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9 Fascinating Ways Coconut Could Improve Your Health

Ever since childhood I have loved the flavor of coconut. In the mornings I put coconut milk in my coffee and my dairy-allergic son uses it for cereal or in protein shakes. Now I am beginning to use coconut oil more often in cooking, preferring it over other alternatives.

The more research I read about the health benefits of coconut, the more convinced I am that it should become, in moderation, a more steady part of my family’s dietary intake. Here are some of the known health benefits of coconut:

  • The Health Benefits of Coconut 1 of 10
    The Amazing Health Benefits of Coconut
  • Coconut oil may fight tooth decay 2 of 10
    Coconut oil may fight tooth decay

    If your family has a history of cavities and tooth decay, you might want to consider adding coconut oil in moderation to your diet. Researchers found that coconut oil that had been treated with enzymes in a process similar to digestion is effective in fighting against strains of Streptococcus bacteria that cause tooth decay.

    Source: Society for General Microbiology

  • Coconut oil may fight food bacteria 3 of 10
    Coconut oil may fight food bacteria

    Many of the foods we buy at the supermarket contain ingredients that are added in order to keep microorganisms from attaching to and even rotting our food. Monolaurin, an extract from coconut oil that is known for its antimicrobial properties, could soon be commonly used as a natural preservative to protect against these microorganisms. Researchers tested it on bacterial strains and found it effective on its own against some strains of bacteria and effective when combined with other antimicrobial agents against other strains of bacteria.

    Source: Institute of Food Technologists

  • Coconut oil may reduce cholesterol levels 4 of 10
    Coconut oil may reduce cholesterol levels

    It is thought that coconut oil can help normalize cholesterol levels in two ways. It contains a saturated fat called lauric acid, known to increase the "good cholesterol" in the body. Coconut oil may also help restore normal thyroid function, which is helpful in maintaining those good cholesterol levels.

    Source: Boston University School of Medicine

  • Coconut oil may help slow Alzheimer’s disease 5 of 10
    Coconut oil may help slow Alzheimer's disease

    It is estimated that 14 million Americans will have Alzheimer's disease by the middle of this century unless a cure or prevention is found, a sharp increase over the approximately 4 million Americans who currently have this degenerative disease. Researchers have speculated that boosting levels of a protein called Apo-A might delay the dementia associated with Alzheimer's disease. A similar protein known as Apolipoprotein E, has also linked with Alzheimer's and is being studied by researchers.

    Some foods, including coconut oil, are known to stimulate cells to make more Apo-A. So if you have a family history of Alzheimer's disease or dementia, you may want to consider adding coconut oil in moderation to your diet.

    Source: American Chemical Society, Neurobial Aging

  • Coconut water replenishes the body after exercise 6 of 10
    Coconut water replenishes the body after exercise

    Coconut water has five times more potassium than most commercial sports drinks and is high in antioxidants. It replenishes nutrients that your body loses during a workout and can help you get rid of muscle cramping. Coconut water has lower sodium than commercial sports drinks, and researchers caution that those who engage in extremely vigorous exercise, such as marathon running in warmer weather, may need more than coconut water to replenish the sodium lost during their workout.

    Source: American Chemical Society

  • Coconut oil may help heal wounds 7 of 10
    Coconut oil may help heal wounds

    It has long been thought that coconut, particularly virgin coconut oil, has healing properties with the ability to be an anti-inflammatory and analgesic. One study from India found that virgin coconut oil can be effective against chronic inflammation, while another out of Thailand found that coconut can be helpful in healing burn wounds.

    Source: Department of Pharmacology, KMC International Centre India, McCormick Faculty of Nursing, Payap University, Chiang Mai, Thailand

  • Coconut milk may help heal ulcers 8 of 10
    Coconut milk may heal ulcers

    Know anyone who suffers from stomach ulcers? Ulcers can be particularly painful, especially for people who get them repeatedly. Coconut milk may help. A study done on mice found that coconut milk reduced ulcer size by 56% and was more effective than coconut water.

    Source: College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Abia State University, Nigeria

  • Coconut may deter head lice 9 of 10
    Coconut may deter head lice

    Parents, rejoice! When combined with anise to make a spray, coconut is effective in reducing head lice. This may be a worthy remedy particularly for those seeking a natural alternative to head lice products made with harmful chemicals. It certainly will smell better! Who knows, it may even be a worthy deterrent. And please accept our apologies if we are making you itchy.

    Click here to learn about 5 ways that coconut oil may prevent hair damage.

    Source: Medical Entomology Centre, Insect Research & Development Limited, UK

  • Coconut oil may help reduce belly fat 10 of 10
    Coconut oil may help reduce belly fat

    Interesting, isn't it, that eating fat could help reduce fat? A study out of Brazil found that consuming two tablespoons of coconut oil a day may help reduce unhealthy belly fat. I am not even going to pretend to understand how this is possible, but if it works I would be more than happy to give it a try.

    Source: Universidade Federal de Alagoas, Boston University School of Medicine

 

Please note that this post is intended to share information and ideas, as well as to create conversation. Please consult a medical professional before making changes to your lifestyle.

Jessica also recently wrote:
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Read more from Jessica at FoundtheMarbles.com.  And be sure to follow her on Twitter too!

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