Why are we often told to avoid coconut oil? Well, coconut oil is 92% saturated fat, which is often blamed for clogging arteries and contributing to obesity. As a result of this misconception, dieticians recommend things like canola oil as a healthier option. Canola oil, for example, is attractive because of its high oleic-acid content. However, it has dangers of its own—it contains a high sulphur content, can transform into trans fatty acids, and can create a deficiency of vitamin E. While we are directed towards harmful foods like canola oil, we are simultaneously directed away from quality foods like coconut oil, which is full of benefits that we don’t want to miss:
- Increases metabolism because the body uses it for energy, not stores it as fat
- Contains ketone bodies, which serve as food for the brain and nervous system
- Contains lauric acid, which has antimicrobial and antifungal properties
- Lowers Lp(a), a subtance in the blood that indicates proneness to heart disease
- Decreases incidences of immune deficiency and intestinal disorders
- Consists mostly of saturated fats, which are necessary for bone health, cell function, heart protection, and proper utilization of essential fatty acids
- Aids in muscle formation and function
- Strengthens hair, skin, and nails
The difference between coconut oil and other saturated fats is that coconut oil is comprised of medium-chain fatty acids, which work in a different manner in the body. Extensive field research shows that populations that consume coconut as a primary source of energy are extremely healthy in terms of body weight and lean muscle mass, dental hygiene, skin and energy levels. One study of a Polynesian population that obtains 63% of their energy from coconuts shows there are no harmful effects of this kind of saturated fat.
I love coconut oil. I’ve been consistently using coconut oil for about a year, and I can tell a difference in my energy levels; I have noticeably less energy when I go a few days without coconut oil. I also put it in my hair to make it shiny and smooth.
It’s so easy to incorporate coconut products into your daily routine. Below are some of my personal favorites:
- Coconut oil: Popcorn and Eggs
- Shredded coconut: Granola
- Coconut milk: Rice and Sweet Potatoes
- Coconut flour: Pancakes
- Coconut butter: I haven’t tried this yet, but I’m so anxious to. Apparently it’s very spreadable and great on sourdough bread.
When purchasing coconut oil, remember that you want to get unrefined, expeller-pressed. My favorite is from Trader Joe’s.