Energy levels

Virgin coconut oil (VCO) contains medium chain fatty acids/triglycerides (MCTs), these are an excellent source of energy for the body. They prevent low blood sugar levels, support thyroid function and also fight pathogens in the digestive tract which contribute to fatigue. Many people on low fat diets feel exhausted much of the time because their body is not getting enough fuel to maintain energy levels throughout the day. A spoon of VCO with breakfast will stabilise blood sugar release, reducing the craving for a mid morning snack and helping combat the afternoon slump.

Type II diabetes

Replacing polyunsaturated fats and trans fats in the diet with stable fats like VCO (and butter) will reduce and may reverse insulin resistance on a cellular level, enabling the cells to absorb glucose more effectively. It also slows down the release of carbohydrates into the bloodstream when taken with a meal, ensuring we feel full for longer.

Weight loss

Especially around the waist area. As mentioned above, VCO taken with a meal slows down the release of carbohydrates into the blood stream. A meal high in carbohydrates and low in good fats and proteins will enter the bloodstream quickly making it hard for the body to get all the glucose into the cells. Any extra glucose is converted to fat and stored around our middle, this is the principle reason low fat diets don’t work on a long-term basis. Low fat diets also leave the dieter feeling hungry and unsatisfied after a meal, resulting in cravings and, more often than not, indulging in unhealthy snacks. Adding a healthy fat, like VCO to a meal will increase the feeling of satisfaction and satiety, keep you full for longer and reduce the amount of glucose being stored as fat.

Skin health

VCO can not only be very beneficial in treating skin conditions like eczema and dry skin, but it can also help reduce the risk of sunburn. Many of the manufactured oils and fats consumed today (margarines, spreads, vegetable oils) are made from polyunsaturated oils, which in their natural state (as a seed/nut) are a nutritious food. However, the chemical process used to make the oils and spreads turns the oils rancid. When we eat these in abundance they make up the fatty layers under our skin, if these oils are rancid they will be more likely to react negatively to the sun and result in sunburn and skin damage. On the other hand, a stable fat like VCO will help protect the epidermis in the sunshine. It may also reduce sagging and wrinkles. VCO should also be applied topically to maximise the benefit to our skin.

Mental Health

The MCTs in VCO have the potential to help combat the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). This was discovered by a Florida physician who used coconut oil to successfully combat the effects of the disease on her husband who was 58 when he was diagnosed (she saw that the main ingredient in an experimental drug was made from MCTs). In AD the brain’s ability to utilise glucose is reduced by up to 40%. When this happens another system is activated incorporating ketone bodies, the MCTs in VCO stimulate this system, resulting in cognitive improvements. There has not been a large amount of research in this area to date, however with the staggering increase in mental health disorders including AD it would seem wise to incorporate this all round health food into your daily diet.