Ingredient Digest: Coconut Oil
There has been a lot of controversy surrounding this superfood, so we hope to clear up the confusion around this fat and excite you to start incorporating it in your diet. So what makes coconut oil so great? Well coconut oil has been used in Ayruveda for thousands of years. Ayruveda is similar to Chinese medicine but used in India and known as the science of life.
Unlike other fats, coconut oil is high in medium-chain fatty acids that help us to lose weight, lower cholesterol, improve diabetic conditions and reduce the risk of heart disease. Coconut oil has a completely different effect then long chain fatty acids found in meat and vegetable oils. Medium chain fatty acids once consumed are broken down and used as immediate energy rather than being stored as fat or converted into triglycerides. This is why coconut oil is a great Superfood for athletes to use because once an endurance athlete goes through their glycogen stores they have a second source of energy which is from the coconut oil.
1. Coconut oil speeds up metabolism allowing the body to drop excess weight and toxins.
2. Coconut oil is high in lauric and capryllic acid which is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial, so they are beneficial for the immune system. I’ve heard of people putting a little bit in tea to help them fight colds. These components of coconut oil target harmful bacteria but leave friendly bacteria alone, which help balance the flora in the digestive system (similar to probiotics). It has also been shown to fight Candida or yeast overgrowth.
3. Coconut oil keeps skin looking young and radiant. As a topical application, it is useful for restoring luster hair, making it an ideal conditioner and moisturizer
4. Coconut oil is an excellent choice for cooking, because the oil is stable enough to resist heat-induced damage. Oils such as olive oil, canola oil or safflower oil are actually the worst type of fat for cooking. At high temperatures they oxidize, which basically means they become toxic.
5. Coconut oil potentiates omega 3 fatty acids making them more absorbable and readily available for the body.
Coconut oil has a fantastic flavor, so it’s easy to use in place of any fats currently used in just about any recipe. It’s a great substitute for everything from butter and margarine, to olive and vegetable oils.
What Kind to Buy:
So what kind of coconut oil should you purchase? Be sure not to buy coconut oil that has been hydrogenated. This destroys the beneficial attributes of coconut oil and makes it high in dangerous trans-fatty acids. The best kind of coconut oil is organic virgin coconut oil, which is closest to its natural state and will provide the most health benefits. You can use it as you would olive oil.
In the 1940’s, farmers tried to use coconut oil to fatten up their animals, only to have their plan backfire. They ended up with lean, active cattle with increased appetites!