superfood – and I can give you dozens of reasons why. It’s also a recommended part of healthy lifestyle change for dieters.

This tropical oil got a bad rap for many years, because it contains saturated fats, and because there was a pretty fierce smear campaign against it by grain-based oil producers. Today, we know that not all saturated fats are bad, and that we need fat in our diets, in moderation.

The fats that you choose are a critical part of redesigning your lifestyle to keep obesity away longterm. Virgin coconut oil is a heart-healthy, obesity-fighting “good fat“.

Coconut Oil - a very healthy fat

Choosing Your Coconut Oil

The least-refined coconut oils are the “virgin” ones, and when shopping for coconut oil, I recommend that you choose virgin coconut oil, which is higher in antioxidants. It’s not really necessary to choose an organic product, as there are no GMO coconuts, and coconuts are rarely sprayed because they grow so far up.

Avoid hydrogenated coconut oils, as they contain trans fats that we certainly don’t want in our diet. Also avoid “liquid coconut oils” which assure you they stay liquid, even in the refrigerator. That’s because they have the majority of the lauric acid removed, and we want lauric acid in our coconut oil. More on that below.

Consuming Coconut Oil

As part of day-to-day healthy nutrition, coconut oil is hard to beat. Many people insist on getting two to three tablespoons per day, either right off the spoon, in dressings and cooking, on oatmeal or in smoothies. It tastes good, and some varieties have little or no coconut flavor, while others offer more. You can experiment to find one to your personal liking.

Coconut oil may be a solid or liquid when you use it, depending on the temperature of the room. At about 76F or higher, the oil will be in a liquid form. If it’s solid and you want to use it in a salad dressing, just warm it a little.

One tablespoon of coconut oil contains 117 calories and 14 grams fat, including 12 g saturated fat. Used in moderation and especially if it replaces “bad fats”, it’s one of those lifestyle changes that really make a difference in the long term.

Safe to Store, Safe to Cook With

Coconut oil is very stable. It has a shelf-life of three to five years at room temperature, without oxidization. This means it retains its nutritional value.

It has a high burning point. This means that you can cook with it at higher temperatures than most oils, without burning the oil, which damages its nutritional properties and is bad for your health. For example, virgin olive oil, which is an excellent fat at room temperature and good for you in salad dressings, becomes unhealthy when used for frying. Coconut oil is your best choice for high-temperature cooking.

Coconut Oil is Healthy in Traditional Diets

Inhabitants of areas with high coconut oil consumption such as the Phillipines, Thailand and Sri Lanka traditionally display fewer of the modern diseases that are typical of western nations, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

“Coconuts were practically a staple in the diets, with up to 60% of their caloric intake coming from the saturated fat of coconut oil. The study found very lean and healthy people who were relatively free from the modern diseases of western cultures, including obesity.”

How Coconut Oil Helps Dieters

  • Promotes weight loss
  • Boosts metabolism
  • Supports healthy thyroid function
  • Reduces hunger
  • Improves the body’s control of blood sugar
  • Reduces abdominal fat (belly fat) specifically
  • Preserves muscle mass
  • Promotes Ketosis
  • Offers medium-chain triglycerides which are turned into energy instead of fat by the body

“One 2009 study found that women who consumed 30 milliliters (about 2 tablespoons) of coconut oil daily for 12 weeks not only did not gain more weight, but actually had lowered amounts of abdominal fat, a type of fat that is difficult to lose, and contributes to more heart problems.”

 Other Benefits of Coconut Oil

  • Reduces symtoms of Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Kills Candida fungus
  • Excellent for endurance sports
  • Improves or heals many skin diseases such as acne, eczema, psoriasis
  • Helps with Hypothyroidism by supporting normal thyroid function
  • Conditions and strengthens hair (and improves dandruff)
  • Kills many bacteria and viruses
  • Moisturizes and conditions skin (apply externally)
  • Increases “good” HDL cholesterol
  • Offers positive antioxidant action in the body (reduces effects of aging)
  • Improves immune function
  • Helps absorb fat-soluble vitamins better (like vitamins A, D, E & K)
  • Can help with allergies
  • Can improve sleep
  • May reduce hot flashes
  • Helps prevent stretch marks when rubbed on a pregnant belly
  • Can be made into a safe and natural deodorant

Lauric Acid In Your Diet Is Special

Coconut oil is the only food you can eat, other than breast milk, that contains high quantities of lauric acid. Lauric acid kills bacteria, viruses and fungi. This is one of the reasons coconut oil has such a long shelf life. This makes coconut oil very good for your gut, as it will help control overgrowths of bad bacteria or yeast.

Getting reliable advice on lifestyle change is part of the battle in overcoming obesity permanently. If you’re looking for support and a program that works, here in Hawaii I run a medical weight loss clinic where over 80% of my patients reach their weight loss goals and keep the weight off. Call (808) 551-4348 or click here to lose the weight and keep it off!

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8 Responses to Coconut Oil is a Dietary Superfood

  1. DDavies April 25, 2014 at 6:48 pm #

    We just started using coconut oil. I wish I had read this article first so I would have known how to make a better choice when deciding between two brands. I hope I start to see some of the benefits soon!

    • DrBruce April 28, 2014 at 9:15 am #

      Congratulations on making such a good choice for your health. It’s a small but important step in the right direction. You may also want to read my article on eating clean for some more ideas. With choosing coconut oil in particular, remember that some of the benefits are the ones you don’t see, because you’re avoiding inflammation and the other nasty health consequences of unhealthy fats.

  2. Debbie Tharp June 11, 2014 at 5:13 pm #

    Thank you for describing the difference between liquid and regular coconut oil. My friend got me started on this a couple years ago and I now use it for everything from oil pulling to face lotion to hair conditioner (it’s GREAT for my hair) and of course for cooking. I had another friend suggest recently that I try it in my coffee instead of creamer. It turned out to be pretty yummy. But I ran out recently and decided to buy some from my local health food store. All they had on their shelves was the liquid stuff. It didn’t look right to me so I left it there and went to Winco. I think I will show the manager of the health food store this article. Perhaps I can convince him to switch. Long live lauric acid!

    • DrBruce June 13, 2014 at 1:56 pm #

      You’re welcome, Debbie. Glad to hear you’ve added coconut oil to so many parts of your lifestyle.

  3. jennmcleod01 July 11, 2014 at 4:22 pm #

    I didn’t realize coconut oil helped the body in so many ways. I usually use it as a face lotion, but I think I’ll try eating a bit more.
    You might want to suggest people to start small and work their way up on the dosage.
    Thanks for the wonderful article.

    • DrBruce July 15, 2014 at 8:52 pm #

      Thanks, Jenn. That’s a good suggestion. With any new food you add, it’s always a good idea to start small. See how your body and digestion react, and work your way up to larger amounts.

  4. FreiFreiFrei December 8, 2014 at 5:26 pm #

    Coconut oil is also fantastic at taming flyaways in straighter hair textures, and sealing in moisture in more coily ones. Since it dries solid it provides hold on windy, cooler days (which is just when you need it!)

    What i like to do is warm some coconut oil, add some pepper and vegetable seasoning to it while it’s still liquid, add it to some cold salad, and it coats the salad with flavor without making it soggy when it cools. Perfect!

  5. J.Cham December 14, 2014 at 7:32 pm #

    This is a great article, I use coconut oil but mostly as a hair product, being that it provides nutrients and stability for my extremely dry natural hair. I had no idea there were so many other uses for this product. It’s great to know that something I already own and use on a daily basis can provide major benefits in other areas. I think I will try to use it more in an attempt to improve my sleeping habits, being that I am a self-proclaimed insomniac. As probably explained by the timing of this post.

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