How does coconut oil for brain health work? Let’s find out!
Coconut oil has exploded in popularity in recent years, with many people using it to cook their food or as an alternative to butter and other oils. In addition to the versatility of coconut oil in the kitchen, many people are now discovering that it has health benefits for their brain, improving memory and learning ability, as well as protecting against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. This article takes you through various ways coconut oil can boost your health, including brain health and more. Also, see Coconut Jelly,
Benefits of Coconut Oil for Brain Health
1. It may promote memory
Coconut oil enhances a better memory by promoting healthy neurons. A neuron is a fundamental unit of the brain and the nervous system. It’s a cell that helps transmit information between different brain areas and between the brain and the rest of the nervous system. Memory develops when various groups of neurons are reactivated, and for that to happen, the brain must wire an experience into neurons.
Unfortunately, creating memories can be quite challenging if your neurons are defective. Coconut oil, on the other hand, provides the energy that neurons need to function. It also fights inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which may damage the neurons.
Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are a type of fat that your body converts into ketones more easily than other fats. Ketones are used as fuel in your brain—they have actually been shown to improve synaptic plasticity, improving memory and cognitive function.
Taking 1⁄2 teaspoon of coconut oil 30 minutes before a class or lecture can help boost short-term memory, especially if you’re learning a new skill or language.
In addition, the antioxidants in coconut oil can slow memory loss, boost cognitive function, and improve your ability to learn new things.
Also, if your memory starts to slip as you age, coconut oil might be a solution. Long-term use of coconut oil may slow age-related memory loss.
2. Provides mental clarity
Studies have found that coconut oil can help keep your mind clear and alert, especially when taken in conjunction with daily exercise. The medium-chain triglycerides present in coconut oil have been shown to boost your metabolism, enabling you to burn more calories throughout the day. That, in turn, helps keep your mind sharp and focused on whatever task might be at hand.
Whether sitting through a long board meeting or staying up late finishing a project at work, coconut oil can help increase blood flow to your brain, which boosts your ability to think clearly and quickly. Just remember not to go overboard, as coconut oil can be in saturated fats. Ideally, you should not take more than two tablespoons (28) grams of coconut oil.
3. Protects against oxidative stress
Oxidative stress occurs when there are higher levels of free radicals in your body than can be neutralized by antioxidants. Free radicals cause damage to cells, which over time can lead to chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that has been shown to reduce oxidative stress in animal studies. This means it may help prevent brain degeneration and other neurological disorders associated with oxidative stress.
4. Reduces anxiety and depression
Consuming a small amount of coconut oil each day can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. The lauric acid found in coconut oil has an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral effect on both the body and mind, which helps reduce inflammation—the primary driver behind both conditions. Coconut oil also raises levels of tryptophan, an amino acid that acts as a precursor to serotonin, helping promote a happy mood while fighting off mental conditions like depression.
The lauric acid in coconut oil can also promote a happy mood. It does so by increasing the levels of dopamine in your brain. Dopamine is a feel-good hormone associated with pleasurable sensation, motor function, and increased response to stress and negative emotions.
Next time you feel anxious or depressed, try taking a spoonful of coconut oil. It’s packed with fat-burning medium-chain triglycerides that can help boost your energy levels and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
5. Protects the brain against aging
In one study, young rats were given an injection of medium-chain triglycerides and then exposed to chemicals that are known to cause brain damage in old rats. But those treated with MCTs showed no signs of brain damage. Researchers believe that MCTs may help trigger autophagy—the removal of damaged parts of cells—which appears to be less active in older brains.
6. May improve Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that affects movement. There are two main features of Parkinson’s disease: tremors and muscle rigidity (stiffness). People with Parkinson’s disease have an abnormality in their dopamine-producing cells in the brain. It’s these cells that coordinate and control muscle movement.
The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease usually develop slowly over time. The average age at which symptoms begin is 60 years old, but they can start earlier or later than that. Luckily, regular consumption of coconut oil may help prevent, slow, or improve the symptoms.
Research shows that medium-chain triglycerides can improve your nervous function, helping improve tremors, muscle pain, and constipation associated with Parkinson’s disease.
Coconut oil may also stop alpha-synuclein from accumulating in brain cells. Alpha-synuclein is a protein that’s usually elevated in patients with Parkinson’s disease.
Other Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
More than using coconut oil for brain health, including it regularly in your diet may help enhance other aspects of health and wellbeing. Having looked at what coconut oil can do to your brain, here is more on how you can benefit from including it in your diet.
1. It’s anti-bacterial
Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which effectively kills viruses, bacteria, and fungi, thereby preventing external infections. It also contains monolaurin, a compound that effectively kills pathogens more than lauric acid. Typically, coconut oil is critical in destroying Candida Albicans, which can lead to yeast infections.
In addition, it has another key component, caprylic acid, which is fungicidal. Such helps in reducing fungal infections in your body and keeps your skin healthy. Read More.
2. Stress Reduction
Pure coconut oil has antioxidant properties that are effective in stress reduction. Research indicates that coconut oil has effective characteristics that can help in ending depression in some people.
For instance, after exercise, you can involve a hot coconut oil massage to offer immediate relief on joints and knees. Still, you can apply a portion of coconut oil to the hair to eliminate mental fatigue. It also helps offer instant relief from headaches.
3. Promotes Heart Health
Coconut oil is rich in natural saturated fats. The cool thing is that these saturated fats work uniquely better than those in meat and other animal-driven products like cheese. This type of saturated fats enhances healthy cholesterol, also known as HDL, in your body. Read More.
By increasing HDL in the body, saturated fats in coconut oil assist in promoting a healthy heart, hence reducing the risk of heart disease. Researchers reported that those populations who consume coconut oil have low rates of heart disease. Read More.
4. Helps in Balancing Hormones
Hormonal imbalances in men and women come with a string of problems. The good news is that coconut oil has lauric acid, which assists in maintaining an essential balance of hormones in the body. Different studies indicate that coconut oil can be helpful to consume during menopause as it has positive effects on estrogen levels. Read More.
5. Good Skin and Hair
Coconut oil has moisturizing properties, which is a reliable component in hair makeup. It also cleanses the scalp and promotes a sunscreen effect on your hair. When you massage the coconut oil in your hair, it promotes a dandruff-free scalp. The oil nourishes your scalp and keeps it free from lice and eggs. You can use it to condition your hair and keep it smooth and shiny.
On the other hand, the fatty acids in coconut oil reduce inflammation making your skin healthy. Furthermore, it helps in the reduction of eczema symptoms.
6. Improves Oral Health and Wound Healing
Swishing coconut oil around the mouth can kill bacteria and prevent one from acquiring the periodontal disease. It is an effective method of removing mouth bacteria, thereby reducing the risk of causing your gums to acquire diseases. Experts recommend that you use it thrice a week for twenty minutes to keep your mouth healthy.
On the other hand, virgin coconut oil has powerful antioxidants that promote wound healing. They act by increasing neovascularization and fibroblast proliferation. Read More.
7. Reduces Abdominal Fats
Although coconut oil contains saturated fat, it contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are vital in reducing weight. MCTs are short-chain fatty acids that help the body burn more calories than longer-chain fatty acids.
MCTs work by converting stored fats into usable energy and are critical in the reduction of abdominal fats.
Excessive belly fat can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.
Bear in mind that coconut oil is still high in calories and can cause weight gain when consumed in excessive amounts. The key is to consume sparingly.
8. Hunger Reduction
MCTs, play a critical role in hunger-reduction. This is because the fats in coconut oil are metabolized to produce ketones which have been shown to reduce one’s appetite.
As such, they lead to reduced body weight when consumed in the long term.
9. Boosts Brain Function
Most senior citizens suffer from dementia which is a condition that reduces the ability of the brain to consume glucose. Research indicates that ketones can serve as alternative energy sources when brain cells malfunction such as in Alzheimer’s disease.
Therefore, coconut oil has MCTs that can increase ketones in the blood and help relieve Alzheimer’s symptoms.
10. Reduces Seizures
A ketogenic diet, which is mainly high in fat and low in carbs, has shown that ketones produced during fat metabolism can reduce seizures in drug-resistant epilepsy in kids.
When you reduce carb intake and increase fat intake, it increases the number of ketones in the blood. Coconut oil has the right amount of MCTs, which are crucial in reducing seizures in children with epilepsy.
11. Treats Inflammation and Arthritis
Coconut oil has high levels of antioxidants. These compounds are effective in reducing inflammation and healing arthritis. A study indicated that coconut oil harvested in medium heat could suppress inflammatory cells.
Consuming an anti-inflammatory diet is the most natural way to heal your gut and improve the overall functions of the digestive system. This diet may also slow down the signs of aging. Read More.
Coconut oil has become one of the treasured superfoods in recent years, and deservedly so—it’s excellent as a cooking oil and as an ingredient in beauty products. But not many people know that coconut oil has several benefits that are directly relevant to your brain health! It can help promote memory, enhance mental clarity, reduce depression, fight free radicals, and prevent or slow cognitive decline.
It also comes with other remarkable benefits such as improved heart health, infection prevention, anti-stress effects, healthy skin and hair, improved hormonal imbalance, anti-inflammatory properties, and weight loss effects.
However, caution is necessary that you should consume it in moderation since it contains high calories. More importantly, its benefits outweigh any downsides that come with it; hence it’s highly recommended as part of a healthy diet.
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