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Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Did you know that coconut oil can boost brain power in adults suffering from memory disorders as serious as Alzheimer's disease, even after a single 40 ml dose?

In a 2004 study, 20 subjects with Alzheimer's disease or mild cognitive impairment (MCI) were given either emulsified fats from coconut oil - known as medium chain triglycerides or MCTs - or a control. 

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

This double-blind placebo controlled study was conducted with two study visits. During each visit, the study subjects received either emulsified MCTs or emulsified long chain triglycerides (as control).

Study subjects were asked to fast from 8 pm the night before and arrived in the morning when their blood was drawn to determine levels of the ketone body known as beta-hydroxylutyrate (beta-OHB). They then consumed their respective fats and rested quietly for 90 minutes, after which their blood was drawn again, after which a 30-minute cognitive testing session was carried out. After testing, a final blood draw was taken.

Amazingly, the researchers observed a significant rise in blood plasma levels of beta-OHB after only 90 minutes of treatment with MCTs.

Even more remarkably, cognitive testing revealed that this brief treatment led to improved performance on the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive Subscale in 4 subjects within the study group.

Coconut oil contains approximately two-thirds MCTs by volume. MCTs are unlike most fats we consume. Whereas up to 97% of dietary fats are made up of long-chain triglycerides which contain between 14 and 18 carbons, MCTs have relatively shorter chain lengths of 5 to 12 carbons - making them easier to absorb and use by the body. Not only that, when they are consumed in large enough quantities, they give rise to ketone bodies.

The best way to incorporate MCTs into your diet is replace less healthy fats such as pro-inflammatory hydrogenated soy, grape seed, peanut, and canola oil with coconut oil while cooking.

Another way is to enjoy a delicious curry with coconut milk as a base. In general it is always better to eat small amounts of therapeutic foods - in other words, it’s a good idea to consume food in such a way that medicine never becomes necessary.

Source: Fats in Coconut Oil Boost Brain Function.

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