Coconut Oil 101

We all know that there is no such thing as an “All-in-one” solution when it comes to our health. But it’s great when we come across a product that may address more of our needs at once to help us gain and maintain optimal health. You may find coconut oil to be a good fit. It’s a rich source that can easily be incorporated into your busy life, and may provide a wide variety of benefits to add to your health arsenal.

Did You Know?

Coconut oil has been used in many countries for centuries. Though it has grown in popularity these days, researchers in the United States have been studying its structure and benefits since the early 1920s. Coconut oil got a bad rap for a while but has come back in stride as more people become educated about it. It was once thought to be unhealthy in the U.S. during the 80’s. Several domestic food organizations launched an anti-saturated fat campaign that claimed it contributed to heart disease due to its saturated fat content, and linked it to trans fat, an unhealthy fat.

Why Did That Happen?

The claim was based on the results of a researcher who used fully hydrogenated virgin coconut oil on mice which increased the level of cholesterol. Misinformation about coconut oil spread like wild fire. The campaign was successful in minimizing the usage of imported oils. Meanwhile, domestic oils were being promoted instead of the once preferred choices of U.S. food companies—palm and coconut oil. However in 1988, N.W. Istfan of Harvard University Medical School’s Nutrition Coordinating Center reported: “For the U.S. consumer, the use of coconut oil does not increase the role of heart disease.”Scientific evidence by other researchers also demonstrated that coconut and palm oil, unlike other saturated fats, are healthy fats with many benefits.

What is the difference?

You may be thinking, “But coconut oil is a saturated fat. Isn’t that bad for you?” Yes, coconut oil has a rich saturated fat content, but it’s not an unhealthy fat like trans fat. The fatty acids have a different molecular make up. Most people are familiar with the classification of fats as you read them on a food label: saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated. Fats are also classified by the size of the molecule and the length of the carbon chain that makes up the molecule. There are 3 types of saturated fats: short, medium, and long.

  • Short fatty acids that have a carbon length of less than 6.
  • Medium chain triglycerides (MCT), also known as medium chain fatty acids that have a carbon length of 6 to 12.
  • Long chain fatty acids that have a carbon length of more than 12.

The body works longer and harder to breakdown long chain fatty acids such as margarine, animal fats, and canola oil. However, short and medium chain fatty acids such as butter and coconut oil are easier for the body to digest and convert to energy. Research implies that one of the reasons why plant-based coconut oil has such a positive effect on the body, is because it’s mostly composed of MCT and lauric acid.


Thousands of studies have been conducted over the years. Studies suggest that coconut oil and its components may provide numerous health benefits such as the ones listed below and many more:

  • Reduces inflammation
  • MCT help the body efficiently metabolize fat
  • Lowers the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
  • Reduces bad (LDL) cholesterol and increases good (HDL) cholesterol, which improves cholesterol ratio levels
  • Helps to regulate blood sugar
  • Supports thyroid function
  • Improves calcium and magnesium absorption, which aids in the development of strong teeth and bones, and protects against osteoporosis
  • Conditions and strengthens hair
  • Kills various bacteria, fungi, yeast, and viruses
  • Enhances digestion and absorption of a wide variety of nutrients, minerals, amino acids, vitamins such as A, B, D, E, and K
  • Moisturizes skin and has anti-aging properties
  • Helps to form a barrier on the skin to protect against infection when applied topically
  • Strengthens the immune system

It’s my hope that this has helped you have a better understanding of coconut oil. I encourage you to research and learn more about this terrific food source. Here are additional links to research the studies of other benefits:

Enjoy healthy living through healthy choices!


These statements are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information and these products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using these products.