Coconut oil is one of the few foods that can be classified as a “superfood.” Its unique combination of fatty acids can have positive effects on your health. This includes fat loss, better brain function and various other impressive benefits. Here are the top 10 natural health benefits of coconut oil.
1. Coconut Oil Contains Fatty Acids With Potent Medicinal Properties
Coconut oil is high in healthy saturated fats that have different effects than most other fats in your diet.
These fats can boost fat burning and provide your body and brain with quick energy. They also raise the good HDL cholesterol in your blood, which is linked to reduced heart disease risk.
Most fats in the diet are called long-chain triglycerides, but the fats in coconut oil are known as medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). What this means is that the fatty acids are shorter than most other fats.
When you eat these types of fats, they go straight to the liver, where they are used as a quick source of energy or turned into ketones.
Ketones can have powerful benefits for the brain, and are being studied as treatment for epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and other conditions.
SUMMARY:Coconut oil is high in fats called medium chain triglycerides, which are metabolized differently than most other fats. These special fats are responsible for a lot of the health benefits of coconut oil.
2. Populations That Eat a Lot of Coconut Oil Are Healthy
Coconut is an exotic food in the Western world, primarily consumed by health conscious people.
However, in some parts of the world, coconut (loaded with coconut oil) is a dietary staple that people have thrived on for many generations.
The best example of such a population is the Tokelauans, which live in the South Pacific.
They used to eat over 60% of their calories from coconuts. When studied, they were found to be in excellent health, with very low rates of heart disease.
Another example of a population that ate a lot of coconut and remained in excellent health is the Kitavans.
SUMMARY:Several populations around the world have thrived for multiple generations eating massive amounts of coconut.
3. Coconut Oil Can Increase Fat Burning
Obesity is one of the biggest health problems in the world.
While some people think obesity is only a matter of calories, others (myself included) believe that the sources of those calories are important too.
It is a fact that different foods affect our bodies and hormones in different ways. In this regard, a calorie is not a calorie.
The medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil can increase how many calories you burn compared to the same amount of calories from longer chain fats.
One study found that 15-30 grams of MCTs per day increased 24 hour energy expenditure by 5%, totaling about 120 calories per day.
SUMMARY:The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil have been shown to increase calories burned over 24 hours by as much as 5%.
4. Coconut Oil Can Kill Harmful Microorganisms
The 12-carbon lauric acid makes up about 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil.
When lauric acid is digested, it also forms a substance called monolaurin.
Both lauric acid and monolaurin can kill harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses and fungi.
For example, these substances have been shown to help kill the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus (a very dangerous pathogen) and the yeast Candida albicans, a common source of yeast infections in humans.
SUMMARY:The fatty acids in coconut oil can kill harmful pathogens, including bacteria, viruses and fungi. This could potentially help to prevent infections.
5. Coconut Oil Can Reduce Your Hunger, Helping You Eat Less
One interesting feature of the fatty acids in coconut oil is that they can reduce your hunger.
This may be related to the way the fats are metabolized, because ketones can have an appetite reducing effect.
In one study, varying amounts of medium and long chain triglycerides were fed to 6 healthy men.
The men eating the most MCTs ate 256 fewer calories per day, on average.
Another study in 14 healthy men discovered that those who ate the most MCTs at breakfast ate fewer calories at lunch.
These studies were small and only done for short periods of time. If this effect were to persist over the long term, it could help lead to reduced body weight over a period of several years.
SUMMARY:The fatty acids in coconut oil can significantly reduce appetite, which may lead to reduced body weight over the long term.
6. The Fatty Acids in Coconuts May Reduce Seizures
A so-called ketogenic (very low carb, very high fat) diet is currently being studied to treat various disorders.
The best known therapeutic application of this diet is treating drug-resistant epilepsy in children.
This diet involves eating very few carbohydrates and large amounts of fat, leading to greatly increased concentrations of ketones in the blood.
For some reason, the diet dramatically reduces the rate of seizures in epileptic children, even those who haven’t had success with multiple different types of drugs.
Because the fatty acids in coconut oil get shipped to the liver and turned into ketones, they are often used in epileptic patients to induce ketosis while allowing for a bit more carbs in the diet.
SUMMARY:The MCTs in coconut oil can increase blood concentration of ketone bodies, which can help reduce seizures in epileptic children.
7. Coconut Oil Can Raise The Good HDL Cholesterol
Coconut oil contains natural saturated fats that increase the good HDL cholesterol in your body. They may also help turn the bad LDL cholesterol into a less harmful form.
By increasing HDL, many experts believe that coconut oil could be good for heart health compared to many other fats.
In one study in 40 women, coconut oil reduced total and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL compared to soybean oil.
Another study in 116 patients showed that a dietary program that included coconut oil raised levels of the good HDL cholesterol.
SUMMARY:A few studies have shown that coconut oil can raise blood levels of HDL cholesterol, which is linked to improved metabolic health and a lower risk of heart disease.
8. Coconut Oil Can Protect Your Skin, Hair and Dental Health
Coconut oil has many uses that have nothing to do with eating it.
Many people are using it for cosmetic purposes and to improve the health and appearance of their skin and hair.
Studies on individuals with dry skin show that coconut oil can improve the moisture content of the skin. It can also reduce symptoms of eczema.
Coconut oil can also be protective against hair damage and one study shows effectiveness as a weak sunscreen, blocking about 20% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays
Another application is using it like mouthwash in a process called oil pulling, which can kill some of the harmful bacteria in the mouth, improve dental health and reduce bad breath.
SUMMARY:Coconut oil can also be applied topically, with studies showing it to be effective as a skin moisturizer and protecting against hair damage.
9. The Fatty Acids in Coconut Oil Can Boost Brain Function in Alzheimer’s Patients
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia worldwide and occurs primarily in elderly individuals.
In Alzheimer’s patients, there appears to be a reduced ability to use glucose for energy in certain parts of the brain.
Researchers have speculated that ketones can provide an alternative energy source for these malfunctioning brain cells and reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
In one 2006 study, consumption of medium chain triglycerides led to improvement in brain function in patients with milder forms of Alzheimer’s.
However, keep in mind that research is still early and there is no evidence to suggest that coconut oil itself helps with Alzheimer’s disease.
SUMMARY:Preliminary studies suggest that medium-chain triglycerides can increase blood levels of ketones, supplying energy for the brain cells of Alzheimer’s patients and relieving symptoms.
10. Coconut Oil Can Help You Lose Fat, Especially The Harmful Abdominal Fat
Given that coconut oil can reduce appetite and increase fat burning, it makes sense that it can also help you lose weight.
Coconut oil appears to be especially effective at reducing belly fat, which lodges in the abdominal cavity and around organs.
This is the most dangerous fat of all and is highly associated with many chronic Western diseases.
Waist circumference is easily measured and is a great marker for the amount of fat in the abdominal cavity.
In a study of 40 women with abdominal obesity, supplementing with 30 mL (2 tablespoons) of coconut oil per day led to a significant reduction in both BMI and waist circumference over a period of 12 weeks.
Another study in 20 obese males noted a reduction in waist circumference of 1.1 inches (2.86 cm) after 4 weeks of 30 mL (2 tablespoons) of coconut oil per day.
Coconut oil is still high in calories so you shouldn’t add a ton of it to your diet. But replacing some of your other cooking fats with coconut oil could have a small weight loss benefit.
6 Helpful Tips for Living Your Life with Depression
There is an increased awareness regarding mental health these days. Because of that increased awareness, people who have mental health issues suffer from less stigma now. Still, there are a lot of misconceptions going on about mental health.
One of the most common and at the same time most misunderstood mental health problems is depression. People equate it with sadness. While intense feelings of sadness and hopelessness are really part of depression, it is not limited to that.
The good news is that there are things that you can do to help deal with depression. These are the simple steps that you can take which will help you in dealing with depression.
Tip #1: Create Your Support Network
For some people, this means building a stronger and better relationship with their family. Unfortunately, there are those suffering from depression who do not have families to support them.
If you don’t have a family to support you, then you can join a community that you can find support from.
Tip #2: Cut Down on Stress
Stress causes your body to produce cortisol. This hormone helps your body to deal with the cause of the stress. But if this keeps up for a long time, it will take a huge toll on your body and make your depression even worse. This is why you should use proven techniques for cutting down on your stress.
Tip #3: Have a Sleep Routine
According to researchers, around 80% of people who suffer from depression have problems with sleeping as well. There are several reasons for this connection. You might feel too tired that you feel as if you cannot sleep, or you have a hard time getting out of bed because you feel too tired.
Try to do something about your sleeping problem because that is one way of dealing with your depression. Build a sleep routine that you can do before you go to bed and after you wake up each morning. The routine can help you sleep better.
Tip #4: Have a Better Diet
There is a clear link between diet and mental health. So, your mental condition might be helped if you switch to a healthier diet and eating habits. Go for foods that are rich in brain-essential nutrients. You should aim to eat more foods with zinc, for example, because zinc deficiency can increase the symptoms of depression.
Tip #5: Keep Yourself Busy Don’t Procrastinate
Depression can make you feel tired all the time, preventing you from doing the things you need to accomplish. One way that you can combat depression is by not procrastinating. Just do the things that you can immediately.
Tip #6: Take care of Your Chores
Make sure that you take care of all your chores. Depression can make it difficult for you to do all the chores that you need. You may miss out on paying the bills or doing the dishes. Don’t let that happen because missed chores can add to your problems and make your depression even worse.
These useful tips can help deal with depression. Just keep in mind that depression is a serious mental health problem. To increase your chances of overcoming it, you need to seek help from a mental health professional. No matter how determined you are, you will have a hard time if you try to beat depression on your own.
5 Ways to Deal with Stress
Stress is a natural response of the body. It is used to deal with threats in a quick and effective way.
Although stress is a natural and helpful response of the body, there are times when it can be harmful. When a person is under too much stress, it can be unhealthy.
Symptoms of Stress
So, what are the symptoms of stress that you should be on the lookout for? There are actually a lot, but these are the most common ones that you should be aware of:
- You become easily agitated.
- You feel that you are losing control.
- Having low self-esteem and feeling bad about yourself in general.
- Constant headaches.
- Upset stomach including loose bowel movement.
- Sleeping problems, including insomnia.
You may experience some cognitive issues because of stress. For example, you may experience constant forgetfulness, and you’re constantly worried.
5 Ways to Deal with Stress
Here are 5 important facts about stress that should help you to deal with it:
- Maintain a Work and Life Balance
What is the main cause of your stress? Is it because of your work? It’s important for you to maintain a healthy balance between your work and your life. One of the ways you can achieve that is by reducing the amount of time you spend working. You should do other things that you actually enjoy. Spend time with your family and do the things you are passionate about.
- Exercise Regularly
One of the things that you need to include in your daily life is exercise. On top of making you physically healthy, exercise can also help to make you feel good. Exercise can improve blood circulation, which is instrumental in flushing out the stress hormones in your body.
- Limit Your Drinking
One of the side effects of stress is drinking too much alcohol. Some people turn to alcoholic drinks in order to deal with the stress that they are feeling. While it can temporarily relieve stress, drinking too much alcohol can cause long-term health problems. It can also lead to becoming dependent on alcohol.
- Connect with People Who Support You
Don’t underestimate the power of human connection. Having people who love you and care about can be a powerful means of countering the effects of stress. Tell your friends and family about your struggle and tell them how they can help you.
This might be easier said than done for some people. If you don’t have friends and family, try to make new connections. Find people who have the same interests as you.
- Practice Meditation
Meditation has been a time-proven technique for easing a troubled mind. There are different meditation techniques, so try to find one that you can do regularly. The important thing about meditation is for you to become consistent in its practice. That’s the only way you can feel its stress-relieving effect.
These are just five tips that you can use for dealing with stress. As you can see, all of these are simple ideas that you can do right away. You don’t really have to put up with the stress that you are feeling right now.
5 Tips for Coping with Mid-Life Crisis
Some belittle the idea of a mid-life crisis, but this is a real condition. People do suffer from it, mostly men.
Mid-life is the period from 30 to 70 years old, although the core is 40 to 60 years old. Unfortunately, there is little research on this period and even less on mid-life crisis. That is the reason why there are so many misconceptions regarding this condition.
The Mid-Life Crisis
So, what is the mid-life crisis?
There is no lack of depiction of mid-life crisis in movies, TV shows, and books. Many times the depiction of this condition has been humorous. It has been used for jokes, showing middle-aged men dating much younger women, buying sports cars, and doing other things that do not make sense.
It’s a period characterized by reflection, regrets, and changes. Experts know more about the mid-life crisis now, and one way they are trying to enlighten people about this condition is by introducing a new term to refer to it. Instead of calling it a crisis, they now term it as a transition, a mid-life transition.
Mental health experts say that transition is more appropriate because while it may involve some negative things like depression, it also offers potential for personal growth. It’s important to recognize when the transition is turning into depression because professional help is needed.
Life Circumstances That Lead to a Mid-Life Crisis
Many life situations can lead to a mid-life transition. These include:
- Doubts about one’s career and achievements.
- Questions regarding relationships.
- Doubts about one’s overall purpose in life.
- Concerns about growing old and retiring and changes in the family structure.
These concerns can all be addressed, and all the questions. It might seem like it’s easier said than done, but there are ways that you can turn these questions and worries into opportunities for growth.
Here are tips that you can use to cope with your mid-life transition:
- Question the “shoulds” in your life. A midlife crisis is fueled by questions about one’s choices in life. “I should be happily married by now.” “I should have several children by now.” Sit down and try to think about those “shoulds” that are fueling your worries. Most of the time, you don’t really believe in the external pressures forced on you.
- Find something that you are passionate about. Many of those who undergo a midlife crisis feel a general lack of passion about the things that they are doing. Maybe you should look for something that really interests you and throw yourself into that.
- Start a journal so you can explain how you feel. Usually, a mid-life crisis can be fueled by not knowing exactly what’s wrong. Keeping a journal can help you explore your feelings.
- Start developing a self-care habit. Try to look better each day and go for things that would pamper yourself. Those small things can make you feel better about yourself and help you see yourself in a different light.
- People who go through a mid-life crisis usually feel that they are alone and that others don’t and cannot understand what they are going through. This is a misconception because, more often than not, friends and family are more than willing to offer support and understanding. You will just have to reach out.
Just like with any other period of life, mid-life can be a chance for growth and development. It may take some effort to see things that way, but it will be worth it.
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