For years we’ve been told that any saturated fat should be avoided, but more recently, you may have heard that coconut oil is TREMENDOUSLY healthy.
And it is a saturated fat! One that is in fact extremely beneficial in many ways.
These types of saturated fats are even required for some vitamin absorption, for example, they are used in the conversion of carotene to vitamin A, and for mineral absorption.
They are NOT the processed saturated fats we know of as unhealthy.
Medium Chain Fatty Acids
Coconut oil is in fact comprised of 62% Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFAs), which are not found in any other saturated fat. And, MCFAs are only found in as much quantity in mothers’ milk.
MCFAs require less energy to digest, and fewer enzymes, so are very easily absorbed by the body, thereby improving digestion. Some of the beneficial MCFAs that include are Caproic Acid, Caprylic Acid, Capric Acid and Lauric Acid and Myristic Acid.
MCFAs are easily digested and readily cross cell membranes. This means that they are immediately converted into energy by your liver instead of being stored as fat.
These MCFAs are closely matched to the composition of fats in our cells, and help deliver oxygen across cell membranes. Therefore, they are excellent immune system supporters, and crucial to our health.
Anti-microbial and Great Raw or Cooked
Half of the fat in coconut oil is a rare fat called lauric acid. Your body turns lauric acid into monolaurin, an anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-protozoan agent. This monolaurin can actually kill viruses like measles, influenza, and even herpes.
And this is only the tip of the iceberg.
I knew for a long time about the health benefits of coconut oil (and am still learning), but until recently did not cook with it because I figured everything would taste like coconuts!
This would be fine for Asian cuisine, but what about everything else?
In fact, no taste of coconut remains after it is heated.
Not only that, it is the ONLY oils that does not break down into a similar chemical structure to trans fats as other oils do (especially olive oil) when heated. It is the only oil that is stable enough to withstand the heat of cooking.
So, use olive oil (first cold pressed) for salad dressing and use coconut oil for EVERYTHING you want to cook with oil!
Top Five Health Benefits
1. Coconut oil is a good source of omega 3 fatty acids
2. It is supportive of proper thyroid function
3. Coconut oil strengthens your immune system
4. Supports your metabolism, aiding in weight loss as the fatty acids are not stored as fat, but are immediately converted to energy, enabling your body to burn more fat instead.
5. Coconut oil will aid your body in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, so consider adding a spoonful of coconut oil to your breakfast fruit or eggs, along with your daily vitamins – this may help boost their effectiveness!
As for your heart health, in fact, unsaturated fats are more to blame for our epidemic of heart disease than naturally occurring saturated fats that are found in coconuts.
The war on saturated fats has finally begun a pull back, as science has shown us that naturally occurring saturated fats provide the building blocks for cell membranes, and for hormones.
And not only that, the healthy fats in coconut oil is so important for brain health that it has even been recommended for people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. There is even a story of a woman whose cancer went into remission on her coconut oil regimen.
Why Cook with Coconut Oil?
If you’ve been cooking with olive oil or other mono-unsaturated oils, stop!
Frying completely destroys any antioxidants by oxidizing the oil as it heats. This causes the polymerization of oils which in fact cause far more damage than we ever heard about from the dangerous trans-fats.
Olive oil is especially prone to this type of damage because it breaks down more easily than others.
Corn, soy, safflower, sunflower, and canola, are also to be avoided because of the above description of their oxidation and chemical breakdown.
So yes, it is odd to have an oil that may be solid in winter and liquid in the summer as it changes its form above around 73 degrees or so, but you’ll not mind when you consider the benefits described here.
It may be a bit more expensive but you will appreciate that it’s ever so much more beneficial than other oils you may have been using in your kitchen.
Your hair will even love a bit of conditioning with coconut oil!
I hope you’ll reconsider your choice of oils for cooking and seriously, go out and buy some coconut oil!