Look inside my pantry and I have three oils: Extra Virgin Olive Oil for salad dressings, Macadamia Oil for baking and Coconut Oil for virtually everything else (including a wonderful skin lotion). Coconut Oil is extremely popular in my house and here are 7 reasons why I LOVE this jar of wholesome goodness (and why you should too).
All fats are not created equal
Coconut oil contains short term medium-chain saturated fatty acid (MCFAs). But aren’t all saturated fats bad? No. MCFA’s are a “healthy” form saturated fat compared to trans fat from vegetable and seed oils. Trans fatty acid consumption is linked with heart problems, depression and increased cholesterol levels.
Our body metabolises MCFA’s in the liver, immediately converting this into energy (fuel for the brain and muscle function) rather than it being stored as fat. MCFAs also help stimulate your body’s metabolism, and increases the activity of the thyroid, leading to weight loss.
Coconut oil has been found to benefit digestive disorders including irritable bowel syndrome and microbial related tummy bugs. Fatty acids in coconut oil contain anti microbial properties, which have a soothing affect on bacteria, candida, or parasites that cause poor digestion. Researchers discovered coconut oil is easy to digest and also protects the body from insulin resistance.
50% of the fat content in coconut oil consists of lauric acid. Lauric acid is considered a “miracle” ingredient because of its unique health promoting properties. Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa properties that claim to help heal viruses such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, helicobacter pylori and candida.
Cooks in high temperatures
Because coconut oil is a MCFA, it gives it a higher smoking temperature than most polyunsaturated or monounsaturated oils. Coconut oil will not turn rancid and oxidise when introduced to heat (unlike other oils – including olive). This means it is suitable for cooking at high temperatures.
Stops sugar cravings
Good quality fats are more satiating than carbs, so if you cut down on sugar you will feel less ‘ravenous’. Most of us do not realise but constant hunger is a major clue that your body is not being fed correctly. With the proper amounts of fats and protein, you can fuel your energy reserves properly, and come off the sugar roller coaster that many of us are on.
Because coconut oil is a MCFA, it is sent straight to your liver and converted into energy. Unlike carbohydrates, coconut oil does not produce an insulin spike in your bloodstream. This also saves you from a sugar slump!
Slows fine lines
Coconut is not just for your cooking – it’s a wonderfully hydrating treat for skin too. It keeps the skin’s connective tissues strong, which prevents sagging and wrinkles. Apply coconut oil directly to your skin to soften the appearance of fine lines or use it daily on your face and body for a healthy glow. Be sure you use virgin coconut oil with no additives.
I use coconut oil in most of my cooking. I also use it to make chocolate. You can check out one of my chocolate recipes here or an delicious coconut oil snack recipe here. For more recipes, be sure to check out my Autumn & Winter Cookbooks.
What type of coconut oil should we buy?
Look for coconut oil that is organic, unrefined, undeodorised, and cold pressed. It’s also good to use one that is in a glass jar rather than plastic. I use Loving Earth or Indah Organics Coconut Oil.