For far too long, coconut oil has gotten a bad rap.  Turns out, it has a multitude of amazing health benefits that you may find surprising.  Coconut oil is nature’s richest source of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), a type of saturated fat that is good for us.  The bad saturated fats are hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, such as those found in soy, corn, and safflower oils, and should be avoided.

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Coconut oil contains lauric acid, a fat found rarely in nature.  Our bodies convert lauric acid into monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-protozoa properties.  Capric acid is another fat found in coconut oil and also has antimicrobial properties.  It’s important to include coconut oil in our diets because there aren’t many sources of monolaurin found in our foods.

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil include:

  • Promotes a healthy heart
  • Promotes weight loss (when needed)
  • Supports immune system health
  • Supports a healthy metabolism
  • Supports proper functioning of thyroid gland
  • Provides an immediate energy source
  • Keeps your skin healthy and vibrant 

The medium-chain fats contained in coconut oil are considered so nutrient-dense that it’s used in baby formulas, hospital tube feedings, it’s recommended for those with digestive problems, and has even been used in treating aluminum poisoning.  The bottom line is, it’s simply great for anyone who wants to improve their overall health.

Cooking with Coconut Oil 

Any time we cook our foods, there is always the risk of creating heat-induced damage.  Only coconut oil is stable enough to resist this damage.  While olive oil is great on salads, it’s not so great for cooking purposes because it has a lower smoke point, thus making it less than ideal for higher cooking temperatures.  Once oils break down beyond their smoke points, they start to change their molecular structure and integrity, which will do your body more harm than good.  When shopping for coconut oil, look for the kind that is virgin and certified organic.  Organic coconut oil does not contain genetically modified ingredients and is free of bleaching, deodorizing, refining, or hydrogenation.

So, go ahead…use coconut oil in your daily cooking and baking.  Use it instead of butter or to replace margarine or vegetable oil.  You can blend it in smoothies, eat it by the spoonful, use it as a spread, or as a topping on popcorn.

 

 

photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/chiotsrun/5438922812/”>Chiot’s Run</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a>