Coconut oil has a lot of health benefits, particularly for vegetarians and vegans. It’s a healthy fat that can increase mental and physical energy, and help you lose body fat.
Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). These MCTs get converted to ketones that your body uses for energy, including brain energy. Ketones may also help restore your brain’s neurons and nerve function. That’s why it’s being studied for its positive effects on Alzheimer’s Disease.
Plus, unlike glucose (sugar) from carbohydrates, which also gets converted to energy, there’s no insulin spike. When you eat carbohydrates, insulin is sent into the bloodstream to move the sugar into your cells. Over time, too much insulin can result in insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, type-2 diabetes, obesity, and other health issues.
The MCTs in coconut oil provide energy as quickly as a carbohydrate because your body processes them similarly. During digestion, most fats are broken down to get transported via the blood to the liver. MCTs get taken to the liver intact where they’re used directly for energy.
So far there are no conclusive studies showing coconut oil can get you to shed pounds. But, there is some good news if you’re looking to lose body fat. Some studies show that MCTs enhance the body’s natural fat burning ability, and can improve the ratio of fat to lean tissue.
Yes. A study published in the Journal of American College of Nutrition shows that moderate amounts of MCTs consumed for a long period do not negatively affect cardiovascular health.
Everyone can benefit from adding coconut oil to the diet, especially vegetarians and vegans. Omega-3 EPA is an important fatty acid for brain health and development. For vegetarians and vegans, it can be difficult to get enough because eating fish is the only way to get it directly.
To get omega-3 EPA into their diets, Vegetarians and Vegans have to rely on eating foods high in ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) and SDA (Stearidonic acid) fatty acids. These fatty acids convert to EPA, but only a small percentage. ALA converts approximately 0.05 percent and SDA converts between 20 and 30 percent to EPA.
By adding coconut oil to your diet, you get some added brain health and energy to help compensate for the deficiency in EPA in a vegetarian and vegan diet.
You can find organic coconut oil in any health and specialty food store, as well as online.
“Medium Chain Triglyceride Oil Consumption as Part of a Weight Loss Diet Does Not Lead to an Adverse Metabolic Profile When Compared to Olive Oil,” Journal of American College ofNutrition, Oct 2008; 27(5): 547–552.
Medium-Chain Triglycerides, NYU Langone Medical Center
Two Exciting Alzheimer’s Advances: A Novel Early Detection Test Using Peanut Butter, and a Study Evaluating Coconut Oil, Dr. Mercola