Coconut oil is a versatile and bone-healthy food. Today we’ll look at two scientific studies that confirm the beneficial effects of coconut oil on bone health.
We’ll also examine the difference between virgin coconut oil and regular coconut oil. Although both are similar in appearance, they don’t offer all the same health benefits.
And you’ll also get two new recipes, both of which feature coconut oil, so you can start incorporating this powerful bone-building fruit oil into your daily diet.
Coconut Oil Protects Your Bones
Two recent studies have examined the effects of virgin coconut oil (VCO) on bone loss, and they arrived at the same conclusion: VCO protects your bones against oxidation and also helps to build your bones.1,2
Both studies were conducted on ovariectomized rats, which are a standard and widely accepted model for the study of osteoporosis and human bone remodeling. In each experiment, the rats in the VCO group received a diet of “rat chow” enhanced with 8% VCO. A control group received regular rat chow. After six weeks, the scientists compared the two groups.
The first study assessed the oxidative status of the rats’ bones by measuring the index of lipid peroxidation. That index consists of the malondialdehyde concentration and the levels of endogenous antioxidant enzymes glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase in the tibia — the large bone located at the front of the leg, below the knee.
The authors found that virgin coconut oil can “prevent lipid peroxidation and increase the antioxidant enzymes in the osteoporotic rat model.” The antioxidants increased by the virgin coconut oil have been shown to reverse bone loss.1
The second study looked at the bone itself, assessing differences in bone volume and microarchitecture between the VCO group and the control.
Quoting from the study:
“To summarise our findings, virgin coconut oil effectively improved bone structure and prevented bone loss in osteoporosis animal model. The beneficial effects of VCO on bone microarchitecture may be due to the high polyphenols which exert antioxidant property. Virgin coconut oil could offer an interesting approach to prevent accelerated bone loss in osteoporosis especially in postmenopausal women.”2
Two recent studies show that virgin coconut oil improves bone structure and prevents bone loss.
Virgin Vs. Regular Coconut Oil
There are two types of coconut oil: regular and virgin. It’s important to know the difference.
Virgin coconut oil (the kind used in the research above) is extracted from the fresh milk of the coconut and is unrefined, untreated and unprocessed.
Whereas regular refined coconut oil is extracted from the dried coconut kernel, called copra. The copra is pressed to extract the oil, which is then refined, bleached and deodorized. This process involves chemicals that have a lasting impact on the makeup of the oil.
The two types look almost the same, so read the label carefully. Both contain the medium-chain fatty acids, including lauric acid, which fortifies your immune system and energy levels.3 These fats are different from the long-chain fatty acids found in animal products that can clog arteries and cause heart disease.
Virgin coconut oil contains more antioxidants than regular refined coconut oil. Antioxidants are the compounds that protect your bones from the cellular damage wrought by oxidative stress.
In the researchers own words:
“Virgin coconut oil (VCO) is obtained from fresh, mature coconut kernel without the use of heat and without undergoing refining process . This retains the important biologically active components in the oil such as antioxidant vitamins and phenolic compounds.”1
Regular coconut oil goes through a refining process that robs it of antioxidants and exposes it to chemicals. Choose VCO, preferably organic, to get the bone-building results observed in the studies described above.
Coconut Oil Offers Many Health Benefits
When you incorporate coconut oil in your diet, you get significant bone-building benefits, but there are even more reasons to add it to your shopping list.
- The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil have been shown to improve memory recall in Alzheimer’s patients.4
- A 2010 study found the oil had a positive effect on wound healing.5
- The fats in coconut oil facilitate the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, allowing you to absorb more of the nutrients in the food you eat
- Soothe dry skin by directly applying the oil to dry patches
- Coconut oil increases your ability to burn off calories from fat6
- The lauric acid in coconut oil kills harmful pathogens such as viruses, fungi, and bacteria7
- Coconut oil is a non-toxic alternative to many beauty products, from makeup remover to conditioner, to mouthwash.
You can get all of the nutritional benefits of virgin coconut oil by including it in the foods you prepare. Here are two pH-balanced, gluten-free, no-bake recipes to get you started.
- ¾ cup coconut flour
- 1 cup vanilla whey protein powder
- 2 bananas, mashed
- ½ cup almond or coconut milk
- ¼ cup virgin coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons dried cranberries or your favorite dried fruit
- Combine the whey protein powder and coconut flour in a medium bowl.
- In another medium bowl mash the bananas, and mix in the coconut milk, coconut oil, and vanilla until smooth.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until well combined. If the mixture is too dry, add a little water. Then mix in the cranberries or the dried fruit of your choice.
- Place the dough shaped into 10 bars inside a pan lined with wax paper. Freeze for at least 20 minutes and serve. It’s best to store these bars in the freezer.
No Cheese Chocolate “Cheese Cake”
- 1 cup almonds
- 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
- 1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
- 1 banana
- 1 tablespoon honey (adjust to taste)
- 1/3 cup mini dark, dairy-free chocolate chips
- For the crust, pulse the almonds and coconut oil in food processor or blender until crumbly, then press on 7-inch pan lined with parchment paper.
- For the filling, pulse all the ingredients, except the chocolate chips, until smooth. Spread the filling over the almond crust.
- Sprinkle chocolate chips on top of the filling and freeze for at least 10 minutes before serving. Store in the refrigerator.
Make Coconut Oil A Part Of Your pH-Balanced Diet
Take advantage of the coconut’s bone-healthy properties by using virgin coconut oil to enrich your pH-balanced diet. The antioxidants it adds to your bones will protect them from oxidative stress and help increase your bone density. Pick up a jar of virgin coconut oil and start fortifying your bones.
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1 Mouna Abdelrahman Abujazia, et al. “The Effects of Virgin Coconut Oil on Bone Oxidative Status in Ovariectomised Rat.” Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012; 2012: 525079. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3426286/
2 Zil Hayatullina, et al. “Virgin Coconut Oil Supplementation Prevents Bone Loss in Osteoporosis Rat Model.” Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012; 2012: 237236. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3457741/
3 Gray, P., et al. “Fish oil supplementation augments post-exercise immune function in young males.” Brain, Behavior, Immunity. November 2012. 26(8): 265-72. Web. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22902522
4 Arun Swaminathan, Gregory A. Jicha. “Nutrition and prevention of Alzheimer’s dementia.”Front Aging Neurosci. 2014; 6: 282. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4202787/
5 Nevin KG1, Rajamohan T. “Effect of topical application of virgin coconut oil on skin components and antioxidant status during dermal wound healing in young rats.” Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2010;23(6):290-7. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20523108
6 Dulloo AG1, et al. “Twenty-four-hour energy expenditure and urinary catecholamines of humans consuming low-to-moderate amounts of medium-chain triglycerides: a dose-response study in a human respiratory chamber.” Eur J Clin Nutr. 1996 Mar;50(3):152-8. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8654328
6 Jon J. Kabara, et al. “Fatty Acids and Derivatives as Antimicrobial Agents.” Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1972 Jul; 2(1): 23–28. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC444260/