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Botanically Speaking

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Virgin Coconut Oil BenefitsLately, there has been a lot of health buzz about coconuts, coconut milk, coconut water, and  especially, coconut oil. 

But when there is so much hype over something, it is prudent to find out how much truth is contained in all those glowing reports.

Well, in the case of virgin coconut oil, it turns out that most of the "hype" is amazingly true!

You have probably heard or read that the health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, maintaining normal cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism. But did you know that coconut oil also supports healthy kidneys, the heart, normal blood pressure, normal blood sugar, oral health and bone strength? 

If that were not enough, coconut oil inhibits HIV, cancer, candida, fungus and kills lipid encapsulated viruses as well!

How Can Coconut Oil Be So Healthy? 

The health benefits of coconut oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid (an important component of human breast milk), capric acid, caprylic acid, and its soothing antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, and antibacterial properties.

Does this sound too good to be true? Virgin coconut oil has been attributed the following health benefits, too:

  • Supports Thyroid gland health.
  • Kills viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, SARS, and AIDS.
  • Kills bacteria that cause stomach ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum disease and cavities, pneumonia, and gonorrhea.
  • Kills fungi and yeasts that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete's foot, thrush, diaper rash, and other infections.
  • Expels or kills tapeworms, lice, and giardia.
  • Provides a nutritious source of quick energy.
  • Boosts energy and endurance, enhancing physical and athletic performance.
  • Improves digestion and absorption of other nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
  • Improves insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose.
  • Relieves stress on pancreas and enzyme systems of the body.
  • Reduces symptoms associated with pancreatitis.
  • Helps relieve symptoms and reduce health risks associated with diabetes.
  • Reduces problems associated with malabsorption syndrome and cystic fibrosis.
  • Improves calcium and magnesium absorption and supports the development of strong bones and teeth.
  • Helps protect against osteoporosis.
  • Helps relieve symptoms associated with gallbladder disease.
  • Relieves symptoms associated with Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and stomach ulcers.
  • Improves digestion and bowel function.
  • Relieves pain and irritation caused by hemorrhoids.
  • Reduces inflammation.
  • Supports tissue healing and repair.
  • Supports and aids immune system function.
  • Helps protect the body from breast, colon, and other cancers.
  • Is heart healthy; improves cholesterol ratio reducing risk of heart disease.
  • Protects arteries from injury that causes atherosclerosis and thus protects against heart disease.
  • Helps prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay.
  • Functions as a protective antioxidant.
  • Helps to protect the body from harmful free radicals that promote premature aging and degenerative disease.
  • Does not deplete the body's antioxidant reserves like other oils do.
  • Improves utilization of essential fatty acids and protects them from oxidation.
  • Helps relieve symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Relieves symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (prostate enlargement).
  • Reduces epileptic seizures.
  • Helps protect against kidney disease and bladder infections.
  • Dissolves kidney stones.
  • Helps prevent liver disease.
  • Is lower in calories than all other fats.
  • Supports thyroid function.
  • Promotes weight loss by increasing metabolic rate.
  • Is utilized by the body to produce energy in preference to being stored as body fat like other dietary fats.
  • Helps prevent obesity and overweight problems.
  • Applied topically helps to form a chemical barrier on the skin to ward of infection.
  • Reduces symptoms associated the psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.
  • Supports the natural chemical balance of the skin.
  • Softens skin and helps relieve dryness and flaking.
  • Prevents wrinkles, sagging skin, and age spots.
  • Promotes healthy looking hair and complexion.
  • Provides protection from damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
  • Helps control dandruff.
  • Does not form harmful by-products when heated to normal cooking temperature like other vegetable oils do.
  • Has no harmful or discomforting side effects.
  • Is completely non-toxic to humans.

References:  Bergesson, G. et al. “In vitro killing of Candida albicans by fatty acids and monoglycerides.” Antimicrobe Agents Chemother 2001. Nov;45(11):3209-12   

Enig, MG PhD. “Coconut: In Support of Good Health in the 21 Century.” Presented at the Asian Pacific Coconut Community’s 36 Session, 1999.   

Enig, MG PhD. “Health and Nutritional Benefits from Coconut Oil:  An Important Functional Food for the 21 Century” Presented at the AVOC Lauric Oils Symposium, Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam, April 25, 1996.   

Enig, MG PhD. “The Tragic Legacy of CSPI” Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A Price Foundation, Fall 2003.   

Enig, MG PhD. “Trans Fatty Acids in the Food Supply: A Comprehensive Report Covering 60 Years of Research” 2 Edition, 1995, Enig Associates, Inc., Silver Spring, MD. pp 4-8.   

FDA website:   

Kabara, JJ. “Health Oils from the Tree of Life” (Nutritional and Health Aspects of Coconut Oil). Indian Coconut Journal 2000;31(8):2-8.   

Kaunitz, HJ. “Medium chain triglycerides (MCT) in aging and arteriosclerosis.” Journal of Environmental Pathology, Toxicology and Oncology. 1986 Mar-Apr;6(3-4):115-21.   

Prior, IA. et al. “Cholesterol, coconuts, and diet on Polynesian atolls:  a natural experiment:  the Pukapuka and Tokelau island studies.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1981 Aug;34(8):1552-61.   

Sircar, S. U Kansra Department of Medicine, Safdarjang Hospital, New Delhi “Choice of cooking oils—myths and realities.” Journal Indian Medical Association. 1998 Oct;96(10):304-7.   

Stender, S. et al.  “Denmark is the first country to forbid the use of industrially produced fatty acids” Ugeskr Laeger, 2004 Jan 5;166(1-2):29-32.   

Thampan, PK. “Facts and Fallacies about Coconut Oil,” Asian and Pacific Coconut Community, Jakarta, 1994.

Whew! (Obviously, virgin coconut oil is one of the healthiest foods on earth.)  Next time I'll write about how to easily add virgin coconut oil to your healthy diet. 

Do you have a favorite coconut recipe or experience you'd like to share? 

22 Comments to Health Benefits of Coconut Oil:

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roxylean on Thursday, April 19, 2012 5:33 AM
Never seen any blog containing so much reference. It's surely very help full.
Reply to comment
Maria Blanco on Friday, April 20, 2012 10:22 AM
Hi, Roxylean. I'm glad you found the article helpful. As far as references go, anything written by Dr. Mary Enig is particularly useful. She is a world renowned expert on lipids (fats & oils) and has written some very interesting pieces on coconut oil, in particular.

Phenocal on Thursday, April 19, 2012 11:42 PM
I was not aware that coconut oil has so many benefits. Thanks a lot for this great share.It is really very useful.
Reply to comment
Maria Blanco on Friday, April 20, 2012 10:18 AM
Hi, Phenocal! I'm so glad that you found the coconut oil post useful and I hope that you will stop in again as the site continues to grow. :)

instaflex on Friday, April 27, 2012 4:51 AM
In medical science natural oil has all ways played a vital a role.
Reply to comment

Dany Rudder on Monday, September 17, 2012 1:47 AM
Wow... Excellent head up on Coconut oil! I'm totally astonished to read the benefit of coconut oil. Really, it is crucial input for us. Thanks for the educative write up!
Reply to comment

vicki on Tuesday, October 09, 2012 8:36 AM
What an excellent resource for healthy living! I love your blog and will return often. I have been using organic coconut oil for a couple of years for personal skin care. It is also the best natural lubricant I've ever found. After reading that Polynesians used it in this way for more than a century, I found comfort in trying something so natural (and it smells so good) for the health of our skin.
Reply to comment
Maria Blanco on Tuesday, October 09, 2012 8:52 AM
Thank-you, Vicki! I'm so glad that you've enjoyed your visit and I do hope that you'll be coming back. You're right--coconut oil is impossible to beat for healthy skincare and so much more. If you're interested in learning how it does about a million more amazing things, you might want to check out my book that is due out in April, The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Coconut Oil Diet.

Sanjuanita Howes on Saturday, November 24, 2012 9:13 AM
Really! I have never heard this type of information from anyone. Your writings contain lots of helpful sides of coconut oil. Thanks for serving informative words! :)
Reply to comment

restylane injections perth on Tuesday, January 01, 2013 11:55 PM
You most definitely have made this blog into something that’s eye opening and important. You clearly know so much about the subject, you have covered so many bases.
Reply to comment

Gene Akey on Saturday, January 05, 2013 3:02 AM
That is really interesting issue that is the benefits of Coconut Oil. I have no previous idea about Coconut Oil. Reading this post I knew how to help protect liver disease, gum disease, kidney disease, degenerative disease and more benefits. I really appreciate the health information.
Reply to comment

Anonymous on Monday, May 06, 2013 11:43 AM
Pleased to learn some different views of coconut oil using! It's an interesting oil prospect indeed and I truly glad to learn possible ways to coconut oil to better care in human body. Thanks. benefits of coconut oil
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Dentist in Houston Texas on Wednesday, August 21, 2013 6:09 AM
Coconut oil is also used in a old technique called Oil pulling, it helps improve dental health. It involves swishing coconut oil around your mouth to kill bacteria and prevent plaque
Reply to comment

Mushrooms for health on Monday, August 26, 2013 5:46 AM
Coconut oil is the most nutrient dense part of the coconut.It is a wonderful way to increase the amount of healthy fats in your diet
Reply to comment

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