Why Do People Use Coconut Oil?Proponents claim that coconut oil offers the following health benefits:
- supports thyroid function
- increases metabolism
- antiviral and antibacterial properties
- improved blood pressure
- improved cholesterol levels
- weight loss
- better diabetes control
- increased bone strength
- better digestion
- prevention of cancer
- hair and skin health
- prevention of heart disease
- stress reduction
- increased immunity
Health Benefits of Coconut Oil:Some studies suggest that coconut oil may provide these health benefits:
1) Reduced Belly FatConsuming coconut oil may help fight abdominal obesity, according to a 2009 study from the journal Lipids. For 12 weeks, 40 women with excess belly fat were placed on a diet, told to exercise each day, and given daily supplements containing either soybean oil or coconut oil. Although members of both groups lost weight, women given coconut oil showed a greater decrease in the size of their waistlines.
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2) Improved Cholesterol LevelsPreliminary research suggests that coconut oil may help keep cholesterol in check. A 2004 study published in Clinical Biochemistry, for instance, found that rats fed virgin coconut oil (a type of coconut oil produced without the use of chemicals) for 45 days experienced a reduction in their total cholesterol and levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol.
Besides coconut oil, find out about other ways to Lower Cholesterol With Supplements.
3) Weight LossTests on mice indicate that combining coconut oil with conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) may promote the loss of body fat. However, it's not known whether combining coconut oil and CLA might produce the same health benefits in humans. What's more, it should also be noted that CLA may have negative impact on blood sugar metabolism and possibly contribute to insulin resistance.
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How to Use Coconut OilCoconut oil can be purchased at most natural-foods stores. When selecting a coconut oil, look for organic, non-GMO coconut oil. Stay away from hydrogenated oil or oil that has been treated with heat, solvents, or bleach. Opting for extra-virgin oil ensures that the coconut oil product has not been refined, bleached, or deodorized. In addition, extra-virgin coconut oil tends to offer a richer flavor than refined coconut oil.
Often used in stir-frying and baking, coconut oil can replace butter as a spread or flavoring agent for bread, oatmeal, popcorn, vegetable dishes, and other foods. Coconut oil can also be added to smoothies and shakes.
In addition to 100% coconut oil, some companies make a product made from the whole coconut, not just the oil, so it also has protein and fiber. It is called coconut butter or coconut manna, and is used in smoothies, shakes, desserts, dressings, and sauces.