_Coconut oil is a saturated fat which means that the fat molecule is has all possible links to its filled with hydrogen atoms. Animal fats from meat, eggs and dairy products are also saturated fats.
According to some sources, mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats are considered healthier than saturated. They say saturated fats are associated with weight gain, heart disease and raising bad cholesterol (LDL—low density lipoproteins). Other sources say its the opposite, with saturated animal fats being beneficial woth no link to heart disease and weight gain, suggesting its the predominance of high sugar and starchy carbohydrate that is to blame.
Coconut oil is not a source of bad cholesterol, in fact it helps to raise our good cholesterol levels (HDL– high density lipoproteins). Coconut oil is also a medium chain fat (versus the saturated fat from animals that are long chain fats). Because it is shorter it is digested and metabolised by the body quickly and efficiently into energy. In fact, coconut oil can actually aid weight loss because its fast metabolism helps raise our metabolism.
_Coconut is 47% lauric acid, which is the fat in mothers milk that makes it so special. Fresh coconut milk is so rich in electrolytes that is was used in old war times as an emergency replacement for blood plasma. In Sanskrit, the coconut palm is known as “ kalpa vrisksha” or “The tree that supplies all that is needed to live”.
Coconut aids digestion, is good for blood sugar, aids absorption of minerals and fat soluble vitamins, is anti-fungal, antiviral and antibacterial, hence great for the immune system. Coconut also nourishes the thyroid and supports cardiovascular health. Coconut products include oil, cream/milk, very high fibre flour, fresh meat and dried meat in shredded and desiccated forms.
Taken with the omega 3 & 6 essential fats (EFAs), coconut oil makes the EFA’s more effective. ALA is the EFA abundantly found in plants like flax and chia. EPA and DHA is found in seafood and is created by the body from ALA. The ability of the body to convert ALA to EPA and DHA is variable, not efficient in most people and absent in some. The brain is 50% fat and DHA represents 30% of brain matter. The highest concentration of DHA in the human body is in the retina of the eye. DHA is an essential component of breast milk with newborn babies needing it for brain, nerve and eye tissue development. Generations of DHA deficiency are associated with blindness, neurological and mental health disorders.
Coconut oil taken with plant based ALA assist the conversion to EPA and DHA. For strict vegetarian and vegans this is important to know in addition to marine phytoplankton being a rich source of DHA.
Coconut oil is rich in antioxidants so it makes the oil very stable i.e. it does not go rapidly rancid like flax oil will, and not slowly rancid as other plant oils will. Coconut oil is an excellent cooking oil especially for curries and stir-fries. Where you would not wish to have a slight coconut flavour, the olive oil is best e.g. pasta sauce. You can use coconut oil raw, however it is hard under 18 degrees and liquid above 26 degrees (buttery in between), so it wont work as a runny oil in a dressing or over salad as it will go hard on the cool food. Coconut oil can be blended into smoothies, used instead of butter in baking, stir through warm quinoa or rice or melt on steamed veggies. Coconut oil is also great as a body lotion and an excellent all natural lubricant in the bedroom!
Be sure to buy organic, cold pressed coconut oil to ensure quality and no chemical contamination.