Fats sure have gotten a bad rap, but the truth is that you need healthy fats in order to have extraordinary health. Of course, you want to avoid unhealthy fats such as trans fats, but you definitely want to make sure your diet contains good fats such as medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), the kinds of fats found in coconut oil. Why? MCFAs can bolster brain health, support a healthy weight, provide instant energy for exercising and more as well as other health benefits.†
For example, brain aging was delayed in mice that were placed on a high-fat diet in the form of medium-chain fatty acids from coconut oil, according to a study conducted by the Center for Healthy Aging at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and the National Institute of Health.
Mice aren’t the only ones with brain aging, of course. Humans encounter it as well as a part of the normal aging process and sometimes due to disorders. In fact, the brain losing some of its intellectual capacity can occur in addition to defects in the nervous systems as people age. Among those defects are some more notable ones, including the increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
We have a cellular system in our bodies that help to repair damage to DNA leading to brain aging, but this repair function also breaks down as we age. The damage to DNA is linked to Alzheimer’s disease and Cockayne syndrome, which is a premature aging disorder that typically results in death of the person by age 10 to 12.
This study used the aforementioned mouse model of Cockayne syndrome to further research these defects to the DNA repair system. Professor Vilhelm Bohr, lead author of the study from the Center for Healthy Aging, University of Copenhagen and the National Institute of Health, says this about the research team’s findings, “The study is good news for children with Cockayne syndrome, because we do not currently have an effective treatment. Our study suggests that a high-fat diet can postpone [the] aging process. A diet high in fat also seems to postpone the aging of the brain. The findings, therefore, potentially imply that patients with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease in the long term may benefit from the new knowledge.”
Morten Scheibye-Knudsen, from the National Institute of Health, explains the study results further, saying, “In cells from children with Cockayne syndrome, we have previously demonstrated that aging is a result of the cell repair mechanism being constantly active. It eats into the resources and causes the cell to age very quickly. We, therefore, hope that a diet with a high content of coconut oil or similar fats will have a beneficial effect, because the brain cells are given extra fuel and thus the strength to repair the damage."
As if that astounding benefit for brain health weren’t enough, MCFAs are also known for their positive effects on body fat, energy expenditure, appetite suppression (satiety) and weight management.† In fact, studies find that intake of MCFAs leads to increased energy expenditure and decreased food intake, which, together, can lead to prevention of body weight gain as well as lower body mass, including body fat.†
As far as energy expenditure, MCFAs are more rapidly absorbed by the body and are more quickly burned as fuel—used immediately by muscles and organs, leading to an accelerated metabolic conversion of energy instead of being stored as fat.† That makes MCFAs a good choice for those requiring increased energy in times such as post-surgery or during growth spurts, for enhanced athletic performance (as is gaining in popularity among athletes), or for the aging who may have naturally occurring decreased energy production.†
MCFAs may also offer a three-pronged approach to weight management, since they have lower calorie content than other fats, are minimally stored in the body as fat and can boost metabolism to burn even more calories.† MCFAs also promote the development of ketones, a cornerstone of effective weight-loss diets as well as what the brain uses for energy—which is another reason why MCFAs may be helpful for aging brains.†
Add that to their cardiovascular and immune benefits,† and they are one amazing form of fatty acids found in coconut oil that you and your health shouldn’t do without.
Make sure your coconut oil is Certified USDA Organic virgin coconut oil, though, and not conventional, partially hydrogenated or processed. You want it as pure as possible.
†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.