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A look at the structure of coconut oil and the relation to its many benefits and uses.

Growing majestically on palm trees, this hard-shelled fruit is used for a variety of culinary, medicinal and aesthetic purposes. In some parts of the world, coconut oil is a dietary staple and its medicinal benefits have been used in ancient forms of medicine for thousands of years. This high fat food can be used to flavor many dishes and its water is used as a refreshing drink but by far the greatest health benefits are derived from its oil. Read on to see how one food can have so many applications in health and wellness from weight loss to skin care. Coconut oil is widely available in most supermarkets and health stores. In colder climates, it might be found in a solid form as it solidified at room temperature but will melt under hot water or in hotter climates. For best results, organic, unrefined, pure virgin coconut oil should be used.

Coconut Nutrition

Coconut fat is a saturated fat, which is the same type of fat found in animal foods. This has led some to believe that coconut fat might be bad for us. However, the triglycerides in coconut are medium chain as apposed to long chain, which makes all the difference.

Coconut oil contains about 60 percent medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), including the healthy fats, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid.

MCT’s have been used for digestive disorders because they don’t need any enzymes to break them down in the gut. MCT’s also go straight to the liver from the gut making them a more immediate source of energy for the body. They are also quickly converted to ketone bodies, a very potent source of energy.

Coconut Oil As A Weight Loss Aid

The idea that fat is the enemy in weight loss has been disproven over and over again. There has been a big movement recently to the so-called Low Carbohydrate High Fat (LCHF) Diet. The theory behind the diet is that insulin stimulating carbohydrates, and not fats are the real cause of weight gain. When carbohydrates are restricted below a certain level, the body goes into a fake kind of starvation and produces ketone bodies as an alternative source of energy to glucose. These ketone bodies control appetite and also help the body burn calories faster.

Although excess calories and fats will eventually cause weight gain, certain good fats can actually help us lose weight. The MCT’s in coconut oil have been shown to increase the amount of calories we can burn, probably due to its faster metabolism and ability to convert to energy quicker than other fats, especially when compared to longer chain fatty acids.

Anecdotal and clinical research has shown that consuming coconut oil can help stave off hunger.

This is because of the way that MCT’s are metabolized. Unlike other fats, MCT’s are converted directly into ketone bodies in the liver, and one of the results of ketones in the blood is a reduced appetite.

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