10 Scientific Facts About Coconut Oil, +25 Everyday Uses

Last updated March 1st, 2021

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Coconut oil is one of a kind…

Unfortunately, it was once considered bad for the heart because of its high concentrations of saturated fat.

Boy were they wrong…

Its unique composition of fatty acids helps with brain functioning, preventing certain diseases, losing fat, and more.

Thankfully, the health properties are becoming more widely known, and even grocery stores are beginning to sell the organic, unrefined kind.

1. Coconut oil helps burn fat by increasing energy output.

It’s no secret that obesity is one of the biggest problems in the world.  While coconut oil does contain fat, it’s not the same fat that is found in a stick of butter.

It contains medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) that the body processes differently, and replacing the current oils and fats you use with it will help with weight loss.

What the science says: The medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil increase energy expenditure compared to the same amount of calories from longer chain fats (1, 2).

One study found that 15-30 grams of MCTs per day increased 24-hour energy expenditure by 5%, totaling about 130 calories per day (3).

So the body actually burns more calories by consuming coconut oil!

2. The unique fatty acids and saturated fat in coconut oil will keep you healthy.

For a long time, saturated fat was wrongly pegged as the food responsible for clogged arteries and heart disease.  This myth began in 1977 despite having never been proven and became a cornerstone in dietary recommendations.

However, current research has shown saturated fat to be associated with stronger bones, improved liver health, and improved brain functioning.

What the science says: New data is showing that saturated fats are harmless. Many massive studies that include hundreds of thousands of people prove that the whole “artery-clogging” idea was a myth (4).

The point is: you have nothing to fear when consuming coconut oil and foods high in saturated fat. These foods were wrongly blamed for problems caused by sugar and insulin.

3. Societies that eat lots of coconuts are among the healthiest people on the planet.

green coconuts

Coconuts are considered a foreign concept in most western cultures; however, there are societies that have been consuming foods heavy in coconuts for many years.

Not only do these cultures consume over 50% of their diet in coconuts, but they are also considered some of healthiest groups of people in the world. They do not have the diseases known to the western world and are in excellent health. These people thrive from eating massive amounts of coconuts.

What the science says: The best example of such a population is the Tokelauans, who live in the South Pacific. They eat over 60% of their calories in coconuts and are the biggest consumers of saturated fat in the world.  They have no evidence of heart disease (5).

Another example of a population that eats a lot of coconuts and remains in excellent health is the Kitavans (6)

4. Coconut oil will curb your hunger, helping you eat less naturally.

Considering a detox and finding yourself hungry? Another astonishing fact about coconut oil is that it helps fight hunger cravings.

The medium chain triglycerides seem to have another profound effect on the human body, causing people who consume them to be significantly less hungry. This helps people eat less and naturally lose weight in a healthy and sustainable manner.

What the studies say: In one study, varying amounts of medium and long-chain triglycerides were fed to healthy men.

The men eating the most MCTs ate 256 fewer calories per day, on average (7).

Another study in 14 healthy men showed that those who ate the most MCTs at breakfast ate significantly fewer calories at lunch (8).

5. Coconut oil can help stave off infections by stopping bacteria, fungi, and viruses in their tracks.

inside of a coconut

Sick of getting sick? There is a large amount of lauric acid found in the fatty acids of coconut oil. When it is consumed and digested, the lauric acid travels through the body’s various systems and helps the body fight off bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

It’s a good idea to consume coconut oil when you’re sick or have an infection for these reasons.

What the facts say: Lauric acid can kill harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses and fungi (9).

It has been shown to kill the bacteria, Staphylococcus Aureus (a very dangerous pathogen), and the yeast, Candida Albicans, a common source of yeast infections in humans (10, 11).

6. Coconut oil helps improve blood cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease.

As stated above, coconut oil is loaded with saturated fats that have been wrongly victimized by the media.

Consuming these saturated fats can raise good cholesterol and reduce the risk of developing heart disease. Since these diseases are so prevalent in the world, it’s safe to say that we should all be eating more coconut oil.

What the facts say: Saturated fats raise HDL (the good) cholesterol and lower the LDL (the bad) cholesterol (12, 13).

In one study in 40 women, coconut oil reduced total and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL compared to soybean oil (14).

There are also rat studies showing that coconut oil reduces triglycerides, total and LDL cholesterol, increases HDL and improves blood coagulation factors and antioxidant status (15).

7. Coconut oil will improve skin and hair quality.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil has a variety of benefits listed at the end of this article, but the 2 most effective uses are for skin and hair quality.

Coconut oil does not have to be consumed to reap all of its benefits, making it one of the most versatile foods on the planet.

What the fact say: Studies on individuals with dry skin show that coconut oil improves the moisture and lipid content of the skin (16).

Coconut oil is protective against hair damage, and one study shows that it can even be used as light sunscreen, blocking about 20% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays (17, 18).

Another application is using it like mouthwash in a process called oil pulling, which can kill harmful bacteria in the mouth, improve dental health, and reduce bad breath (19, 20, 21).

8. Coconut oil can reduce seizures from the ketones it produces.

If you suffer from seizures or know someone who does, this information can be very useful.

The ketogenic diet (very low carb and very high fat) is well-known for its effects on treating epilepsy. This is because the diet forces the body to burn ketones for energy instead of carbohydrates.

Because of the fatty acid composition of coconut oil, the body is able to produce more ketones to help prevent seizures.

What the facts say: The MCT oils get shipped to the liver and turned into ketone bodies. They are often used in epileptic patients to induce ketosis while allowing for a bit more carbs in the diet (22, 23).

9. Coconut oil can improve brain function in Alzheimer’s patients.

open green coconuts with milk

The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, and it affects older individuals worldwide.

In patients, there is a reduced ability to use glucose in certain parts of the brain. Basically, the energy created through the foods one consumes is not getting to the brain.

What the facts say: Ketone bodies can supply energy for the brain and can provide an alternative energy source (other than glucose) and reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s (24).

In one 2006 study, the consumption of MCTs led to an immediate improvement in brain function in patients with milder forms of Alzheimer’s (25).

Other studies also support these findings, and MCTs are being intensively studied as potential therapeutic agents in Alzheimer’s disease (26, 27).

10. Helps reduce the most dangerous fat on the body.

The fat around the abdomen is the most dangerous fat because it is stored in the abdominal cavity and around many of the major organs.

This type of fat is highly correlated with many diseases and the danger of premature death.

It can help you reduce this type of fat and subsequently reduce the chance of developing these diseases.  This is another excellent reason weight loss programs should have coconut oil in them.

What the facts say:  In a study of 40 women with abdominal obesity, supplementing with 30 mL (1 ounce) of coconut oil per day led to a significant reduction in both BMI and waist circumference in a period of 12 weeks (28).

Another study in 20 obese males noted a reduction in waist circumference of 2.86 cm (1.1 inches) after 4 weeks of 30 mL (1 ounce) of coconut oil per day (29).

Obviously, incorporating coconut oil into the diet can have dramatic impacts on health, but there are also other uses for this fantastic superfood.

Top 25 Everday Uses for Coconut Oil

Coffee Creamer – Replace high-calorie creamer like milk and sugar with a bit of coconut oil. Just make sure the coffee is hot enough to melt the oil.

Conditioner – Use occasionally on hair for deep conditioning to help restore and prevent breakage. For best results, leave it in for 5 min to an hour, and wash it out with shampoo afterward. Then condition with a normal conditioner.

Skin Moisturizer – As discussed earlier, coconut oil is an amazing moisturizer. Coconut oil delivers a refreshing, healing burst of moisture that penetrates the skin and works to truly heal it.

Treat cold sores – It will help inhibit the sore’s assembly and prevent further spreading. While it’s not a cure for herpes, you should apply it 2-3 times daily for best effects.

Makeup remover – Make-up removers can be harsh and contain toxins detox programs avoid. Scoop some onto your fingertips, and rub it in a circular motion. Rinse with water afterward to remove traces of makeup, and pat your face dry.

Massage oil – Rather than use a heavy lotion with chemicals, coconut oil is a better solution. Its sweet smell can also relax the body and make for a very pleasant experience.

Nail and cuticle treatment – Cuticles and nails get worn down with usage over time. Rub over the cuticles and nails to smooth out flaws and encourage healthy, natural growth.

Diaper cream – Baby got an irritated bum? The antibacterial and anti-fungal properties from the lauric acid makes it a great alternative to store-bought diaper creams. Just rub it on as you normally would with other creams.

Shaving cream – Shaving cream can be a pain when it runs off in the shower or sink, but water does not rub off oils. That’s why it’s a great solution for your legs, face, or anywhere you need to shave. It’s also a natural moisturizer that will leave the skin feeling soft afterward.

Rash soother – Since coconut oil is an anti-inflammatory, it can be used in these areas to help minimize the swelling and soothe the irritated skin.

Popcorn topping – Cook homemade popcorn in the oil or warm it and drizzle it over the popcorn when it has finished popping. This is a delicious and light way to get in more coconut oil to the diet.

Bags under eyes – Coconut oil can also help with those pesky dark circles that form under your eyes in the morning. Just rub a small amount under your eyes the night before to reduce puffiness and bags in the morning.

Wood polish – Most wood polishes are filled with synthetic chemicals that only work for a short period of time. Coconut oil will soak into the wood and give it a healthy shine for longer.

Mouthwash/Pulling – Bacteria forms in the mouth over time and can cause bad breath and plaque buildup. A great solution is using coconut pulling to help kill it off. Simply take a little coconut oil and swish it around in your mouth for 5-10 minutes. This will freshen up your breath and get rid of the bacteria in the mouth.

Prevent stretch marks – If you’re building muscle or pregnant, this is a good way to prevent stretch marks. Simply rub it into the skin on the sensitive areas most likely to stretch to help prevent marks.

Give your dog a healthy shine – Feed 1-2 teaspoons daily to your dog to help with the dog’s coat.

Fights Acne – While it doesn’t prevent acne, it can be rubbed onto blemishes to help prevent overgrowth. Only use a small amount on and around the problem area to get the antibacterial benefits.

Get rid of soap scum – Soap is alkaline, and most oils are acidic. Apply a thin layer of oil onto the soap scum, and let it sit for 15 minutes before wiping away.

Remove chewing gum – Chewing gum can be incredibly difficult to get out of the carpet, but coconut oil can help. Simply apply it to the area, let it sit for 2-5 minutes, and use a cloth to wipe it away.

SPF lip balm – As mentioned earlier, coconut oil has a light amount of UVA protection (20%). Keep those lips looking kissable with a light amount of coconut oil when needed.

Butter Replacement – Coconut oil makes for a great butter replacement in recipes. Most people sub it at a 1:1 ratio to start or do an 80% coconut oil 20% water mixture. Play around with it to find what works best for you.

Aromatherapy – Dab coconut oil onto your temples and back of your neck when feeling anxious or stressed.

Sore throat solution – If you need to ease a sore throat, this is a wonderful solution. Simply add coconut oil to warm water or tea and drink up. It’s delicious and provides a nice coat over your throat, especially if consumed before falling asleep.

Personal lubricant – Yep, coconut oil does that too. While it’s not compatible with latex and does not work with condoms, it’s a great alternative to chemical-laden, store-bought lubricants.

Stops squeaks – Got a squeaky door hinge or cabinet? Apply coconut oil directly to the hinges to stop the squeaking.

If you liked this article on the health benefits of coconut oil and are ready to build some long-term healthy eating habits, our 21-Day Fat Loss Challenge is the best place to start!

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Leave a comment below if you enjoyed this article on the astonishing facts about coconut oil and 25 everyday uses or have any questions!

Cathy Dean

Hey y’all. My name is Cathy, a former junk-food loving carb-aholic turned nutrition and fitness enthusiast. Here at Avocadu, we believe that a nutrient-rich diet is EVERYTHING when it comes to your health and well-being. Our motto is “Healthy from the Inside Out”! As a Certified Keto Coach, I specialize in teaching others how to lose weight through healthy, low-carb eating.

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8 replies on “10 Scientific Facts About Coconut Oil, +25 Everyday Uses”

Love your site and all the good info. Love the way you break it down for the simple folk…LOL. It is so much easier reading without the hoopla in the middle. Thank You! AWESOME JOB

Hey, y’all! I’m Cathy!

I’m SO excited you’re here! I’m super passionate about nutrition, and specialize in teaching others how to lose weight through healthy, low-carb eating. Here at Avocadu, we believe in quality over quantity and that diet is EVERYTHING when it comes to your health and well-being. In short, we believe in being healthy from the inside out. Learn more

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