Coconut oil used to get a bad rap because it has saturated fat, but researchers have discovered that this type of saturated fat is comprised of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs)–most notably lauric acid–that have major health benefits.

In a nutshell, most of our fats including dairy, meat, vegetable oils and others are long-chain triglycerides (LCT) that are more difficult for the body to process. MCTs don’t need to be absorbed by the lymphatic system and are less likely to get deposited as fat, plus it seems that they allow other nutrients to absorb into our bloodstream faster.

Coconut oil is one of the only naturally occurring sources of medium-chain triglycerides, but know that they don’t make up the oil’s total composition–only about 66%. Make sure that your coconut oil is pure (non-hydrogenated), otherwise, everything below is a moot point. Also, it stays solid until it reaches a temperature of 76°F. Incorporate coconut oil into your diet now. 

So, here are 15 reasons to use coconut oil in your diet now.

1. Coconut Oil Improves Cholesterol

Coconut oil contains lauric acid, a saturated fat that is a type of medium-chain triglyceride (MCT). Lauric acid increases the good HDL cholesterol levels in the blood.

2. It Boosts Immunity

It’s full of anti-oxidants. It has antibacterial and antiviral (more on this below) properties.

3. It Helps Digestive Disorders Like IBD

There is some controversy here because diets high in fat can worsen IBD symptoms. Check with your doctor. Some claim that because the body can absorb MCTs directly into the bloodstream via your intestines, that they provide much-needed nutrients that sufferers from digestive disorders can’t normally absorb.

4. It Can Promote Weight Loss, Especially Around the Waist

Apparently, when coconut oil’s MCTs break down, these healthy fats in the liver increase metabolism (giving you more energy to work out) and positively affect sugar levels and thyroid hormones. According to a 2009 study, some women who consumed 2T of coconut oil per day for 12 weeks, lowered their abdominal fat versus women in the same study who consumed soybean oil and saw no change.

5. Use Coconut Oil As A Natural Moisturizer

My massage therapist, Robin Swan at Firebird Touch Therapy in La Jolla, uses organic coconut oil during massages. She prefers coconut oil over others, such as olive oil, because it absorbs into the skin without leaving a greasy feeling and washes out of clothing easily.

True, right? Also, when we use soap, we wash a protective MCT layer off of our skin. Applying coconut oil re-establishes this natural barrier.

6. It Helps Heal Sunburn

People across the internet swear one of the health benefits of coconut oil is that it’s a sunburn remedy, reporting major improvement after just one application. Coconut oil does provide some natural sun protection, but shouldn’t replace a higher SPF.

7. Replace Shaving Cream With Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a chemical-free, natural lubricant that allows your razor to glide over skin with ease. And, it moisturizes and heals razor nicks. Some people report not needing lotion after shaving with coconut oil. I do though. Put your coconut oil in a plastic, non-breakable container and ditch the shaving cream.

8. Treat Athlete’s Foot, Ringworm, Diaper Rash and Other Skin Conditions

The anti-fungal properties of coconut oil help treat recurrent skin conditions. People use it in combination with tea tree oil, Vitamin E, and herbs. Researchers have discovered that though coconuts grow in many humid environments where fungi thrive, the people living there who consume a lot of coconut oil do not have fungal infections in general.

9. It Helps Treat Acne

If you’re going to use it on your face, invest in high-quality coconut oil. The antimicrobial benefits of lauric acid and capric acid (the same acids found in mother’s milk) basically replenish the protective acid layer of skin and reduce inflammation. Internal consumption of coconut oil also helps acne, because it helps regulate hormones (see above) and metabolism leading to regulated sebum.

10. Use For Healing Minor Cuts And Scrapes

Apply coconut oil to cuts and scrapes as an antibacterial and healing agent. People claim their wounds heal more quickly, painlessly and with less scarring.

11. Coconut Oil Reduces Irritation From Bug Bites

Apply coconut oil after being bitten or stung for almost-immediate relief.

12. It’s Good For Wrinkle Prevention

Applying coconut oil stimulates the turnover of collagen which we all know helps prevent the appearance of wrinkles.

13. It May Reverse or Slow the Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease

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Please note that this is a hotly debated topic. It is thought that coconut can slow or even reverse the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease. The most notable example is a pediatrician in Florida, Dr. Mary Newport, who fed relatively large amounts of coconut oil to her husband, who had Alzheimer’s disease. She claims she was able to somewhat reverse and slow it.

In a nutshell, it is thought that Alzheimer’s Disease is like diabetes for the brain. Insulin issues prevent the brain from accepting glucose. Ketones are an alternative fuel to glucose which the brain will accept. And, ketones are metabolized in the liver after eating MCTs, which are ever-present in coconut oil. Watch this video.

After Dr. Newport publicized her success, others reported similar. She wrote a book, Alzheimer’s Disease: What If There Was a Cure?, that I read about after it was too late for my dad to be helped (he had early onset dementia). It supposedly helps people with Parkinson’s disease, ALS, and other dementias. This topic is so controversial that it is an off-limits discussion in my dementia support group. You can read what the Alzheimer’s Association has to say about it.

14. It Helps Manage Pneumonia Symptoms

A study presented to the 2008 American College of Chest Physicians showed that children with pneumonia who received doses of coconut oil recovered faster than children in the same study who did not.

15. Coconut Oil Is Anti-Aging

With the above health benefits of coconut oil, it seems to keep us alive longer and looking better, no?

I use coconut oil instead of butter on toast now. It’s delicious with a few drops of honey on top. I prefer it in a glass jar (oils and plastic do not mix).

How do you use coconut oil?


Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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  1. Wow these are awesome! I recently bought some coconut oil because I heard it does amazing things for your hair, but I had no idea it had all of these other uses as well. Thanks for posting!!

  2. It’s exciting to learn all the benefits of coconut oil. I have seen in used in recipes but did not know you value of adding to your skin care regimen. Great post!

  3. Pingback: My Anti-Alzheimer’s, Gluten and Dairy-Free Breakfast | Recipe
  4. My husbands sister uses it to help heal nail fungus on feet. My husbands feet are showing great improvement!

  5. I use coconut oil as a leave in conditioner in my naturally curly, very dry hair.
    I stir a spoonful into my ravioli.
    Add it to store-bought tikka masala sauce with some fresh ginger.
    Rub into my hands whatever gets on my fingers.

  6. My daughter started using this a while ago and swears by it. I had some of organic fair trade extra virgin coconut oil sitting in my cupboard and had been thinking about ways to use it in my baking. She amazed me the other evening when she popped in, spotted it then proceeded to scoop out and eat a little lump, before massaging some into her face and then more into her hair….to be honest at the time I was thinking bless her, she’s clearly had a bad day with the kids and lost it. I was just about to suggest a cup of green tea and advise her to have a lay down in my boudoir with some smelly candles and chill out music when she explained all the various health benefits, many of which you have all now confirmed in your comments. How fabulous to think we are able to use one product to care for us from the inside out and also to be able to support Fair trade. Definitely a win win!

  7. Pingback: No Bake Chocolate Coconut Cookies | Kids Recipes
  8. i have recently started using coconut oil as well.-My cousin introduced me to it. She uses it to fry eggs in the morning because you can use at high temps without it turning toxic, and its really tasty 🙂 She also makes a salad dressing by mixing coconut oil, olive oil and a bit off apple cider vinegar. It is so delicious! I`m completely hooked!

      1. it takes very little heat, normally just mixing it around in the bowl you can emulsify it with the olive oil.-it thicken up for a nice, almost creamy dressing. sometimes when its to cold in the house, or with a new jar of oil it can be harder, so i just warm it up a bit to soften. the warmth of room temp olive oil does the rest of the work 🙂

  9. It also works as a wonderful lubricant for anyone that has sensitivities “down there”. Since my partner and I have switched to it, I have had zero yeast infections and it just seems much safer and more natural to use on such private areas. I love coconut oil!

  10. However, crude coconut oil finds its applications in industrial processes like candle
    making and soap. My combination hair is a mixture of curly, sometimes unruly,
    thick and soft locks. The following homemade hair conditioners
    are made from items you’ll find in your kitchen.

  11. I use it to moisturize my skin and hair, and for cooking. It also helps my husbands Psoriasis. I love coconut oil!

  12. I honestly use it for EVERYTHING you name I use it. No joke EVERYTHING. Ive been using it since 2015 started and I cant believe the changes everywhere (EVERYWHERE)

  13. I love it on my toast and add it to my smoothies.
    I make my body butter with it and use it with my essential oils. My grand kids love their sleep cream.
    It is good for shaving and makes my face feel so soft!

  14. Is it better then olive oil for your skin? I have read olive oil has vitamin E to help with wrinkles. I am not sure if coconut oil contains vitamin E?

  15. Thank you for writing this article. I love coconut oil and use it as a moisturizer on my skin and in my coffee every morning with a little almond milk, cinnamon and Manuka honey. It’s a power house of goodness that gets my day off to a great start!

  16. Hi as anyone used coconut oil to lose weight if so how do you do it please as I’ve heard different stories

    1. Two main ways to lose weight with coconut oil I’ve personally used with good results short term, but very good long term:
      1. Replace all vegetable oils altogether for cooking with coconut oil, and even olive oil as it has a low “boiling” point and goes rancid with high temperature cooking (OK for warming food )
      2. Start taking a small quantity like a teaspoon full for a few days and then progress up. I now take 1 tablespoon in the morning , one at night and one with lunch and dinner meals if practicable.

  17. When I read the MTC oil…that’s in coconut oil helps dementia/Alzheimer . I purchased a bottle of liquid coconut oil and I’ve been taking a teaspoon everyday for over a year.
    It can’t hurt. I’m a young 56 and I feel good, look good and I wanna continue to know what time it is. What good is working on your body, hair and skin and you don’t know your family.

    1. Hi Gwen,
      I read yr comment on coconut oil with interest. I’m the same young age and outlook as you.
      As you’ve been regularly taking coconut oil, I wonder have you seen a change in your cholesterol levels? Have they lowered? Or has the good cholesterol increased and the bad decreased? I would really appreciate hearing what you’ve discovered please if you could take a moment.

      There has been so much debate as to whether coconut all is positive in this regard. As you have been regularly taking it, and are health conscious , I’m thinking that you are ideally positioned (and have probably had regular health tests) to impart some first hand experiential knowledge and results.

      I’m one person this is very important too. Trying to avoid familial health issues here of heart disease (my dad died way too young at 58).
      I am currently mostly vegetarian (with predominantly vegan leanings) trying to live healthily and mindfully to avoid a similar fate. I use very little oil generally for this reason, however very interested in knowing directly what health benefits you’ve achieved from your coconut oil intake. In this I’m assuming your coconut oil is naturally liquid due to temperature (i.e. no additives or strange processing which is of paramount importance)?

      Many thanks to you in advance for sharing your experience Gwen, or anyone who can add to this area.
      Such first hand information is so very valuable, particularly when backed up by medical results. 🙂

  18. Everybody can benefit from coconut oil in many ways, it just varies as to the individual and sometimes as to how/when used. Forget the negative people as they either just love to complain, or just use it once or twice and expect results straight away after years of abusing themselves. I have been using coconut oil for over 6 years now and rate it highly in many, many ways. I quickly grade as follows out of 10:
    Cooking:10, Salad dressing with vinegar:9, Skin moisturizer:9, Skin cuts/ abrasions:9,Sunburn:9, Itchy eyes:9, Hair:8, Shaving:8, Bedroom oil:8, Weight loss:7, Satiety:7, Coffee sweetener:6, Insect bites:6…..Finally, it works brilliantly on my dogs itchiness mixed with baking soda.

  19. It also contains sufficient amounts of vitamin K, and E. Vitamin K helps in wound healing while vitamin E works as an antioxidant that protects your skin cells from damage.

  20. For 1000’s of several years coconut has been a major component of the Pacific Islanders’ diet. The milk of the coconut is a primary ingredient used for cooking. The juice or water of the coconut is eaten as a tasty and refreshing beverage.The meat is also utilised for ingesting and cooking, and can be dried and offered for use in baking and desserts. The oil from the coconut is not only employed for cooking and frying, but for medicinal reasons as properly.It was in the 70’s and the 80’s when coconut oil acquired a undesirable rep since of its large content in saturated unwanted fat. What scientists unsuccessful to comprehend is that this examine was accomplished on partially hydrogenated coconut oil and not from its uncooked, organic and natural condition. When any normal oil is hydrogenated, its whole chemical make-up is modified, turning it into a trans excess fat. Trans fat are incredibly harmful for you and can guide to heart ailment. Virgin coconut oil that has not been hydrogenated, processed, or refined is truly a saturated unwanted fat that is very good for you.What some folks do not realize is that not all saturated fats are bad for you, particularly some that take place by natural means, this sort of as coconut oil. It is regarded a medium-chain fatty acid (MCFA) that can be very easily digested and burned off. This is not like most of the food items and oils we eat and use everyday that are made up of long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs) that our bodies can’t easily breakdown and finish up storing as fat.The oil from coconut also contains a very unusual natural fatty acid named lauric acid. It has antimicrobial houses that destroys viruses and bacteria. You can really set coconut oil on cuts and burns due to the fact not only does it eliminate germs, but it also gives a protective barrier from microorganisms and infection. Lauric acid is also identified to increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in the body, or in other words, raises the “excellent cholesterol”. This promotes a healthful heart and considerably less danger for heart disease.Another reward of coconut oil is boosting your metabolism. Since coconut oil is a medium-chain fatty acid, it can very easily be digested and rapidly turned into power. This in switch aids advertise weight reduction. It also helps assist a wholesome immune system simply because getting a increased metabolic price can velocity up the therapeutic procedure. A larger metabolic fee can also increase thyroid action, which is also a benefit to those with thyroid issues and discover it difficult to get rid of bodyweight.When utilized topically, coconut oil does miracles on the skin. The Lauric acid and its antimicrobial houses can in fact aid heal and deal with acne. It can even be manufactured into a scrub for exfoliating the encounter. It is abundant in vitamin E and can also be utilised as a moisturizer and support reverse the effects of aging and decrease wrinkles. It can also aid lessen the signs and symptoms of eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, rashes, or dry and flaky pores and skin. You can use it to take care of a dry and flaky scalp, assist handle dandruff, and take care of dry and destroyed hairThe listing genuinely could go on and on of all the fantastic outcomes coconut oil has on the human physique. It has rightly acquired its title as the “wonder oil”. Whether or not taken internally or used topically, the best gain of coconut oil is becoming in a position to seem and really feel more youthful and much healthier.

  21. People across the internet swear one of the health benefits of coconut oil is that it’s a sunburn remedy, reporting major improvement after just one application. Coconut oil does provide some natural sun protection, but shouldn’t replace a higher SPF. Thanks for sharing such beautiful information with us. I hope you will share some more information about nutrition. Please keep sharing.