How To Eat Coconut Oil

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

You can add coconut oil to your diet in many ways, such as by blending it into your coffee or herbal tea, using it as a cooking oil, baking with it, mixing it into smoothies, yogurt or oatmeal, frying with it or simply eating it with a spoon! Coconut oil is a mild oil, meaning that its flavor is far from overpowering, so it can add a subtle healthy boost to many recipes and meals. With its various vitamins and nutrients, as well as the range of healthy acids and antioxidants, many people are looking for new ways to incorporate this oil into their diet.

Aside from its uses in your diet, you can also use coconut oil in a variety of topical applications, both for your skin and hair, making it one of the most comprehensive and versatile additions to your daily or weekly health regimen! [1]

Can You Eat Coconut Oil Before Bed?

Many people suggest eating a tablespoon of coconut oil before bed to stimulate digestion and keep the metabolism on by burning fat and calories while you sleep. That being said, many people also experience an energetic boost after eating coconut oil, due to its quick conversion in the body into usable energy. There are certainly no harmful health effects of consuming coconut oil right before you go to sleep, but it will all depend on the individual, and how the body reacts to this particular practice. [2]

Try putting a small amount of coconut oil in a cup of herbal tea before going to sleep and see how your body reacts; if it improves your sleep and leaves you feeling rested in the morning, that’s great news! If not, try to get your coconut oil fix in the morning, but regardless of the time you eat this oil, always consume it on an empty stomach.

Close up of a young woman with a bottle and spoonful of coconut oil

Add coconut oil to your coffee or just have it alone with a spoon for maximum benefits. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

How to Consume Coconut Oil Orally?

As per the USDA, coconut oil contains vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. You can consume coconut oil in coffee or tea, mixed with your yogurt or oatmeal, as a basic cooking oil, in your smoothies, or simply eating it by the spoonful! The taste of coconut oil is rather mild, which makes it a versatile health food that can be applied in many different ways. Some people enjoy baking with coconut oil or blending it in with their morning smoothies. There are no “wrong” ways to eat coconut oil; it all depends on your personal preference and the easiest way for you to add it to your diet. [3] [4]

The only thing to really consider is how much coconut oil you are consuming. You don’t want to add too much of this oil, as it can have an unwanted laxative or weight gain effects, due to its various properties and components. Start with a small amount, regardless of how you choose to consume it, and then gradually increase the amount you eat once you understand how your body reacts. For most adults, it is safe to consume between 2 and 4 tablespoons per day, but start small, at about 1-2 teaspoons, and move up from there. Also, before adding this powerful oil to your diet, speak to your dietician or medical professional to ensure that it is a wise choice, given your other health conditions or concerns.

Is Eating Coconut Oil Good for Weight Loss?

Research has shown that coconut oil is able to aid weight loss by increasing the rate of metabolism, suppressing the appetite, and directly converting into energy, rather than being stored as fat. As a whole, these characteristics seem to be highly beneficial for weight loss, when an appropriate amount of coconut oil is used for these purposes. The medium-chain fatty acids found in coconut oil (capric acid, caprylic acid, and lauric acid) are processed directly in the liver and converted to usable energy.

Furthermore, the ketones released during that conversion stimulate the body’s metabolism, leading to more efficient fat burning, even in a passive state, up to 120 calories more per day. There have also been numerous studies linking medium-chain fatty acids to lower levels of adipose tissue, often in the belly, which doesn’t necessarily translate to weight loss, but can help rebalance your cholesterol levels in the right direction, meaning more HDL cholesterol (good) and less LDL cholesterol (bad). [5]

As for suppressing your appetite, the metabolic effects of medium-chain fatty acids are also believed to suppress the desire for more empty calories, providing adequate energy and a feeling of fullness, thus reducing snacking between meals and generally decreasing the body’s demand for calories throughout the day.

Side Effects of Eating Coconut Oil

Some of the side effects of eating coconut oil include weight gain, intestinal issues, cholesterol increase, and allergic reactions. However, many of these side effects occur when coconut oil is not consumed in proper amounts or by those who shouldn’t be consuming coconut oil in the first place.

Coconut oil is high in calories and fats, so consuming an excess will increase your daily calorie count and can lead to weight gain. The same is true of your cholesterol level, if the oil is consumed in large quantities, or within a diet that is not well balanced in other areas. Those suffering from obesity or high cholesterol levels may be doing more harm than good if they begin using this oil in large quantities. [6]

In terms of intestinal distress, this oil does function as a laxative, so when too much is consumed or used, it can cause diarrhea and discomfort. This is why proponents of this oil suggest starting with low doses and working up to a comfortable level where users feel the beneficial effects, without the negative side effects.

Finally, allergic reactions can occur for those who have a sensitivity to coconuts; this allergy is relatively rare, but it can occur, both when topically applied and when orally consumed. It is best to test out a small amount on your skin or in your diet, and monitor your body’s reaction, before adding significant amounts to your health regimen. Alternatively, you can speak with your doctor or allergist before using coconut oil, and they can provide guidance on whether you are a good candidate for this generally healthy substance. [7] Protection Status
About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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