Coconut oil has fast become one of the most popular oils to use in cooking, and for good reason.
However there are so many other uses for coconut oil, such as using it as a cleaning product and on the skin. Coconut oil is extracted from the flesh of the coconut. The oil contains saturated fats which are medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), also known as medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs. For years we have been told to avoid saturated fats as they are bad for our health, but coconut oil really is in a class of it’s own. Coconut oil should be seen as a healthy form of saturated fat. Many people still believe coconut oil to be a ‘bad’ oil as it is a saturated fat, however it is these types of fats that have been linked to a whole host of health benefits. Because of its saturated fat content, coconut oil is solid at room temperature or temperatures below this, just like butter. It doesn’t break down with heat or light or become rancid like many other oils. This makes it a great oil to cook with as it is much more stable at high temperatures than most oils. Consuming coconut oil is a wonderful way to increase the amount of healthy fats in your diet and below I have listed some health benefits:
1. Coconut oil contains strong antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties
Coconut oil has been shown to kill fungi and yeast, as well as viruses, bacteria and yeast infections. Coconut oil contains high amounts of lauric acid which is responsible for these effects. Capric acid, also found in coconut oil, also contains anti-microbial properties. Based on this information, consuming coconut oil daily will have a positive effect on your immune health. You can use coconut oil topically on cuts, scrapes, infections or even warts. Oil pulling, the practice of swishing coconut oil around your mouth has beneficial effects on mouth and teeth health, and this is largely due to its anti-pathogenic actions.
2. The medium-chain triglycerides (MCT’s) found in coconut oil can help boost metabolism and promote weight loss
Since MCT travels straight to the liver from the digestive tract, it can be used as a quick source of energy to keep you going while on a weight loss plan. It also helps the feeling of satiety and fullness, and can therefore assist with weight loss.
3. Coconut oil can improve the bodies absorption of minerals essential for bone health
Studies have found that coconut oil increased absorption of calcium, vitamin D and other minerals essential for bone health and strength. Adding coconut oil regularly into your diet can therefore help to keep your bones strong and prevent osteoporosis.
4. Coconut oil contains anti-ageing properties that help your skin stay healthy
Coconut oil contains the antioxidant vitamin E, which is essential for skin growth, repair, keeping the skin smooth, and protecting it against cracking. Above all, it prevents premature ageing and wrinkling of the skin. Coconut oil can be used all over the body as a moisturiser, lip balm, deodorant and makeup remover. It is also useful in skin disorders such as eczema or psoriasis, due to its natural anti-microbial, moisturizing and healing properties.
5. Coconut oil is a safe oil to use for cooking, due to its high heat tolerance
If you are choosing to fry any foods, then coconut oil should be your go to oil. It is very stable at high temperatures and will not denature in the same way that other oils such as olive oil will do at high temperatures. It can also add a lovely but mild coconut flavour to your dish which is an added bonus.
If you haven’t already, these benefits are a great reason to jump on the coconut oil bandwagon! Try it in your food or try it on your skin and see how you feel.