Once given such a bad rap coconut oil is now being toted as being uber healthy, it’s supposed to support brain health to weight loss and even moisturize our skin.
Sound to good to be true? Is it myth, fact or fiction?
Not all that long ago, we were told in no uncertain terms that coconut oil is a great evilness, full of poisonous artery-clogging, cholesterol-raising, heart-attack-causing devil-like saturated fat. But not any more.
So what happened?
Is coconut oil really that healthy??
First of all yes, coconut oil has been shown to very supportive health effects. It IS miraculous actually. As to to what happened…
“According to Thomas Brenna, Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University who has extensively reviewed the literature on coconut oil, a considerable part of its stigma can be traced to one major factor… “Most of the studies involving coconut oil were done with partially hydrogenated coconut oil, which researchers used because they needed to raise the cholesterol levels of their rabbits in order to collect certain data,” Dr. Brenna said. “Virgin coconut oil, which has not been chemically treated, is a different thing in terms of a health risk perspective.”
Nowadays coconut oil is given props for supporting our health in a multitude of ways, from the inside to the out.
The first and probably my favorite health reason is that coconut oil can withstand high temperatures, making it one of the best oils for cooking and baking; its what hubby Bruce & I use pretty much exclusively. I tell my clients as a guideline to “use coconut oil for cooking, olive oil for salads”. You see, all oils are precious and can’t tolerate heat very well, they breakdown and become carcinogenic. It goes without saying, but we absolutely want to avoid that scenario making coconut oil a terrific choice.
Another big props to coconut oil for is anti-viral, anti-bacteria and anti-fungal properties. That’s important at any time of year, and particularly so as we enter flu season. As an anti-fungal, coconut oil should play a role in a Candida program.
An important aspect of coconut oil is that it contains special fats called Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT’s) which are chains of fatty acids of a medium length (well named I say!). These healthy fats have an unusual chemical structure that allow the body to digest them easily. MTC’s go directly to the liver and are used as an energy source or are turned into a product called ketones which have been shown to have therapeutic effects on Alzheimer’s and brain disorders such as epilepsy.
Coconut oil positively affects thyroid function and blood-sugar control which helps to increase metabolism, energy and endurance. Coconut oil helps us absorb our fat-soluble vitamins. These are important aspects in helping us reach our ideal weight. One interesting study found that women who consumed 2 tbsp of coconut oil a day for 12 weeks didn’t gain any weight, and they actually lowered their abdominal fat. That’s good for heart health along with a nice little bit of body re-sculpting.
This beautiful oil is about 50% Lauric Acid which increases the “good” (HDL) cholesterol which in turn positively effects cholesterol ratio levels, an important factor in reducing the risk of heart disease. Lauric Acid is what contributes to the anti-microbial properties of coconut oil that I mentioned earlier.
Coconut oil removes makeup, hydrates the skin and is safe for all skin types. It also contains a little Vitamin E. It’s become the only moisturizer I use! I’ve read that people suffering from various skin ailments are seeing improvements by applying coconut oil directly to the skin. One of my clients has just started using coconut oil to help her rosacea, I can’t wait to hear the results! If you want to give your hair a boost, try a hot oil treatment with warmed coconut oil (please don’t burn yourself). If you use too much it will continue to run your face and neck. Yes, a personal learning… !!
If you haven’t already started using coconut oil and have a recipe that calls for cooking at a high temperature — such as a stir fry — use coconut oil in place of the oil the recipe calls for. Coconut oil is an awesome option for roasting vegetables and adds nicely to the flavor. Eggs are the perfect candidate for cooking in coconut oil. Swap out butter for coconut oil the next time you make toast, gluten-free or otherwise. The options in the kitchen are endless.
Buying Coconut Oil
There are many lovely brands of coconut oil available, some will have a slightly stronger coconut flavor and taste is such a personal thing, so start with a small jar to play and experiment with. Your looking for the words unrefined or (extra) virgin on the jar, it’s even more beneficial to choose a variety that is organic and raw.
Stuck with a low quality brand of coconut oil? Soak some cotton balls in that coconut oil and use them to start your campfire!