Many benefits are claimed for the coconut oil, more than 100 in one book. Websites endorse it for the wellness of the mind, body and soul. A lot of the claims are anecdotal and not based on scientific studies. Here is a brief summary, writes Dr. Raghavendra Rao. –#RaghavendraRao #community @Siliconeer #Siliconeer #health #IsCoconutOilGoodforYou #CoconutOil

Coconut Oil and Heart Health: Coconut oil contains mainly saturated fat with medium chain triglycerides (MCT). Eating this fat increases High Density Lipoprotein (HDL), which is good cholesterol, and it is considered to protect against heart attacks and strokes. However, consumption of coconut oil raises the Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL), a bad cholesterol, as well.

If both good and bad cholesterols simultaneously increase, is it beneficial? There is no clear answer. People in Sri Lanka and Polynesia consume large quantities of coconut oil and seem to have good heart health. But genetic makeup, daily physical activity and eating other food items such as, fish and nuts may influence heart health.

One tablespoon of coconut oil contains 13 grams of saturated fat. This is the maximum daily amount of fat recommended by American Heart Association. So when using coconut oil restrain from eating other fatty foods.

Coconut Oil for Alzheimer’s disease and Seizure Control: Dr. Mary Newport in 2011, claimed that giving coconut oil to her husband suffering from Alzheimer’s disease curtailed the progress of the disease. Diseased brain cannot use glucose efficiently. Coconut oil gets converted to ketones which could be utilized by the brain. But there are no peer-reviewed articles to support Dr. Newport’s claim.

A low carbohydrate and high fat diet is called “ketogenic diet.” It is tried in people with refractory seizure disorder to control the seizures. Generally, butter, heavy whipping cream, mayonnaise and oil (e.g. canola or olive) are used to prepare the diet. Coconut oil also can be used. The liver converts the fat to ketones. Ketones are utilized by the brain and the seizures are controlled better.

Weight control with Coconut Oil: Coconut oil contains MCTs which are metabolized differently than other fats, using more calories to burn the fats in the body resulting in weight loss. One tablespoon of coconut oil has 120 calories. I feel, consuming such a high calorie food to lose weight is not wise. Eat less and exercise more is my mantra to lose weight.

Coconut oil for Hair and Skin: Coconut oil forms a protective shield and helps to keep the moisture in when applied to the skin. It is useful for people with dry skin and is good for chapped lips.

Coconut oil has antioxidants, which is useful for good health. However, fruits and vegetables have them minus the fat.

Overall coconut oil is beneficial, just a tablespoon a day.