You put in on your toast, mix it in your smoothies, use it as lip balm, and if you’re following the latest coffee craze, you even add it to your cup of joe to make it "bulletproof."
We are talking about coconut oil.
Even though the research on coconut oil is still in the preliminary stages, there have been some positive links between its use and several health benefits. According to WebMd, coconut oil has been associated with a lower risk of heart attack, it may support weight loss, and may increase good cholesterol.
Applying coconut oil to dry skin can also enhance skin moisture, and even help with psoriasis management. Furthermore, coconut oil can withstand the heat, making it a better cooking option.
What Makes Coconut Oil Different?
Coconut oil is made of 90 percent saturated fat, yet according to the Huffington Post, half of virgin coconut oil’s saturated fat is actually lauric acid, a medium-chain triglyceride that has a number of health promoting properties.
Medium-chain triglycerides found in coconut oil are more easily digested and converted to energy. This means that it could be a better source of quick energy, especially for athletes.
However, due to its high saturated fat content, coconut oil could also be problematic for long-term heart health, according to Harvard nutrition professor Dr. Walter C. Willet, as quoted on the Huffington Post.
Coconut Oil and Alzheimer’s Disease
Recently, there have been some claims that coconut oil could be used as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. But could this exotic oil really help protect our brain power?
The answer is: Maybe. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, there is currently not enough scientific evidence to back up these claims.
According to the Huffington Post, the theory is that the nerve cells in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients are unable to use glucose to produce energy, causing them to become deprived of nourishment. When that is the case, coconut oil — due to its content of medium-chain triglycerides — might act as an alternative energy source and provide nerve cells with adequate energy to maintain their functioning.