Coconut Oil: Health Benefits and Why It is in My Diet

Disclaimer: I am just one mom sharing her thoughts and research! I am not a doctor or health care provider. If you have any health concerns, please see a qualified health care provider. I make no claims about any product curing or preventing any disease, but hope that this post introduces you to a topic for you to consider and research yourself.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

I have become very interested in the prevention of disease. Because I have dealt with a few more minor health issues, I have realized how much easier it would have been just to prevent it in the first place. Sometimes, once a certain weakness has developed in your body, it can be really hard to get rid of. Once your immune system is worn down, it is a long journey to rebuilding it. At least, that’s how it’s been for me.

I have realized how much wiser it is to try to prevent health problems, instead of a “fire control” approach to health. In my journey towards learning more how to eat in a disease preventative way, coconut oil has kept coming to the forefront of my research. I don’t know what caught my eye first, it’s anti-fungal, antimicrobial elements, or it’s claimed cancer and heart disease fighting properties. Because coconut oil has an “immune boasting” effect, it’s supposed to help any individual trying to regain their health. It’s also nice that it actually can help you lose weight instead of gain.

Coconut oil may help prevent many illnesses

I got introduced to it’s many health benefits a few years ago. Just the fact alone that it’s supposed to help build up your immune system, was enough to make me interested. Many people report that when they eat a higher amount of coconut products in their diet, they stopped catching colds and the flu. Wouldn’t that be nice!

While coconut oil (and other saturated fats) have gotten a bad rap from the politically correct health gurus, coconut oil and other coconut products have been the base of many culture’s diet. And yes, they were very healthy people. I say were, because many of them have abandoned their traditional food, and are now eating more American food and paying the price with their health. For those of you who have concerns because of what politically correct dietitians say about coconut oil, I would especially advise reading some of the articles by Mary Enig (a leading expert on fats), which are linked to at the bottom of this page.

I have found Bruce Fife’s Book, The Coconut Oil Miracle, very interesting. He goes into depth how coconut oil can help prevent heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and how it helps you lose weight, and keep your skin and hair beautiful. Each of these topics are huge, and there is no way that I can thoroughly address all of them. But I found this section in the book a good summery, which I hope to will wet your appetite for more information (and more coconut oil!). I have added the formatting to aid you in reading it.

“Coconut oil has been used as both a food and a medicine for centuries in many cultures throughout the world. Traditional forms of medicine use coconut oil for a wide variety of health problems, ranging from the treatment of burns and constipation to gonorrhea and influenza. Modern medical research is now confirming the effectiveness of coconut oil for many of these conditions. Research over the past several decades has demonstrated that the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil are digested and metabolized differently from those of other fats. This difference gives the oil many health benefits obtained from no other source.

Easy to Digest (Helpful for infants, the elderly, and those with digestive issues)

Medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil don’t require pancreatic enzymes or bile for digestion. They are easy to digest, making them ideal for infants, cystic fibrosis patients, and those who have digestive problems, including those with gall bladder disease and those who have had their gallbladders removed.

Coconut oil useful for malnutrition

Coconut oil has been recommended for use in the treatment of malnutrition because it provides a quick and easy source of nutrition without taxing the enzyme systems of the body. It also improves the absorption of minerals (particularly calcium and magnesium) B vitamins, and fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K and Beta-carotene), as well as some amino acids.

Coconut oil helpful for losing weight, getting energy and improving thyroid function

The MCFA’s in coconut oil are used by the body to produce energy, not make body fat. Coconut oil stimulates metabolism, increase energy and improves thyroid function, all of which aid in reducing unwanted body fat. For these reasons, coconut oil has gained a reputation as being the world’s only natural low-calorie fat. Researchers have recommended the oil as a means to prevent and even treat obesity.

Coconut oil is Heart Healthy

Coconut oil is heart healthy. It does not negatively affect blood cholesterol, does not promote platelet stickiness that leads to blood clot formation and does not collect in the arteries. Coconut oil posses anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties, all of which protect arteries from atherosclerosis and from heart disease. Those people around the world who consume the most coconut oil have the lowest rates of heart disease. this is true even for those populations who get as much as 50 percent of their daily calories from saturated fat, primarily from coconut oil.

Coconut oil is helpful for fighting against yeast, bacterial, fungi, and parasites

The MCFAs possess powerful antimicrobial properties that kill a variety of disease-causing bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites, yet they do not harm friendly gut bacteria or contribute to antibiotic resistance. Coconut oil may be of great help to those with common infections such as influenza and candida as well as more serious problems like HIV.

Because of its resistance to free-radical formation and its ability to support the immune system, coconut oil may be useful in preventing or treating a wide assortment of conditions, many of which aren’t even discussed in this book. Medical research and health care workers are discovering new health benefits associated with coconut oil all the time.”

Are you interested and intrigued yet? Here is a more comprehensive list of what coconut oil can help, quoted from Bruce Fife’s site, The Coconut Research Center.

Published studies in medical journals show that coconut, in one form or another, may provide a wide range of health benefits. Some of these are summarized below:

  • Kills viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, SARS, AIDS, and other illnesses.

  • Kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum disease and cavities, pneumonia, and gonorrhea, and other diseases.

  • Kills fungi and yeasts that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, diaper rash, and other infections.

  • Expels or kills tapeworms, lice, giardia, and other parasites.

  • Provides a nutritional source of quick energy.

  • Boosts energy and endurance, enhancing physical and athletic performance.

  • Improves digestion and absorption of other nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

  • Improves insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose.

  • Relieves stress on pancreas and enzyme systems of the body.

  • Reduces symptoms associated with pancreatitis.

  • Helps relieve symptoms and reduce health risks associated with diabetes.

  • Reduces problems associated with malabsorption syndrome and cystic fibrosis.

  • Improves calcium and magnesium absorption and supports the development of strong bones and teeth.

  • Helps protect against osteoporosis.

  • Helps relieve symptoms associated with gallbladder disease.

  • Relieves symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and stomach ulcers.

  • Improves digestion and bowel function.

  • Relieves pain and irritation caused by hemorrhoids.

  • Reduces inflammation.

  • Supports tissue healing and repair.

  • Supports and aids immune system function.

  • Helps protect the body from breast, colon, and other cancers.

  • Is heart healthy; improves cholesterol ratio reducing risk of heart disease.

  • Protects arteries from injury that causes atherosclerosis and thus protects against heart disease.

  • Helps prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay.

  • Functions as a protective antioxidant.

  • Helps to protect the body from harmful free radicals that promote premature aging and degenerative disease.

  • Does not deplete the body’s antioxidant reserves like other oils do.

  • Improves utilization of essential fatty acids and protects them from oxidation.

  • Helps relieve symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome.

  • Relieves symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (prostate enlargement).

  • Reduces epileptic seizures.

  • Helps protect against kidney disease and bladder infections.

  • Dissolves kidney stones.

  • Helps prevent liver disease.

  • Is lower in calories than all other fats.

  • Supports thyroid function.

  • Promotes loss of excess weight by increasing metabolic rate.

  • Is utilized by the body to produce energy in preference to being stored as body fat like other dietary fats.

  • Helps prevent obesity and overweight problems.

  • Applied topically helps to form a chemical barrier on the skin to ward of infection.

  • Reduces symptoms associated the psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.

  • Supports the natural chemical balance of the skin.

  • Softens skin and helps relieve dryness and flaking.

  • Prevents wrinkles, sagging skin, and age spots.

  • Promotes healthy looking hair and complexion.

  • Provides protection form damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation form the sun.

  • Helps control dandruff.

  • Does not form harmful by-products when heated to normal cooking temperature like other vegetable oils do.

  • Has no harmful or discomforting side effects.

  • Is completely non-toxic to humans.

In my next post I will talk more about my own journey of added coconut oil into our daily diet and where I buy coconut oil. But meanwhile, here are some helpful resources for you to study further.

Coconutoil.com has a page providing links to different articles written by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig that is very helpful. If you have questions about saturated fats, and other issues regarding coconut oil, they give in depth answers to many such questions.

Coconut Connection also had a large amount of information about coconut oil and it’s health benefits. They also have many links to other helpful articles.

The Coconut Research Center
is Bruce Fife’s website devoted to bringing you information about tropical oils. He has a page for resources, and another for personal stories.

Eat Fat, Lose Fat, by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, provides both information about coconut products and many wonderful recipes using them as well.

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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Comments

  1. My Year Without says

    This information is great. I have a partially used jar of pure, raw coconut oil that I have used a little in baking and a little for veggie stir fries. Do you have any recipes that call for coconut oil? Specifically I am wondering about eating it as is and not heating it. I am currently fighting what wants to be a cold and am taking lots of herbs and teas.

    • says

      Hi
      You can use coconut oil as you would use butter, plus it is much better for you and delicious tasting, try it on toast just like that , it is simply delicious, you will not be able to get enough of it, believe me.
      You also can just take it by the spoonfuls since you are worried about a cold, and also add it to your smoothies,I add it to my porridge a good heaping tsp , or more to taste
      Enjoy

    • Margaret says

      Raw Coconut oil fudge
      1/4 cup coconut oil
      1/4 cup honey
      1/2 teaspoon vanilla
      Whip with spoon until creamy, add walnuts if desired
      Pour into a greased small bowl and refrigerate
      Delicious!!!

  2. Kimi Harris says

    My Year Without,
    When I have a cold, I will put a tablespoon (or even a few) of coconut oil in my tea, right before I start to drink it (so that the water isn’t too hot). I find that it’s an easy way to eat more of it , without too much trouble. You can also add to smoothies or other blended drinks. Another recipe that doesn’t heat the oil too much is NT’s carob or chocolate chip recipe. I blogged about it here. http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2008/02/homemade-chocolate-or-carob-chips.html. I just experimented with sweetening it with honey, and that works very well.

    I hope to share another recipe later this week, as well. Feel better soon!
    :-)

  3. Anonymous says

    Thank you for all the info on coconut oil. I really want to use it more often, but I don’t like the taste of coconut. Do you know of any coconut oil that is extra virgin but deodorized (if that is even possible)? I hope you can address that in your next post.

  4. Mrs. Amy Brigham says

    Great article! I love coconut oil and
    use it in/for everything. I actually just ordered a new gallon last week, along with some other goodies to try. I can hardly wait for the package to arrive on Friday. :D

  5. Lori says

    I just came upon your blog a few days ago and this post is so great. I am going to be looking more into the benefits of coconut for sure.

    I am a US expat (and nutritionist) living in Brazil. We first learned about the cardiac properties of coconut while in Jamaica and here in Brazil coconut everything is everywhere. In fact, the other day I had a huge glass of suco de coco (coconut juice). I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with SFAs but now I’m seeing it in a different light. Thanks!

  6. Amanda says

    Hi Kimi, I enjoy reading your blog! I have a question. Do all varieties of coconut related foods (for example, shredded coconut, coconut milk, etc.) have the same benefits that coconut oil does?

    I know we have some extra virgin coconut oil in our kitchen cupboard – I’m going to have to get it out and use it after reading all your info about it! Thanks!

  7. wendy says

    You mentioned in either this or another post on coconut oil that it is helpful in losing weight because it speeds up your metabolism, right? On the flip side, I saw where you blogged about it being useful in malnutrition cases. My question: I have a few children who are struggling with being underweight and I’m trying to find ways to increase their caloric intake. Will the coconut oil have a detrimental affect on them gaining good weight?

    By the way, I did buy some oil and both my husband and I love the taste, so I’m glad that won’t be an obstacle!

    Also, if I can squeeze a bunch of questions into one comment…what kind of coconut milk do you use?

    Thanks for your work on this blog! I’ve shared it with many friends!

  8. Healthy Oil Guy says

    Great article on the health benefits of coconut oil. I’ve been using this healthy oil for a number of years. Not only does it taste great in recipes, you can also use it for natural skin care and it for moisturizing your hair.

  9. says

    Thank you so much for such helpful information! I have recently begun using coconut oil in my diet but have had a hard time finding additional information on the subject. May the Lord bless you today!

  10. jimmy says

    Thanks for this info i have been using MeritVCO virgin coconut oil extracted from coconut milk…its natural and very good for health and skin….

  11. Debra says

    Helping very much in many ways!!

    I have been consuming 3 or more Tbsp. daily now for two weeks. I have had many health issues. They include IBS, diabetes, high cholesterol excema and CFS and Fibromyalgia. I used green food powder and cell rejuvinator powder (Peter Gilliam) The symptoms of CFIDS are gone. The coconut oil has been having a colon cleanse effect. It has loosened and removed plaque from my colon and also parasites. I know this is very gross but if it works I am thrilled! I have an overall feeling of energy. I look forward to see what other benefits will occur. My excema has improved as well as my skin in general. This stuff is amazing. I have found it at Walmart for $9. Good luck to y’all!!

  12. mlumun says

    Got interested reading about coconut cures and remembered that in my tribe and country (Tiv- Nigeria) coconut is given to persons who have eaten poison and breast feeding mothers are encouraged to eat lots of it as it is believed to boosts milk production!!!

  13. says

    Another great post. I still love your blog :) We’ve been eating a ton of coconut milk lately, since I just cut out dairy. I noticed I totally lost any cravings for junk food. I used to want chocolate/chips/Micky D’s fairly regularly, but none this month. Either cutting out dairy or adding in coconut milk or both has eliminated my breastfed son’s eczema too, so that’s awesome.

  14. Kathi says

    Thankyou for all of your great info.I bought a jar of Bali Sun virgin coconut oil yesterday.I massage alot of it into my scalp and hair and slept with it in my hair all night.My scalp feels better .I had toast with the oil on it and I really do feel a burst of energy today.I actually felt alot less fatigue when I woke up this morning, even before I read this.I read somewhere else that it helps with mental fatigue and it seems to be true.I am so glad that I found out about this wonder oil!

  15. Jacquie says

    Hi can you tell me if shredded coconut or dessicated coconut have similar health benefits to the oil?

  16. Ruth says

    Coconut oil is wonderful! I live in Panama and the older folks here swear by the oil for any illness. They tell me that 9 times out of 10 the coconut oil will resolve the problem. Also, they tend to drink a lot of pure coconut juice here. That is to say, they will get the raw, young coconut, hack the top of it off, and drink juice/milk inside. They love their coconut here!

  17. julie says

    I have told endless people about the benefits of coconut oil, wether they want to use it medicinally for a specific health problem, or simply as a beauty aid. One friend who writes for a diabetic publication has even said she will do an article on it in the next issue.
    I can’t say I am very partial to the oil, although i do love coconut, but hey, if it benefits you in so many ways then I’m prepared to continue with it. I just wish the medical profession were open to recommending it to their patients.

  18. Gina says

    I have a tablespoon of coconut oil in my coffee every morning. My husband recently got strep throat and I stayed healthy. I’ve also avoided a couple colds that I believe is because I have coconut oil every day. There’s a great (dairy free) chocolate orange mousse recipe that uses alot of coconut oil that I love to have for dessert!! You can find it at http://www.thespunkycoconut.com under “raw inspired”

  19. Edward Ashburn says

    I would like u to send me all the benefits that cocunut oil has on the muscle and the teeth and gums. and also the brain. I have been on a fifteen year layoff from school. i start school in 4 days. how much should i take and what is the best kind for me

  20. Edward Ashburn says

    I would like u to send me all the benefits that cocunut oil has on the muscle and the teeth and gums. and also the brain. I have been on a fifteen year layoff from school. i start school in 4 days. how much should i take and what is the best kind for me

  21. says

    We eat a lot of coconut and coconut milk here in Tonga, and it’s wonderful! Although we’re surrounded by coconuts, it’s quite hard to get any coconut oil, so I tried out buying a jug in the store.

    I’m skeptical of it so far; it’s very cheap and imported from Indonesia. The bottle just says “coconut oil” on it, and the ingredients say the same, but when I cook with it, it gives off a terrible smell, almost like pungent burning plastic! It burns immediately, even at low heat, and makes everything stick to the pan.

    I tried making no-bake cookies with it and threw out the whole batch because they literally tasted toxic. When you cook with coconut oil, what does it smell/look/taste like? I’m afraid of using it raw because it was so nasty when heated.

    -e

    • zam says

      You can make your own coconut oil.
      Just blend the coconut with water and squeeze out as much white out of the coconut as possible and leave the coconut water overnight.
      Then a kind of product will form on the top of the water.
      Put the product in the pot on the stove, light the stove, and when it start to turn brown (only take off the brown part) and put it in a container that can take heat (only the part that has turned brown).
      Then you have your coconut oil.

  22. says

    Hi Elena
    The coconut oil that you bought was of pour quality, it has to be from a reputable health store and it must be labeld Pure and 1st cold press and important it has to be Organic
    it should have a light lovely smell to it and no it does not smell when you cook with it ( do not cook anything on high temp)
    Good luck
    Patricia

  23. Rue says

    I would like to know how you claim coconut oil is a the lowest caloric oil. My jar says it is 130 calories per tablespoon. That is higher than butter or olive oil? I am a big believer in Coconut oil mind you, but that it is low in calories is simpley not true. You must cut out other calories or you will gain weight very easily.

  24. Patsy says

    I just started using coconut oil internally and externally. I am looking forward to having my many problems corrected in the near future.

    • Sharon says

      Patsy, as I just posted I have just started using it also and would like to chat with you further on your progress, please reply.

  25. Sharon says

    Have read about and recently been using coconut oil for a few days after hearing it discussed on the 700 Club on TV. Am hopeful that its properties will improve my skin and digestive tract alongwith hopefully preventing dementia, since I am 68 years old now and don’t look forward to any of this! Have used it like butter and have enjoyed the pleasant taste and browning properties. On TV the lady said she just melted it down in the microwave and swallowed it down like medicine twice a day just to make sure she got enough of it , I believe she was taking a tablespoon each time. So far I am pleased with the taste and am trying to come up with easy ways to use it, as in hot cereals and drinks, melts well and is ok there. We will see! looking forward to everyones success stories and new ideas for use.

  26. suriana says

    Hi,
    can i give coconut oil to my 9 month old baby? if yes, how do i give her like directly or in her food?
    many thanks!

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  1. [...] Coconut Oil: It’s Health Benefits and Why It’s in My Diet Great article on the health benefits of coconut oil. I’ve been using this healthy oil for a number of years. Not only does it taste great in recipes, you can also use it for natural skin care and it for moisturizing your hair. Read more… [...]

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