Google “coconut oil” and you are sure to get a slew of articles about how good it is for just about everything. In fact, to date there are over 1,500 research articles which tout its benefits. But how does this superfood help those who are on a healthy breast path specifically?
Here are 6 ways coconut oil helps for Breast Cancer prevention and healing:
#1. Coconut oil is comprised of over 60% Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFAs). These include Caprylic acid, Lauric acid and Capric acid, which have proven to reduce the overall health, or “viability,” of cancer cells. In one model, this reduction was to the tune of 70% to 90%! There is also evidence to suggest that MCFAs have the ability to turn on the genes involved in cancer apoptosis;
#2 Coconut oil can reduce inflammation. The inflammatory response is one of the root causes of almost all disease, especially cancer. A recent report published in the journal International Immunopharmacology found that coconut oil given to arthritic rats reduced the expression of inflammatory genes and decreased C-Reactive Protein levels while increasing antioxidant enzymes.
#3 Coconut oil produces ketones. Tumor cells are dependent on glucose for energy, so when these water-soluble molecules are produced during digestion instead, cancer cells are not able to receive any “food” from them at all.
#4 Coconut oil heals the gut. Remember, 90 % of your immune system cells are in your small intestine so when your digestive system is healthy, your immune system will be strong as well. Coconut oil aids gut health in a few ways. First of all, the MCFAs in coconut oil can fight off bad bacteria. As an anti-fungal, coconut oil can also help ward off candida. Not only does this fungal growth contribute to inflammation, but some integrative cancer experts believe it is the very foundation of cancer tumor growth. Coconut oil consumption has also shown to improve conditions such as stomach ulcers, ulcerative colitis and pancreatitis.
#5 Coconut oil helps with Vitamins D and K absorption. Vitamins D3 and K2 together is like the “dynamic duo” for hormonal and breast health as well as immune system function. Most women I coach on the healthy breast path are seriously deficient in vitamin D. But vitamin D needs K2 in order to do its job. A simple at-home test can determine if you are D deficient.
#6 Coconut oil can balance hormones. This is mainly because of the antioxidant and hormone-balancing effects of lauric acid. In addition, a 2011 study which monitored over 1,800 women in the Philippines found that consuming coconut oil raised HDL (HDL-c) levels across the board. Past studies have supported the idea that higher HDL-c levels and lower LDL levels can have a positive effect on naturally-occurring estrogen, especially in post-menopausal women.
Don’t be afraid of saturated fat
You may be skeptical of coconut oil because it is a saturated fat. You may have heard mainstream organizations such as the American Heart Association say that cutting saturated fat out of the diet completely will help your heart. Yet for thousands of years, humans have consumed healthy sources of saturated fat. It has only been in the last sixty years that heart disease levels have exploded. A 2010 meta-analysis of close to 350,000 Californians found that there was no difference in heart attack risk between those who ate the highest amount of saturated fat and those who ate the lowest.
The type of coconut oil you buy matters
Finally, not all coconut oils are alike. Never consume refined or hydrogenated coconut oil; studies have shown that any kind of hydrogenated oil can lead to breast cancer. Instead, make sure that your coconut oil is cold-pressed, extra virgin, and non-GMO/organic.
The best news about coconut oil is how versatile it is. You can froth it in a hot beverage, slather it on steamed veggies, and even use it for stir sauteeing. You can also “drink it in” through your skin as a moisturizer or a carrier for essential oils. Because coconut oil is an anti-microbial, it is great for dental health and “oil pulling” as well. The possibilities are endless!