For years you’ve been told that saturated fat is bad for you, and the humble coconut has had a bad rap because of that; but if you haven’t seen the light already, now’s a good time to start going nuts for coconut oil…
The difference between coconut oil and most common vegetable or seed oils is that it is made up of about 2/3 medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), also known as medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs. Whereas the aforementioned “other” oils comprise of mainly long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs), also known as long-chain triglycerides or LCTs.
What a difference one letter of the alphabet makes!
- LCTs are difficult for your body to break down, requiring special enzymes for digestion.
- LCTs put more strain on your pancreas, liver, and your entire digestive system.
- LCTs are mainly stored in your body as fat.
- LCTs can be deposited within your arteries in lipid forms such as cholesterol.
- MCTs permeate cell membranes easily, and do not require special enzymes in order to be used effectively by your body.
- MCTs are easily digested, and therefore put less strain on your digestive system.
- MCTs are rapidly metabolised by your liver and immediately converted into energy rather than being stored as fat.
- MCTs work to keep you healthy by eliminating disease causing microbes and lowering inflammation.
Coconut oil can be beneficial to your health in many ways; even though it’s a saturated fat, it can reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and related illnesses. It supports your immune system and is a powerful antioxidant, so it can reduce your risk of cancer, and help prevent bacterial, viral, and fungal infections, osteoporosis; and it can help control diabetes. Now that’s what you call a super food!
So how do you get more of the good stuff into your diet? Well the good news is that this super food is super versatile, it’s definitely more than a cooking oil! Here are 5 ways to incorporate coconut oil into your diet without melting it in a pan…
- Bake with it – Replace butter in your favourite baking recipes with coconut oil, substitute it weight for weight.
- Spread it – Replace butter or jam on your toast with coconut oil.
- Sip it – Melt a teaspoon of coconut oil in a hot beverage.
- Blend it – Add coconut oil to your smoothies, for a rich creamy texture.
- Fudge it – Mix together 1 cup of nut butter (peanut, cashew, etc), 1/4 cup coconut oil, and several tablespoons of cacao powder. Freeze for 30 minutes to set and snack away!
But there’s more… Coconuts really are one of nature’s greatest gifts… Use it as a leave-in hair conditioner, a body moisturiser, a lip balm, a make-up remover, a balm to soothe bug bites and so much more!