It might come as a shock to you, particularly in an environment where we’re unwittingly force-fed nutritional information on how we should be eating low-fat this and fat-free the other that there is a fat that can actually Help You to Lose Fat!
That ‘magic fat’ is coconut oil! It doesn’t just stop there either, coconut oil comes with a whole host more health benefits, more than what you may realise! It has already been described as “The Healthiest Oil on Earth” which is quite a bold statement, so here are ten reasons to pick up a jar and start using it today!
- All Fats Are NOT Created Equally– this is the most important fact! Coconut oil is a saturated fat and “saturated fats are bad for you” right? Wrong! Dietary guidelines inevitably fail to distinguish between different kinds of saturated fats and insist that saturated fats (meaning all saturated fats) are harmful. This is not just misleading, it’s also bad science! Leading scientists now recognise that just as there is good cholesterol, there are also good saturated fats. The difference all comes down to the fat molecule. Coconut oil contains what are termed medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA’s); these are a healthy form of saturated fat unlike trans fats and other saturated fats. You see the vast majority of fats and oils in our diet, either saturated or unsaturated, plant or animal are composed of long-chain fatty acids (LCFA’s). The size of the fatty acid is what’s important as our bodies respond very differently to each size and metabolize them very differently too, hence the physiological effects of the MCFA’s in coconut oil are very different to those of the LCFA’s that are most commonly found in our foods. It’s consumption of these saturated trans-fatty acids and LCFA’s that’s linked to heart disease, atherosclerosis, increased cholesterol levels and depression etc.
- Coconut Oil Contains Three Fatty Acids – The three fatty acids found in coconut oil, Caprylic Acid, Capric Acid and Lauric Acid all have unique properties and each have massive health benefits
- Coconut Oil Can Stop Sugar Cravings – If you’re dieting or detoxing coconut oil is your best friend to fight off those sugar cravings. One symptom of candida overgrowth is sugar cravings – this becomes very prominent while dieting or detoxing as you’re (or at least you should be) eliminating sugar and sugary foods from your diet. The caprylic acid in coconut oil combats against this candida overgrowth and puts a stop to those sugar cravings!
- Prefers To Be Used As An Energy Source – MCFA’s are metabolised by the liver in a very different way to other fats. Rather than being stored as fat MCFA’s are immediately converted into energy. Several studies have shown that MCFA’s can enhance physical or athletic performance by the simple fact that it is an instant source of energy. With this in mind it’s understandable why its use has started to enter into sports
- It’s Antibacterial and Anti-viral - Another of the fatty acids that make up coconut oil, lauric acid has very strong antibacterial and anti-viral properties. Lauric acid on its own is powerful anti-viral and coconut oil contains more lauric acid than any other substance on earth. It doesn’t just stop there - the body converts the lauric acid into manolaurin, a powerful antibacterial and anti-viral. Monolaurin is claimed to destroy herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, helicobacter pylori and candida amongst many others
- Aids Digestion – As I’ve already mentioned, the Caprylic Acid found in coconut oil is a potent antifungal that kills Candida cells as well as helping to restore your stomachs acidity to normal levels if you suffer from poor digestion or bloating try adding coconut oil to your diet. Coconut oil has also been found to benefit digestive disorders including irritable bowel syndrome
- Helps Fight Diabetes – As I’ve already mentioned the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil provide your body with an immediate energy source. However unlike carbohydrates coconut oil does not produce an insulin spike in your bloodstream. Yep, that’s right coconut oil acts on your body like a carbohydrate but without the insulin related effects associated with carbohydrate consumption. In fact, in a study by published in Clinical Nutrition (28:595 Geliebter, A) it was found that coconut oil added to the diets of diabetics and pre-diabetics was actually been shown to help stabilise weight gain, which can dramatically decrease the likelihood of getting adult onset type-2 Diabetes! A further study by the Garvan Institute of Medical Research also concluded that coconut oil protects against insulin resistance therefore reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. The MCFA’s are small enough to be absorbed into the cells where they’re quickly converted to energy. It is this process that not only reduces the amount of fat we pack into storage, but improves insulin sensitivity.
- It Helps You To Lose Weight! – Another of the biggest benefits of coconut oil is its ability to stimulate you metabolism, this was actually discovering by mistake in 1940’s America when farmers tried to use cheap coconut oil to fatten up their livestock. Instead of fattening them up it made them lean and active! Since then they’ve been a large number of studies that have shown that replacing LCFA’s in your diet with the MCFA’s found in coconut oil decreases body weight and fat storage. Besides weight loss, further studies have gone on to show that coconut oil actually boosts your metabolism. One such study in the Journal of Nutrition showed that participants who consumed two tablespoons of coconut oil each day burned more calories than those who didn’t.
- It’s fantastic for your skin too! – Coconut oil isn’t just fantastic for cooking; it’s also great for hydrating your skin too. When rubbed into your body it’s absorbed into your skin and the connective tissues helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and keeps the connective tissue strong and supple. It also helps to protect your skin from free radical damage which in turn improves the appearance and prevents premature ageing. With these benefits it’s understandable to see why so many new coconut oil skin care products are appearing on the market.
- Cooks at a higher temperature – Because coconut oil is a medium-chain saturated fatty acid, it gives it a higher smoking temperature than most polyunsaturated or mono-unsaturated oils. If you’re frying, stir frying or roasting you should consider coconut oil rather than olive oil (or any other oil) which will oxidize at high temperatures, creating free radicals
So there you have it, 10 facts about the ‘miracle’ fat coconut oil. So why not go out and buy a tub? You can pick it up quite cheaply in an Asian or Thai supermarket (They’ve been using it in their cuisine for decades), a health food shop or one of the bigger supermarkets. Swap your vegetable and trans-fatty oils for coconut oil and start improving your health!
Till next time