Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
There are still many people who have negative associations with anything that contains ‘saturated fat’. I believe this mainly is conceived through the belief that saturated fat from animals raises blood cholesterol levels and causes heart disease. However, there is no evidence showing that too much animal fat in the diet promotes heart disease. In-fact there is over 20 studies that have shown people who have had a heart attack haven’t consumed more fat than people who have not had a heart attack.
Animal fat should be the main source of energy for our bodies, without modern technology processing food and making it available at our convenient local grocery, we would be picking fruit and vegetables when they where in season, and hunting for animal meat.
I’ve heard on many occasions that nutritionists have advised patients that coconut oil is bad for their health because it’s close to 90% saturated fat. These nutritionists are poorly educated and have failed to differentiate the many types of saturated fats from each other.
Saturated fat can be broken into three different categories, short chain, medium chain and long chain.
Coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid, this fat is digested and assimilated easily in the body and is transferred directly to the liver where it is immediately converted into energy, also meaning it isn’t directly stored as body fat. In addition, coconut oil stimulated the thyroid gland which regulates the metabolism and can help speed it up.
One of the worst dietary myths is that “Eating fat can make you fat”. In-fact, you actually need healthy fats to help you lose body fat and keep your body healthy. Some of the benefits from eating healthy fats contained in Cod Liver Oil, where mentioned in my previous article titled ‘Time to bust out the Cod Liver Oil’.
There are many other health benefits from eating good fats, below is a list of some of the benefits associated with the consumption of coconut oil;
- Supports healthy metabolism
- Supports thyroid function
- Supports heart health
- Strengthens the immune system
- Assists in fat loss
- Improves digestion
- Improves skin appearance and elasticity
- Helps treat Candida and yeast infections
- Improves cholesterol levels
- Assists in killing off viruses
- Helps kill bacteria
- Relieves symptoms of diabetes
- Has proven anti-tumor effects
Coconut oil is one of the best oils to cook with, because of its high saturated fat content it can withstand higher heats without oxidising and going rancid. So for any situation where oil will be heated to boiling point, i.e. frying onions, coconut oil would be your best option. When fat has become oxidised or rancid, it has turned into hydrogenated fat which is the worst form of fat we can consume. Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils are well known for causing cardiovascular disease.
Lauric acid is also rich in coconut oil and makes up approximately 50% of its fatty acids. Lauric acid is a key disease-fighting substance; it has been known to help fight viruses such as HIV, influenza and herpes as well as enhance the immune system and ward of bad bacteria and yeast infections. In addition, the only other natural source of lauric acid is found in mothers milk which helps in protecting newborn babies against pathogenic bacteria.
When purchasing coconut oil be sure to buy one that is organic and un-refined. Although most coconut oils available will be of good quality, some coconut oils will be refined, bleached and deodorised and should be avoided as the health benefits would have become close to non-existent.