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5 Surprising Benefits of Using Coconut Oil

Written by Dr. Joseph Mercola

Coconut oil is the latest buzzword phrase in the world of natural products, and for good reason. From using it as both a cleanser and moisturizer to adding it to your list of dietary aids or even keeping it around for use as a safe product on your pet’s paws, Pinkvilla lauds five great benefits of using coconut oil. So what else is there to know?

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If you haven’t had a chance to explore all the extraordinary uses of coconut oil, you’re in for a pleasant surprise, especially if you’re considering consuming it. You see, unlike other saturated fats, coconut oil contains no trans-fatty acids. Coconut oil won't oxidize when heated, so it's great for cooking and baking. It is also shelf-stable and won't go rancid.

Beyond these intrinsic qualities, coconut oil has many benefits, some of which may surprise you. For example, lauric acid makes up about half the fatty acids in coconut oil. When lauric acid is digested, it morphs into a monoglyceride called monolaurin. Both lauric acid and monolaurin help rid your gut of harmful pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites.

Topically, coconut oil also been shown to kill Staphylococcus aureus bacteria and Candida albicans, a common source of yeast infections. It also works on fungal infections like athlete’s foot and ringworm. And, a study in the European Journal of Pediatrics even reported research suggesting a blend of coconut oil and anise was almost twice as effective as the commonly prescribed (and toxic) permethrin lotion for head lice.

More importantly, used as a dietary aid, coconut oil is loaded with a mix of all the medium-chain fats, including C6, C8, C10 and C12 fats, the latter of which (lauric acid) makes up over 40 percent of coconut oil’s fat. Lauric acid is most well-known for its antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiviral properties, but the shorter-chained MCTs in coconut oil, on the other hand, are more readily converted into ketones, which are an excellent mitochondrial fuel.

Ketones also help suppress ghrelin (aka the hunger hormone) and enhance another hormone that signals your brain when you're full — which is something I discuss in detail in my book, “Fat for Fuel.”

In that book, I explain how many of the health benefits associated with a diet high in healthy fats, including coconut oil. Indeed, this diet, aka the ketogenic diet, featuring low net carb and high fat intake, has been shown to be beneficial for many chronic health conditions, including cancer, and can significantly improve your chances of weight loss.

Even better, the MCTs in coconut oil are digested through your liver, which creates ketones that supply energy directly to your brain. Research focused on determining the effect of a ketogenic agent on individuals with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease suggests there are some benefits to MCT supplementation with respect to cognitive impairment. Research has also shown that coconut oil can help prevent heart disease and high blood pressure, and balance your cholesterol numbers.

Did you know, however, you can use coconut oil to prevent gum disease and tooth decay? I have often mentioned oil pulling with coconut oil as a superb way to cleanse and flush harmful bacteria from your mouth. This technique is especially beneficial if you've been diagnosed with periodontal disease.

Because of its high concentration of antibacterial MCTs, coconut oil is ideal for oil pulling, and one of the positive side effects it naturally whitens your teeth. This is an oral hygiene habit I do every day.

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