Coconut oil has gained a lot of popularity in the past few years and it's no wonder why. It tastes delicious, has numerous health benefits, and you can use it for pretty much everything. Coconut oil has been consumed for thousands of years in tropical countries as a staple food. There have been studies involving diets high in coconut consumption that have shown that there is generally less illness and that people generally do not suffer from many of the modern diseases that the Western side of the world does. So why wouldn't someone want to use it in whatever way they can? I eat it off the spoon, use it in my hair, as a body moisturizer, and it is my go-to oil when in cooking/baking.
Why do you eat it off the spoon?
First, it tastes awesome if you love coconut (I'm a die-hard fan). Second, It's filled with nutrients such as healthy fats that you want (magnesium, and vitamin E to mention a few), and it helps so many different body systems such as the digestive, endocrine, and cardiovascular system! I use it to cook with everyday but I feel like I'm getting a little extra dose of happiness when I eat it off the spoon. Give it a try! Who doesn't want to eat happiness from a spoon?
Coconut oil is fat, fat is bad right?
You often hear to AVOID saturated fat because it is bad for your cholesterol right? Absolutely wrong in this case. Yes, coconut oil is a saturated fat, but it's a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT). Coconut oil includes healthy fats such as lauric acid, caprylic acid, and capric acid. Your body doesn't store MCTs as fat, instead, it uses it as energy (and we could all use a little of that I'm sure). MCT's are easily digested and readily available for energy use as they cross the mitochondrial membrane (the little energy factory in your cells). It's different from long chain fatty acids, as long-chain fatty acids require enzymes from the pancreas in order to be metabolized into energy (resulting in a longer digestive process). MCTs can be absorbed directly by the digestive system and transported to the liver where they are used as energy. This makes coconut oil a valuable source of healthy fats, and energy.
Lauric and capylic Acid: Components of Medium Chain Triglycerides.
First lets talk about lauric acid. 50% of the fat content in coconut oil is lauric acid. It is rarely found in nature but is found in abundance within coconuts, making coconut oil a great and natural source of it. Lauric acid turns to monolaurin in the body, which is anti-viral and anti-bacterial. Monolaurin is a monoglyceride that acts by disrupting the lipid membranes in organisms such as fungus, bacteria, and viruses thus destroying them. Cool beans, huh?
Caprylic acid is another component of coconut oil that is a potent anti-fungal acid that kills candida cells (Candida will be a separate discussion). It also helps to restore a natural, acidic environment in your stomach which is needed for optimal digestion and immunity.
Okay, so medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) are good for you. But what else is good about coconut oil? Here's a few things, out of the hundreds that coconut oil is good for:
- Did you know that all oils have different smoke points? Smoke points are the temperature that an oil can reached before it turns rancid and literally starts to smoke. The smoke point for coconut oil is 350° Fahrenheit according to Natural News. This is great for cooking at higher heats and baking so that what you eat is still safe and nutritional!
- Since coconut oil is good for energy, it's great for those suffering with fatigue or thyroid problems such as under and over active thyroid conditions.
- Coconut oil is a good source of energy providing 9 calories per gram. This is great for athletes because it provides sustained energy, and can be used to bolster performance and endurance.
- Coconut can be used for digestive problems to increase the absorption of nutrients.
- Coconut oil is a good source of Vitamin E, which is an antioxidant. Vitamin E is also great for skin and hair health. So consuming coconut oil works from the inside out!
- Because coconut oil provides 9 calories per gram, it is often used therapeutically for those suffering from AIDS or chronic pancreatitis, as these conditions decrease the body's ability to digest fats, and often result in difficulty maintaining a healthy body weight. I would recommend working with your Doctor if you are looking into coconut oil to help with this condition.
- Coconut oil is excellent if you want to have that shiny and strong hair that you've always wanted. Just put it on the tips of your hair and tie it in a loose bun over night. Wash it out the next morning and voila! Deep conditioned hair to make you look and feel like a superstar.
- You don't dig putting it in your hair? That's okay. If you nourish yourself with coconut oil and use it in your daily diet, it will work its way out (not talking about what happens in the bathroom) and it will soon show by improving your hair and skin as well.
- It can be used as a moisturizer for everyone! It's safe to use for babies!
- It also helps reduce acne by the lauric acid content.
So in summary, coconut oil is pretty amazing and if I had the space I would have a whole vat of it in my house. But I can't so I'll have to settle for buying large 2L containers. It should honestly be used daily in everyone's kitchen! My favourite brand is Nutiva or Carrington Farms because they come in large sizes that don't hurt the wallet!
Coconut picture credited to: http://www.organicfiji.com/The-best-ways-to-liquefy-your-coconut-oil-_b_39.html
As well as all of the cool things I know that are stored in my noggin :)
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I am an RHN-Holistic Nutritionist. The health information contained herein is to share my knowledge and recipes. Any information provided is not intended to treat or cure any disease, or to replace any discussions with a health care provider. You, the reader, are personally responsible for ensuring the safe application of anything described herein. Read the Scope of Practice, as well as the Code of Ethics of an RHN-Holistic Nutritionist.