As a super food, coconut contains numerous vitamins and minerals. But what makes coconut oil a powerhouse of benefits is its building blocks, or its fatty acids. Known as medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), these fats are metabolised by our bodies in an incredibly efficient way compared to long chain fatty acids (LCFAs). While LCFAs like soybean oil have to go through 26-step process to digest, MCFAs go through just 3! Because it’s so easy to digest, coconut fat gets converted into energy, rather than being stored as fat. And, you’ll feel more energetic, for much longer.
Sound too good to be true? Coconut contains saturated fat, yes. But saturated fat’s received a bad rap, and quite unfairly. The fact is, not all saturated fats are created equal. “While all fats suppress appetite,” explains Dr. Fife, “some are much better than others in aiding weight loss. One of the reasons why coconut oil is effective in reducing body fat and reducing weight is because it contains fewer calories than any other fat.” But the good news doesn’t stop there. “Medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil are smaller than other fats, and therefore, digest very quickly, so quickly in fact, that the body uses them as an immediate source of fuel.” Cue instant energy with none of the weight gain.
Eating coconut acts like an antibiotic for your body, only better. And best of all, you don’t have to go to the doctor. “Unlike antibiotics which are only effective against bacteria, MCFAs and monoglycerides can kill bacteria as well as viruses, fungi, and protozoa, which makes coconut oil a potentially useful aid in fighting infections,” explains Dr. Fife. On top of that, one recent study found that coconut oil might even help relieve the symptoms of pneumonia. Children who partook in coconut oil therapy – something we could definitely get behind – along with antibiotics, experienced less wheezing, a shorter time with an elevated respiratory rate and fever, better oxygen saturation in the blood, and shorter hospital stays, according the study at the Phillipine Children’s Medical Centre.
In one clinical trial, subjects used coconut soap and 0.05% sodium hypochlorite, as opposed to regular toothpaste. The result? Eating coconut has an anti-caries effect, helping to prevent plaque build up. Best of all, it helps whiten your teeth too.
One of the main problems associated with concentration and brain fog is the brain’s inability to effectively use blood sugar to produce energy. Cue fogginess, loss of memory and scatter brain! But there’s one potential antidote: the mighty ketone body. Ketones are a special kind of high-energy fuel produced from fat stores in the liver that nourishes the brain. Generally, ketones are only produced if your glucose intake is low. But with the addition of certain fats, namely medium-chain triglycerides, voila! A portion of those MCTs in Coconuts are converted into ketones increasing your mental clarity and brain function.
As you can see, adding more coconut to your diet is one of the easiest and tastiest ways to improve your mental and physical health. “MCFAs can help nourish us and protect us from infectious and degenerative disease,” says Dr. Fife. “It appears that coconut oil provides many health benefits to those who very young, those are very old, and all of those in between.”