Saturday, January 18, 2014

Benefits of coconut oil for athletes

Most health care professionals will tell you not to eat saturated fats because they are bad for your health and can cause a number of negative consequences; such as high cholesterol, obesity, heart disease and even Alzheimer's disease.  And for good reason, most saturated fats (when used in high amounts) can indeed lead to these health conditions.

It's funny to note, however, that our society today has a much higher rate of obesity, high cholesterol and Alzheimer's disease than our ancestors did (who ate lots of meat) and even those modern day primitive societies using saturated fats as a dietary staple.

Coconut oil is a medium-chain fatty acid (MCFA) and contains a naturally occurring saturated fat that has some positive health benefits.  Some of these benefits include the following:

     1.  Promotes heart health
     2.  Promotes weight loss
     3.  Supports the immune system
     4.  Supports a healthy metabolism
     5.  Supports proper functioning of the thyroid gland

So how then does coconut oil help to boost an athletes' athletic performance?  As mentioned above coconut oil is a medium-chain fatty acid.  These, unlike long-chain fatty acids which are difficult for your body to break down, are easily digested.  MCFA's are also sent directly to the liver where they are immediately converted to energy rather than being stored as fat.  This makes coconut oil an extremely efficient source of fuel for an athlete.  Coconut oil can make for a great addition to a pre-workout snack to help boost energy levels..

And because it stimulates the metabolism it helps the body more efficiently burn fat; leading to a more lean physique.  Back in the 1940's, farmers  found out about this effect by accident when they tried using inexpensive coconut oil to fatten up their livestock.  It didn't work.  Instead, coconut oil made the animals lean, active and hungry. Increased energy and endurance are other benefits to athletes as a result of eating coconut oil, due to it's thermogenesis effect of the medium chain fatty acids

Coconut oil has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, and it's lauric acid content promotes a strong immune system - necessities for any performance athlete.

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