In the 90’s coconut oil got a bad rap for being high in fat. This was during the craze where anything and everything was low-fat. But guess what? Not all fat is bad for us! In fact, there are a lot of good for us fats and coconut oil is one of them.
About 50% of the significant amount of fatty acids provided by coconut is in the form of a medium-chain saturated fat called lauric acid, a health-promoting fat whose only other abundant source in nature is human breast milk.1
These medium-chain fatty acids (MCFTs) are used by the body for energy and are not stored as fat.2 As well, MCFTs help to increase metabolism and help with weight loss.3
Approximately 6 to 7% of the fat in coconut is in the form of another beneficial medium-chain fat called capric acid. Capric acid is converted in the body to a highly beneficial substance called monocaprin, which has been shown to have antiviral effects against sexually transmitted diseases, including Chlamydia trachomatis, herpes simplex 1 and herpes simplex 2 and HIV.4
Coconut oil is also a heart healthy food! It does not clog the arteries or cause heart disease.5 It supports healthy cholesterol formation in the liver in the form of high density lipoprotein (HDL)6
It also helps to restore natural saturated fat levels to the skin, subcutaneous fat layers and to the individual cell membranes of our bodies.7
These are pretty amazing benefits right? But wait….there’s more!
Coconut oil is great to use when cooking because it has a high heat point, it can be safely heated to 375F without becoming denatured.8 Because it is a saturated fat, it is solid at room temperature.
What else can you do with coconut oil? Lots! Use it as a face and body moisturizer, use it in baking, use it as a personal lubricant (use caution here lovers, coconut oil can weaken latex condoms), as a pre-workout snack for instant energy or make a sports gel to have mid-workout.
As you can see coconut oil has some pretty amazing qualities. It is available at health food stores and some grocery stores. Be sure to look for organic, virgin coconut oil.
Recipes using coconut oil:
1. Murray, Michael. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York: Atria, 2005. p421
2. Wood, Rebecca. The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia. New York: Penguin, 2010. p99
3. Wolfe, David. Superfoods. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic, 2009. p206
4. Murray, Michael. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York: Atria, 2005. p422
5. Wood, Rebecca. The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia. New York: Penguin, 2010. p99
6. Wolfe, David. Superfoods. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic, 2009. p206
7. Wolfe, David. Superfoods. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic, 2009. p206
8. Wood, Rebecca. The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia. New York: Penguin, 2010. p99