Does Coconut Oil Improve the Immune System?

We are always looking for ways to boost health. One way we have been hearing a lot about recently is cold-pressed virgin coconut oil. According to the hype, swishing the oil around your mouth will kill bacteria and adding it to your diet will aid your immune system. We are taking a look at the science behind the claims to see if there is good reason to add it into a healthy daily routine.

Whenever we start with one of these blogs, we first consider our sources. We didn’t hear about this from any of our newsfeeds. It was from friends. That’s not necessarily a bad sign. Friends have tipped us off to a lot of excellent health information in the past! But it makes us a little warier. When a friend can tell you about their results, you can trust the info more, but when it’s a case of “I’ve heard,” we always take a moment to recheck our sources. Once we started doing research, we kept hitting roadblocks.

Pretty much every site we could find extolling the virtues of coconut as a cure-all was selling it. Which makes us immediately say that it needs a closer look. That doesn’t mean it isn’t healthy; it’s rich in healthy fats, has been linked to heart health and might aid weight by reducing hunger. Studies have found it also helps levels of good cholesterol. But, the miracle claims seem unlikely.

Coconut oil is a rich source of lauric acid and vitamin E. Lauric acid makes up 50 percent of the fatty acids in coconut oil and can kill bacteria, fungi and viruses. As a mouthwash, there has been some evidence that it has benefits and kills harmful bacteria. But, there has been no proof that it does anything to boost your protection against any infection.

As a food, coconut oil can certainly be a part of an excellent diet that promotes health and wellness. Coconut oil can be used for baking or frying as it has a high smoke point. It has a longer shelf life than some fats, which is a nice plus. It’s not a go-to oil for our team as so many other cooking oils have so many proven benefits that we prefer. We generally stick to what is known and has been shown to work. But, if you want to add more variety, it’s not a bad option to try. However, as an immunity-boosting secret weapon, the evidence simply isn’t there yet. The bottom line is, coconut oil is not the wonder product many are claiming it to be.  

Banner image: Dana Tentis via Pexels
April 21, 2021
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