Coconut oil is a staple in my pantry and something I consume regularly. I have to admit however that when I was first introduced to coconut oil I was hesitant as to whether I should use it: it just didn’t look healthy being hard and white in the jar (it was winter time when my friend gave me a jar). I needn’t have been concerned as you will discover why below.
Is coconut oil good for you?
In a word: Yes!
There are mixed viewpoints as to whether coconut oil is healthy for you: the negative reports being largely based on coconut oil being high in saturated fat. Whilst some saturated fats are not good for your cholesterol profile, it’s the unique fatty acid content of Medium Chain Triglycerides and Lauric acid found in coconut oil that gives it its health benefits and makes it far healthier for you than unsaturated, trans fats which are found in processed foods such a biscuits and pastries.
1 Source of energy
Whilst coconut oil is high in saturated fat (about 90%) it consists almost entirely of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs ) (also known as Medium Chain Fatty Acids – MCFAs) so when consumed, goes straight from your digestive tract to your liver providing energy. MCTs are smaller than the Long Chain Triglycerides (LCTs) (also known as Long Chain Fatty Acids – LCFA’s) found in vegetable oils so are more easily processed by the liver and unlike carbohydrates, have no insulin spike.
2 Protects your body from infection
Again due to unique fatty acid content of coconut oil, the compounds of Lauric acid and monolaurin help your immune system protect you against infection by killing bacteria, viruses and fungi.
3 Helps you lose weight
The MCTs in coconut oil are easily digested so help to increase your energy consumption giving you an energy boost when eaten. Unlike the LCTs in some vegetable and seed oils that are difficult for your body to break down so are more readily stored as fat in your body, the MCTs in coconut oil help you to burn more of your existing body fat helping you to lose weight. Apart from adding a lovely flavour to your food, coconut oil also increases your feeling of being satisfied so you are less likely to keep eating.
4 Best oil to cook with
Due to the fatty acids coconut oil contains it remains stable at high temperatures and hence is highly resistant to oxidising at high heat so is ideal for high heat cooking methods. Other common vegetable oils such as soy, corn, canola, safflower and sunflower, are high in omega-6 so when heated, oxidise to forming trans fats and produce toxic chemicals that are harmful to your overall health.
Using coconut oil
Readily available now in health food stores, fruit shops and supermarkets, the best coconut oil to purchase is raw, cold pressed, virgin oil in glass containers. Liquid in summer months and solid in cold months, coconut oil can be added to smoothies, desserts, cakes, as well as used for frying and roasting. (I love the flavours of vegetables roasted in coconut oil).
If your coconut oil has solidified and your recipe requires a liquid serve, simple place the required amount in a small glass bowl or jar then sit that in a larger container of hot water: very quickly your solid oil will become liquid and ready to use in your recipe.
Until next time, wishing you a day of love, laughter, happiness and healthy coconut oil!
PS: Find out in my next blog which fruits are the most healing for your body. 🙂