There are many reasons for using coconut oil, all of which have attempted to detail in this blog post. The health benefits of coconut oil are innumerable, from being anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, to helping decrease body fat and increasing satiation. It provides the brain with nourishing fats needed for proper development and growth, and can nourish the skin with valuable antioxidants.
Below I have listed my reasons for using coconut oil in my baking, cooking and beauty regimens. I have tried to back up any claim with credible research, just to present the science for all. If you are just starting with implementing and using coconut oil in your health program, then this simple post may help boost your confidence.
My Reasons for Using Coconut Oil
1. Coconut Oil is Very Stable at High Temperatures – Rather than using vegetable oils, whose unsaturated fats can oxidize and go rancid quite easily during cooking, coconut oil is very stable for frying or baking at high temperatures. This is due to the fact that coconut oil is mainly made from saturated fat. This natural saturated, however, is far from evil, as you will discover below.
2. Coconut Oil Aids Weight Loss – It is true that coconut oil can help maintain weight loss goals. It is somewhat paradoxical, living in our society, that eating fat (a saturated fat, nonetheless), can help with weight loss. Coconut oil is primarily made up a saturated fats called medium chained triglycerides, or medium chained fatty acids.
Medium chained triglycerides are readily burned for energy by the body, rather than being stored as fat, which generally occurs with long chained triglycerides. Sources of these long chained triglycerides are from unsaturated fats, like from canola oil or safflower oil. Medical research studies have shown that pure coconut oil is very effective at reducing abdominal obesity and increasing overall energy expenditure (metabolism).
3. Coconut Oil Helps Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels – The saturated fat in coconut has actually shown to reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in the blood, and decrease overall triglycerides. *I really argue that triglycerides are one of the major culprits behind heart disease, not total cholesterol levels, so reducing the amount of triglycerides (fats in the blood), we reduce our risk from heart attack and atherosclerosis.
4. Coconut Oil Easily Replaces Butter and Vegetable Oil in Baking and Frying – Coconut oil is hard at room temperature, which can easily replace butter in cookie recipes. When melted, it can easily replace other vegetable oils in cakes, muffins and cupcakes. It is also more stable than vegetable oils, meaning you will retain the health saturated fats needed for energy and weight loss, if desired. When you decide to fry foods, do so with coconut oil as it is more stable and resistant to damage when heated to high temperatures.
5. Coconut Oil is Full of Lauric Acid – Coconut oil is the highest dietary source of lauric acid, other than breast milk. Since we are no longer receiving this naturally and vital fatty acid for proper brain function (and some of us never received this due to bottled formula), we must receive it from other sources, like coconut oil. Lauric acid is converted into monolaurin in the body, which exhibits antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal effects. Some research suggests that coconut oil may be helpful in fighting bacterial infections and viruses in the body.
6. Coconut Oil Aids in Blood Sugar Control – Natural saturated fats from coconut help lower the glycemic index of a meal, which lowers the rate at which blood sugar is increased after consuming carbohydrates. This results in a slower insulin release. If our insulin skyrockets and shocks the body, cells become less sensitive to take in our rising blood sugar (as energy) over time. This results in a condition known as diabetes. Fats help slow down the release of both blood glucose and insulin, lowering the quick rate of inflammation happening inside of our cells.
7. Coconut Oil Provides a Feeling of Fullness – If battling satiation issues, or the feeling of being full, then coconut oil may be your hero. The fats in coconut oil promote a feeling of satiation, which helps regulate your energy intake (food intake). This may be partly due to the fact that coconut oil slows down blood sugar release. When our blood sugar sky rockets and crashes very quickly, we get hungry. But, when we have something like coconut oil slowing down the rate at which blood sugar and insulin handle themselves, then we stay fuller for longer after a meal.
8. Coconut Oil is an Excellent Moisturizer – Coconut oil is the best natural moisturizer on the market. I will caution that if you have oily skin, it will very likely break you out. Those with dry skin, however, will find coconut oil quite helpful in providing the needed moisture skin loses with age. Plus, organic virgin coconut oil has many antioxidants to fight free radicals on the skin.
Using Coconut Oil in Recipes
Coconut oil can be replaced one for one with any other type of fat in a recipe. If butter is called for, I would recommend chilling melted coconut oil until it becomes a bit harder, much like butter. Although coconut oil can have a coconut like taste, I do not find that it gives any coconut flavor to any of my recipes.
Many times I like to put 1-2 tsp. of raw, organic Virgin Label coconut oil into my green smoothies in the morning. This boosts my energy and metabolism, and keeps me full for hours. Adding just a tsp. to your green smoothie may be a great way to lose any body fat you’ve been hanging on to, while getting your health (and raw) source of lauric acid.
Which Brands of Coconut Oil Should I Choose?
Never purchase a brand of coconut oil that has been hydrogenated, or partially hydrogenated. This results in trans-fats, which are the true evil fat culprits plaguing the world’s preventable health problems.
The best source of coconut oil is organic and unrefined. My favorite brand is Tropical Traditions. They are a well known, very trusted company, and I wouldn’t know here I would be without their coconut products. There are other good brands on the market, but more than likely you will pay more for them if you don’t purchase them online, which has been my experience.
This is The Healthy Advocate.