Updated: Jan 25, 2020
There was a time when saturated fat was thought to be related to increased heart disease and coconut oil received negative press in this country because of its high level of saturated fat. However, current research has shown that not all saturated fats are alike and that the fatty acids in coconut oil, the medium chain triglycerides, do not raise serum cholesterol or contribute to heart disease, but are actually very healthy.
Traditional diets have included this remarkable food for years. According to coconut oil expert, Bruce Fife, it has a reputation for being known as “the healthiest dietary oil on earth.” Once again, coconut oil is now being recognized by the medical community as a powerful fighter in immune diseases.
Much research has recently surfaced on the incredible nutritional value of coconut oil. Most of the fats we consume are made of mostly of long-chain fatty acids, though butter and other animal fats also have small amounts of short and medium-chain fats. A large percentage of the fats in coconut oil are medium chain fatty acids. These fats are immediately converted to energy in the body because they burn fast and don’t store well, which is why they sold as energy supplements for athletes.
Medium-chain fatty acids can be metabolized without bile or pancreatic enzymes, too, which is why they are used in IV fluids to feed people in hospitals and helpful to those with compromised fat digestion. As an additional benefit, medium chain fatty acids help speed up metabolism and are recommended on some weight loss diets. Many professional healthcare providers recommend adding a tablespoon or two of coconut oil to your diet daily because it will help stimulate your metabolism, improve thyroid function, and escalate energy levels, all of which help decrease your unwanted fat, while increasing muscle.
According to Dr. Mary Enig, internationally recognized lipid expert, coconut oil is the best source of lauric acid, a particular kind of medium-chain fatty acid. The only other foods that contain significant amounts are palm oils and mother’s milk. Lauric acid has anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, and anti-carcinogenic properties. Other health promoting benefits of coconut oil may include preventative for osteoporosis, improves digestion, keeps skin soft and smooth, and prevents wrinkles and aging of skin.
TIPS FOR USING COCONUT OIL IN COOKING
Use 1 cup to 1 cup ratio when replacing other oils/butter in recipes with coconut oil
Replace it for butter/lard/Crisco/PAM in its solid form for greasing pans, pie crusts, etc.
Replace it for various oils in liquid form for baking, cooking, sautéing
Use it as a nutritional supplement, just melt and add to smoothies or herbal tea