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Benefit of Coconut Oil for Runners

November 18, 2018

Benefit of Coconut Oil for Runners

Benefit of Coconut Oil for Runners

Coconut oil has received a fair amount of hype in recent years, and for good reason.  This so-called “superfood” has been recommended for everything from weight loss to skin disorders.  The oil, which is derived directly from coconuts, contains a high amount of saturated fat.  However, this fat is composed primarily of medium chain fatty acids which are known to impart an impressive number of benefits.  The benefits of coconut oil for runners are discussed below.  

Fast Fuel
Medium chain fatty acids (also called medium chain triglycerides) are readily metabolized by the body.  Therefore, coconut oil improves metabolism and provides an immediate energy boost, without the subsequent energy crash caused by sugar or caffeine.  Coconut oil can be spread on toast, stirred into coffee, or added to a pre-run smoothie for long-lasting endurance during your next run. 

Immune System Enhancement
The medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil are comprised of lauric, palitic, myristic, oleic, and capric acids, among others.  These acids are high in polyphenols, which are the antioxidants that a runner’s immune system needs in order to reverse the oxidative stress caused by repetitive pounding of pavement.  In addition, coconut oil has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties that can help keep runners healthy during cold and flu season (or during taper!). 

Anti-Chafe Cream and Skin Healer
Coconut oil is a common ingredient in many skin care products because of its natural skin-boosting and lubrication properties.  This oil can be liberally applied to areas that commonly chafe without fear of reactions from additional fragrances or ingredients.  Additionally, the healing properties of coconut oil’s medium chain fatty acids make this oil a natural remedy for broken skin caused by falls, sun burns, or chafing. 

If you are a runner, you are familiar with the feeling of never-ending hunger.  Coconut oil is satiating, meaning it keeps you feeling fuller, longer.  Even though the fats in coconut oil are rapidly metabolized for energy, they still stay with you longer than carbohydrates.  Energy metabolism will be enhanced long enough to keep hunger at bay through medium – to – long runs. 

How Much Coconut Oil Should Runners Consume?
Just because coconut oil is healthy does not give runners a free pass to consume as much as they please.  Coconut oil should not be consumed in quantities more than 2 – 3 tablespoons per day, depending on each individual’s caloric and nutritional needs.  Suggested uses are as a replacement for butter or lard in baked goods, for roasting or sautéing vegetables, or as a flavorful mix-in for yogurt, oatmeal, or smoothies. 

What Type of Coconut Oil Should Runners Buy?
Not all coconut oils are created equally.  To reap the full health benefits, runners should purchase coconut oil that is unrefined, extra-virgin, organic, and cold-pressed.  Look for oil that is not hydrogenated and contains no additional ingredients. 


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