cracked coconut with big splash

Coconuts are one of the most commonly used food item in the world. Thinking about the word "coconut" alone brings up a whole lot of memories associated with summer vacations in beautiful islands and a really nice food to have as both snack and beverage. Apart from being a delicious and healthy treat, the coconut's own oil has been given quite the popular recognition when it comes to its versatility and usefulness.

When talking about coconut oil, the usual things that come to mind are how it's used as cooking oil and how it can be utilized to make your skin healthier and beautiful. Indeed, the world loves its coconut oil. In fact, Americans alone consumed an average of 516,000 metric tons of coconut oil in the last 5 years. That's a lot of coconuts.

This food item is so useful that many have considered this as a "superfood" with great emphasis on its surprising health benefits. The range of useful attributions to coconut oil are both widely varied and oddly specific.

For that we compiled the 5 topmost important health benefits of this wonderful food item, some of which may even surprise you. You wouldn't exactly think a bottle of oil can do the following things to improve your health.

1. Converts fat to energy

Contrary to popular belief, fat isn't what makes you "fat".  In fact, fat is one of the most useful sources of energy in a diet. Fat is known to have the highest concentration of energy among all the nutrients with a 1:9 gram/calorie ratio.

This means you only need to eat a bit of fat for your body to have energy to train or to do some work. The downside is you have to choose which fat you get energy from as some sources aren't easily converted to energy.

As such, coconut oil is an ideal source of energy due to how it is metabolized faster than it is stored as fat. This is due to how 50% of coconut oil is made up of Medium Chain Triglycerides or MCTs.

MCTs are able to go straight to your liver which then gets converted to energy before the body stores it as fat. This enables your body to quickly use it up and enables the body to use more energy by up to 5% in a 24 hour time period.

This means coconut oil can actually help you burn fat and therefore help those who are aiming to lose the extra weight faster given a long term approach.

2. Effective against Epilepsy and Alzheimer's

Speaking of MCTs, studies have shown that regular doses of MCT supplements have positive effects on patients suffering from Epilepsy and Alzheimer's. As earlier discussed, coconut oil is chemically known to have a good supply of MCTs, around 60%, than other known fats. This makes it an ideal food which can be used to prevent epileptic seizures and to delay or ward off Alzheimer's.

3. Suppresses appetite

The advantages to improving your diet is quite too many to mention specially when it comes to high fat diets. We all know a good diet coupled with healthy fats can actually help people lose weight by providing satiety and how it can suppress unnecessary appetite.

Coconut oil, being a natural and healthy source of fat, can definitely improve a high fat diet or even an average diet due to the way its fatty acids are readily converted to ketones. In fact, a study shows how mainly using coconut oil in your diet can help even the average person lose as much as 36 pounds (around 16 kg) per year.

4. Boosts immune system

Monolaurin has been shown to benefit the body's immune system by having antiviral, antiprotozoal, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties. Monolaurin is derived from Lauric Acid which composes 50% of coconut oil which makes it nature’s richest source of the fatty acid, the second highest source being human breast milk at 6-10%.

5. Prevents heart disease

Perhaps the most important health benefit is how it is the type of fat that prevents heart diseases. Its strength lies on how it can improve blood cholesterol levels.

Coconut oil has been shown to raise HDL, the good cholesterol, while simultaneously reducing LDL, the bad cholesterol. This fact is further supported by a study done in 2009 when it was pitted against soybean oil.

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