There is so much information swirling around coconut oil – much of it contradictory. So what is the real truth about coconut oil – is it beneficial or is it harmful? That’s a good question – I’m so glad you asked! I’ve done some research on the subject so let’s take a closer look at coconut oil….
Harvesting and properties of coconut oil:
- As you likely already know, coconuts are the fruit of the coconut palm tree.
- Coconut oil is extracted from the “meat” of the mature (brown hairy-like) coconut.
- To produce raw cold pressed coconut oil – the meat is dried at a low temperature, then cold pressed. This method produces the highest quality coconut oil.
- Coconut oil is a creamy-white solid at room temperature, and becomes a clear liquid when heated. It is naturally very slow to oxidize, which means it is resistant to rancidity and it will last up to two years without refrigeration.
- Ounce for ounce, coconut oil actually has fewer calories than any other oil.
- Coconut oil is an extremely stable oil at high temperatures, which makes it good to use in cooking.
The real controversy:
- seems centered around the fact that coconut oil is about 90% raw saturated fat.
- But isn’t saturated fat harmful for us??
- Well – yes, and no. It all depends on whether the saturated fat is a long chain fatty acid or a medium chain fatty acid.
- Long chain fatty acids, primarily from animal products and dairy products, have been associated with high cholesterol and heart problems.
- Coconut oil is made up of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs), which have very different properties from long chain fatty acids. MCFAs are healthy for us, and do not cause high cholesterol.
Benefits of coconut oil
Because of the MCFAs, coconut oil has many benefits – here are just a few:
- It takes less energy and fewer enzymes to digest, thus providing more energy at a quicker rate than other fats
- It is beneficial in normalizing cholesterol levels, therefore supporting cardiovascular health
- It reduces our body’s need to produce adrenal hormones by normalizing blood sugar levels, increasing energy and reducing stress on our system
- It increases metabolism, which can help with weight loss
- It can restore natural saturated fat levels to our cell membranes, and to our skin
- It is very beneficial for healthy development of children’s nervous systems
Coconuts are considered a ‘superfood’, and coconut oil is considered to be a good fat, with many benefits for us. It also has a number of other uses, such as a non-greasy moisturizer for skin, a sweet smelling massage oil, and it can even be used to brush teeth. The highest quality coconut oil to purchase is extra virgin, organic, cold pressed coconut oil.
One caution – read the label to be sure you are not buying coconut oil that has been partially hydrogenated (turned into a trans-fat).
Are you interested in learning more about healthy fats, whole foods, and which foods will give you a great feeling of vibrancy and energy? Are you looking for healthier dietary options to help you feel and look your best? Contact me – and let’s talk about it!
Superfoods – Book by David Wolfe
Copyright © 2012 Cathy Ormon – All Rights Reserved