One of my favorite health food staples these days is a great oily buddy called coconut oil. This oil has been like the new “it girl” of the oil scene for some time now, and in a short period of time it has found its way into the daily meals of many health conscious people around the world.
When you are the new hot thang there’s always gonna be critisism about ya – and so it has been with coconut oil as well.
The reason coconut oil has had a lot of negativity aimed at it – is the fact that it is a saturated fat. And we have been told for a looong time that saturated fats (=solid at room temp.) are bad for us. But now there has been several new studies on coconut oil that have showed its benefits on health to be very true.
Here’s a short video that really covers some top issues around coconut oil, the clip is from John Douillard’s site:
Just a few key points about fats
Fats are made of fatty acids; some are made up of short chain fatty acids (SCFA), some of the medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) and the rest are long chain fatty acids (LCFA)
The majority of all fats and oils are team members of the LCFA’s.
Okay and now onto the new scientific research: it has now been researched and proven in many studies that it is the saturated LCFAs (corn, soy, sunflower, safflower and canola oil) that present the health risks of the fats we know as the “bad fats”. Because of their size they are hard for the body to break up and as a result they are easily stored as fat and not converted into energy. Also, when cooking with LCFAs the natural antioxidants are damaged and they become toxic to the body; raising blood pressure and damaging arterial walls. So now now that the saturated long chained fatty acids are the bad guys, but that also means that not all saturated fats are bad.
Coconut oil & the fatty acids in it
Coconut oil is made of the very rare medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA). Because of the different structure of the oil (compared to the LCFAs), it is more resistant to heat – so it means, it’s good for cooking too. (the most heat stable of the oils)
This is also great news: as the fatty acids in coconut oil are smaller; it is easily digested and quickly broken down by the liver – so the acids don’ have to be stored as fat. And oh there’s more: coconut oil actually also boosts metabolism; so it helps support weight loss.
What about the cholesterol claims?
The recent studies have shown that even after years of critism about coconut oil raising cholesterol; scientists have now learned that coconut oil actually lowers the LDL’s, or bad cholesterol, and raises the HDL’s, or good cholesterol.
If you want to read more about the researches and just generally get more information about coconut oil go to Coconut Research Center‘s website.
From their site you can also read about all of the benefits of coconut oil – I will just list a few here:
– improves absoprtion of other nutrients
– is lower in calories than all other fats
– promotes loss of excess weight by increasing metabolic rate
– is utilized by the body to produce energy in preference to being stored as body fat like other dietary fats
– improves calcium and magnesium absorption and supports the development of strong bones and teeth
– supports the natural chemical balance of the skin.
– prevents wrinkles, sagging skin, and age spots
– promotes healthy looking hair and complexion
– provides protection from damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
– Is heart healthy; improves cholesterol ratio reducing risk of heart disease.
– functions as a protective antioxidant.
– helps to protect the body from harmful free radicals that promote premature aging and degenerative disease
– does not form harmful by-products when heated to normal cooking temperature like other vegetable oils do
Happynutty times with your coconuts guys! (click the pic for a yummy poprcorn recipe)
Ps. Pssst! There is also endless ways to use coconut oil for your beauty rituals. More about that later…