Coconut oil is wholesome and healthy in many ways. The most delightful part is the lauric acid content. This amazing compound is rare in nature, except in mother’s milk. It’s the stuff that strengthens and protects newborns. That means — you guessed it — coconut oil also works to boost the immune system, aid in mineral absorption, and has antimicrobial properties that help fight off bacteria and illness. A pure, good quality coconut oil usually contains approximately 50% lauric acid.
Coconut Oil and Mother’s Milk (Pin It!)
Coconut Oil’s Lauric Acid Benefits
Lauric acid is a fatty acid found in coconut oil and in mother’s milk. It has a wide range of health benefits for the baby:
It is antimicrobial and helps to protect the baby from bacteria and viruses until the baby’s own immune system develops fully. Babies who have been breastfed are better protected against viruses and bacteria than babies who are not nursed, and they also develop a stronger immune system because of the immunity-boosting qualities in breast milk. Most infant formulas contain coconut oil because it is so rich in lauric acid.
The antimicrobial properties in lauric acid also help to keep the baby’s digestive system healthy. The lauric acid fights bacteria and parasites that can affect the digestive system in a baby – and in adults. Coconut oil also helps the body to absorb nutrients from food.
Coconut oil is highly nutritious and it has many health benefits that are similar to the health benefits of breast milk:
- It helps the absorption of minerals and fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, D, E and K vitamins
- It boosts the immune system and protects the body against bacteria, viruses and parasites
- It is a tonic for the whole body: it boosts the metabolism, the body’s healing ability and its defenses against illnesses
- It is a rich source of medium chain fatty acids, and its MCFA structure is close to that of breast milk.
The healthy fats (MCFAs) in coconut oil are also easy to digest, and the body converts them to energy better than many other types of fatty acids found in vegetable oils.
Coconut Oil for Breastfeeding Mothers
Breastfeeding mothers can take coconut oil daily to boost the levels of lauric acid in their milk.
- Studies have found that breastfeeding women who regularly take coconut oil (or eat coconut-based products) have more lauric acid in their milk than women who do not use coconut oil.
Pregnant women can take coconut oil daily during the pregnancy, too. The lauric acid will be stored in the body fat, and it will be present in the breast milk when time time of nursing comes. You can try eating pure oil, or taking organic coconut oil softgels like these. Pregnant women and anyone else should consult their physician before altering their diet or supplementation.
Lauric acid has no official recommended daily allowance, but a good general suggestion for adults and for growing children 10-20 g every day. You can get lauric acid from coconut milk or dried coconut, but coconut oil is by far the most concentrated source: a tablespoon of coconut oil can contain as much as 7 g of lauric acid. 3 tablespoons of coconut oil a day helps to boost immunity, to protect you against viruses and bacteria, to stimulate the metabolism and to improve the skin and the hair. Remember to start slow and build up to 2-3 tablespoons a day over time for adults. Coconut oil and breast milk have similarities that make it clear it’s a beneficial substance from nature. (Where to buy coconut oil now.)