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Tropical Superfood and Fat Blaster?

7210-mind7Q: Is coconut oil really a “superfood” that will help reduce belly fat and improve quality of life, or is that just marketing hype from those who sell coconut oil?

A: Coconut oil is the real deal. It is abundant in a medium-chain fatty acid that appears to protect your brain, manage blood sugar and improve the energy used by the body so you lose fat.

Coconut oil doesn’t enter the cholesterol cycle, so the fat it contains won’t be deposited in fat cells. The belly-fat weight-loss claims are supported by a study conducted in Malaysia that was published in ISRN Pharmacology. After seven male subjects consumed 30 milliliters of coconut oil three times a day for a month, their waistlines were trimmed by about 1.1 inches.

Along with coconut oil, there are a few other superfoods you should consider, such as avocado, cocoa and kimchi.

Called an “anti-obesity” food by scientists, the avocado is jam-packed with nutrients and antioxidants, and although it is rich in monounsaturated fats, studies suggest that eating avocado regularly will help keep you from getting fat. If your diet is poor, the effort will be all for nothing, but if you follow a typical high-protein, low-carb diet, avocados will improve your body and health. The research is strong: A 2011 analysis of the diets of 17,567 Americans showed that those who ate more avocados had significantly lower bodyweight and waist circumference and a 50 percent lower risk of metabolic syndrome.

Cocoa, from which chocolate is derived, supports cardiovascular health and improves insulin signaling. Studies show that eating more dark chocolate is linked to a leaner physique, so opt for a chocolate that contains more than 72 percent cocoa solids—the darker the better—without added sugar. Do not eat chocolate that contains dairy, as it blocks the activity of the powerful antioxidants.

Kimchi is a fermented Korean cabbage dish that improves gut health and insulin sensitivity. A recent study showed that overweight subjects who ate 100 grams of kimchi at every meal for four weeks experienced significant fat loss and decreased bodyfat by 1.5 percent. By the end of the study their blood pressure was lower, and blood sugar control was improved.

—Charles Poliquin


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