For the longest time now, people have been referring to coconut oil as one of the famous, so-called “superfoods," and for a good reason, that is. As it turns out, coconut oil has more health benefits than we can count, helping to improve our overall health. But is one of those beneficial effects an effective weight loss as well?
Can you actually lose weight by introducing more coconut oil to your daily diet? And if that answer is yes, how could you possibly do that? What are the beneficial effects of coconut oil that will allow a sustainable and safe weight loss? Today, we will explore all of these questions and provide you with the necessary information so that you could decide if adding more coconut oil to your diet is the thing that you would like to do.
The health benefits of coconut oil
We see famous celebrities and Instagram influencers, promoting the use of coconut oil as a part of the daily diet. The truth is that coconut oil really does have a unique blend of nutrients that we should not ignore.
You would be amazed to know that one tablespoon of coconut oil comes with 120 calories, 0 protein, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 9 grams of carbohydrate, and an amazing 13 grams of fat, of which 11 grams are saturated fats (1)! In the following, we will share some of the biggest health benefits that coconut oil is able to provide for your overall health.
It contains healthy fatty acids
One of the best things about coconut oil is its blend of helpful and much-needed fatty acids. Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are transported directly to the liver where they are used as an instant energy source or turned into ketones (2).
This means that coconut oil can provide an instant raise in energy levels for a long time. And if the MCTs are converted into ketones, this means that your brain will be able to benefit from their presence. Ketones have been discussed to be a potential part of the treatment for seizures, Alzheimer’s disease, and many other health issues. Either way, it is a win-win situation for you.
It promotes good heart health
Since coconut oil is rich in saturated fats, which can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels, coconut oil is able to promote satisfying heart health. But not only is coconut oil able to prevent heart disease, but it is also able to put a stop to it and even fix the high blood pressure levels by maintaining them within the normal ranges (3).
It can protect your skin, hair, and teeth
You probably have seen multiple hair mask recipes that include coconut oil as their base. This is because coconut oil has the potential to improve the quality of your hair. But it does not stop there. Coconut oil is additionally able to fix the problem with dry skin and even serve as a treatment for eczema (4).
There are studies that show that coconut oil can also be used as a natural sunscreen, blocking about 20% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays (5). And you probably have heard about coconut oil being used as a part of the oil-pulling method to achieve good oral health. Oil-pulling with coconut oil is suggested to kill the harmful bacteria in the mouth and help against bad breath (6).
It can raise the “good” HDL cholesterol
We all know that high LDL cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol, levels are directly linked to the increased risk of heart disease, among other health issues. Well, coconut oil can help you with that. The high levels of saturated fats that are found in coconut oil are able to reduce the high LDL cholesterol levels while raising the HDL cholesterol levels.
This is all thanks to a process that allows the “bad” cholesterol to be converted into “good” cholesterol, thus promoting good heart health and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. In fact, coconut oil has been found more beneficial in terms of maintaining healthy cholesterol levels as compared to soybean oil, according to a study published in Lipids (7).
Note that these are only some of the health benefits that coconut oil has to offer. There are multiple other positive effects expected to occur with the daily use of coconut oil as an addition to your diet.
Can you use coconut oil to achieve weight loss?
So now to the biggest question of them all – Can you use coconut oil in your battle against those extra body pounds? Can coconut oil bring you closer to that summer body? And can you expect the number of the scale to go down by replacing your usual cooking oils with coconut oil?
The answer to all of these questions is the same, and luckily for you, it is a big YES! Yes, of course, coconut oil can help you shed those last couple of annoying body pounds. It can even help you get rid of that belly fat that you are so tired of looking at in the mirror. After all, we did mention that coconut oil is a superfood, did we not? Not let’s explain the mechanisms of action through which coconut oil stimulates weight loss.
It encourages fat burning
If you know anything about the weight loss process, then you probably know that you need to look for ways to boost your metabolism effectively. A boosted metabolism is equal to more calories being burned, thus achieving weight loss. One of the best things about coconut oil and the high levels of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) that it contains is that it can encourage more calories to be burned on a daily level, which means that it will boost your metabolism effectively.
Compared to long-chain fatty acids, which are more commonly found in our usual diet, MCTs are able to increase the number of calories that your body will burn (8). If you are wondering what the sources of long-chain triglycerides are, you need to consider olive oil, soybean oil, and avocado oil (9). You see, when your body uses MCTs instead of long-chain fatty acids or glucose for that matter, your metabolism is boosted up to 24 hours after the consummation of MCTs has taken place.
It suppresses hunger
One thing that many people struggle with once they take on onto the weight loss journey is feeling hungry. And although losing weight is in no way correlated to starving yourself, it does require a certain calorie deficit. Now for the normal person who is used to eating 2000 or even more calories on a daily basis, it can be quite hard, especially in the beginning, to get used to this required calorie deficit, thus struggling with their feelings of hunger.
The trick is, of course, to find low-calorie, high-density foods that will keep you full in the long-run. One of those foods is coconut oil. If you remember, we mentioned the MCTs often being converted into ketones. This means one thing – ketones help suppress our appetite, reducing our hunger (10).
To test this theory, researchers have given large quantities of MCTs, with coconut oil serving as one of the sources of MCTs, at breakfast, to investigate the appetite and hunger-suppressing effect that they supposedly have. The study showed that these individuals ate fewer calories at lunch, thus confirming this theory (11).
It reduces harmful belly fat
Many people struggle with high levels of belly fat. This is an especially big of a problem for women, who tend to have more belly fat as compared to men. But not only is the belly fat unsatisfying to look at and can do a lot to harm your body image, and with that, your self-confidence, it is also being linked to more health risks than you would ever imagine.
The list of health risks includes diabetes type 2, insulin resistance, heart disease, migraine headaches, asthma, and even compromised lung function, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (12). Some of the most effective methods that will help you to get rid of your belly fat are cutting off carbs, eating more protein, exercising, and getting enough sleep. But did you know that you can also rely on coconut oil for support as well?
In the study published in Lipids, which we mentioned earlier, it was discovered that coconut oil has not only helped the participants to lose weight but also to lose belly fat as well. Compared to the group which consumed coconut oil, the group who consumed soybean oil not only did lose less body weight, but they also did not lose any belly fat at all.
How to add more coconut oil to your diet
So knowing all of this, we are guessing that you cannot wait to find out how to add more coconut oil to your diet and with that to achieve a healthy weight loss. Luckily for you, we have your back. Here are the most convenient and easy ways to add more coconut to your diet without having to go out of your way to achieve insane results.
But how much coconut oil should you consume? And is coconut oil safe? First of all, yes – coconut oil is safe to be consumed in moderation. According to The AHA, each individual is recommended to consume around 13 grams of saturated fats on a daily basis to gain the ultimate health benefits that come with saturated fats.
If you remember, we mentioned earlier that one tablespoon of coconut oil comes packed with around 11 grams of saturated fats. This means that one tablespoon of coconut oil a day is enough, knowing that we are already consuming saturated fats from other foods in our diets such as butter, cheese, pork, beef, and poultry skin.
We recommend using organic, unrefined, virgin coconut oil for the ultimate beneficial effects. You do not want any chemicals near your coconut oil. And if you are having a hard time to stand the smell of unrefined coconut oil, choose a high-quality refined coconut oil that is still organic and virgin.
Now ought to the best ways to include more coconut oil in your daily diet.
Use it as a substitute for your usual cooking oils
Use coconut oil that will easily replace any margarine, vegetable oil, or even olive oil whenever you are cooking a delicious, well-balanced meal. You will be able to notice the difference in the form of improved taste right away (13).
Add it to your salads
A salad that uses different types of tasty veggies and maybe even some fruits, for those of you who like to experiment, is a must when you are trying to lose weight. So why not add a bit of liquid coconut oil to your salad instead of your usual choice of oil (14).
Eat a tablespoon of coconut oil a day
If you are brave enough, you can try eating a tablespoon of coconut oil a day. We would recommend starting with a smaller amount and then increasing that amount progressively as you get used to its unique taste. This might as well be the simplest way to consume coconut oil, after all.
Add it to your coffee
Artificial sweeteners and cream can add a lot of calories to your cup of coffee, and with that, take away all of the hard work that you have been doing, trying to lose weight. If you are not a fan of the plain, old taste of black coffee, we recommend adding a bit of coconut oil, which will surely improve its taste (15).
With all of its health benefits, it is almost impossible to ignore coconut oil and its importance for our good health. And as if that was not enough, science suggests that coconut oil can be a great alley in the battle against those extra body pounds. In today’s article, we discussed the main mechanisms through which coconut oil allows you a chance to shed those extra calories and get the body of your dreams.