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Coconut Oil: A Hidden Treasure for Runners?

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Nutrition and fitness trends come and go—like the notion of running streaks—and some of those trends deliver more controversy than others. One of those trends is that of coconut oil for health and beauty purposes, and for good reason. A number of sources insist that there are health benefits to be had in daily uses of this product—but in limited amounts, like perhaps a coffee flavoring.  But the notion that it’s, in fact, a saturated fat can make its application an questionable subject. In the end though, it isn’t necessarily your typical saturated fat because it’s what’s referred to as a medium-chain triglyceride, and in contrast to other saturated fats, that particular variety can help lower blood cholesterol levels.

It’s an odd scenario, and there’s likely room for further exploration and research in regard to the very long-term effects of coconut oil. At the current moment in this trend though, it’s evident that there are a number of beneficial aspects from the product for those who choose to use it in small portions, even if its commercial price is a bit on the high side. These benefits can be tied to runners, from large-scale reasons to much smaller details, like many other dietary choices and recipes . At the very least then, it’s worth exploring the advantages that can come your way should you decide to take part in the trend.

As mentioned earlier, coconut oil has been credited with the ability to assist in dealing with high cholesterol levels, which is very obviously a good thing since high cholesterol levels can lead to things like strokes, heart failure, dementia, and kidney failure. This detail is wonderful for people in general, and it’s a noteworthy benefit specifically for anyone who is involved with a high-exertion exercise routine—like running. If you’re going to get your heart pumping on the treadmill or on a running trail, make sure that heart is in good enough condition to be able to handle the work. Since sources claim that coconut oil is a very small addition to your diet that can assist in heart health, it’s a method to achieve that wellness!

Another detail worth mentioning about coconut oil—and medium-chain triglycerides in general—is that they also help with creating energy since they’re “used by the body as energy immediately.” For someone partaking in a tiring workout regimen like running, this trait is something that merits consideration since the more energy you have, the more you can push yourself while you run. The same source also reports that coconut oil can help with sugar regulation, which would also lead to increased energy, and that it can help your thyroid health—which can, again, increase your energy levels. For a runner, having three different angles where your energy might be boosted is a big deal!

Coconut oil has also been linked to increased wellness within the immune system since it contains lauric acid and antioxidants that increase your body’s ability to stay healthy. Because running can lead to a weakening your immune system due to the stress involved with longer runs (that stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing!), this is a strong encouragement in favor of adding coconut oil to your daily dietary plans. Beyond the notion that those longer runs can at least temporarily lower the effectiveness of your immune system, keeping that system strong can help with your running since when you’re healthy, you’re more able to run. Life itself adds things to your plate to make running more difficult, so being able to have some kind of a handle on this one hindrance to exercise is a good avenue. The more colds and stomach viruses you can avoid, after all, the more opportunity you might have to head outside and tend to your running.

With a similar twist, coconut oil has even been linked to better digestion. Essentially then, not only can coconut oil keep you from getting sick before a run, but it can also prevent stomach issues that some runners might experience from the exertion of the continued exercise. Altogether, this means that before, during, and after your run, coconut oil can assist in keeping you healthy. That’s not a bad takeaway from such a small contribution to your daily meals or habits!

Beyond these larger scale benefits of coconut oil though, there are other—smaller—reasons to add it to your day-to-day routine. For instance, one source reports that coconut oil can be quite filling and keep you feeling fuller, longer.  Something as simple as this detail could increase the level of enjoyment that you have on a run since it’s hard to fully enjoy other things when you’re hungry! Additionally, it isn’t unreasonable to assume that too much hunger would lead to a premature end of a run because you feel weak or decide to give up and go eat. Combined then, these two concepts of what happens when you are hungry on a run provide evidence that coconut oil can give you a more enjoyable and longer exercise experience by keeping hunger at bay—both being things that could benefit you in the short-term and long-term of running.

A different dimension of coconut oil’s use is that you don’t have to eat it to get positive effects from it. For instance, if you find that running leaves your skin dry or your lips chapped, the product can be used as a moisturizer to combat that dryness. Specifically, your feet could benefit from the use of coconut oil as a means to tend to the stress of a run post-workout. In this regard, even if you’re unsure about ingesting the product for the saturated fat quality, you can still employ it in your running routine for recuperation and comfort.

Whether or not you decide to make the addition of coconut oil into your day-to-day routine, it’s still amazing to think of how many positive results can stem from such a simple thing. Just a couple of tablespoons of this product, it seems, and your running could be more enjoyable, more productive, and less hazardous. Tempting?

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