You only have one body to last you for the rest of your life. These are times of new beginnings and it’s never too late to start keeping that body strong and healthy.
Fat. The good and bad. There was a time when the word fat was like the F word. But now we know that there are good fats and bad fats. Even the “bad” ones aren’t going to kill you if you eat them in moderation. Some are good, some not so good, and some just really bad. (But the one you should stay away from, ALWAYS… partially hydrogenated oil. Just say NO, not even in moderation).
Coconut Oil: all good, all the time.
Lauric acid. It’s good stuff and loaded with unique health promoting properties. Lauric acid can kill pathogens like bacteria, viruses and fungi. Almost 50 percent of the fat in coconut oil is made of lauric acid.
Medium chain triglycerides. Coconut oil contains a lot of MCTs, medium chain triglycerides, which are better than LCTs, long chain triglycerides. MCTs are metabolized differently in the body and can have therapeutic effects.
Antioxidant. The oils found in the coconut have a positive antioxidant effect in the body. This means they can help our body stop the damage to other healthy fats and tissues in our body. Oxidation is like rust to the body, antioxidants prevent that rust.
Natural alternative to sunscreen. Good for the outside to protect the inside.
Weight loss. Oils are calorie dense. High in calories and fat. Whether it comes from a plant (coconut oil) or animal (lard) they all have around the same number of calories, 120 – give or take a calorie – and around 14 grams of fat per tablespoon. Some say coconut oil encourages weight loss. I tread lightly on this one. I think any plant based fat eaten in moderation can encourage weight loss. For example avocados have a bunch of healthy fat. But you know what’s going to happen if you eat avocados all day long? Yup, you’ll gain weight.
Coconut has been around for centuries so why is it that we are only hearing about it now? Why? Because corn oil and olive oil. Marketing campaigns and media saturation. Who’s got the time to think about coconuts when all we hear and see is corn and olives? What did coconut oil do to them? Because – saturated fat. Coconut oil is high in saturated fat. Does that surprise you?
Don’t shy away, despite negative saturated fat marketing campaigns, it isn’t always bad. But maybe the food manufacturers that produce OTHER types of oil low in saturated fat would like you to believe that. Modern society is just now beginning to understand and fully realize the benefits of coconut oil. The consensus is it may be one of the healthiest and most versatile natural oils on the market. Beware of the haters. The haters of coconut oil are like those internet social media trolls. Like when you come across a cute puppy facebook post that warms your heart. Makes you feel like everything is good in the world, then someone comments “those dogs should be on a leash!” You know those people, ignore them.
We are a society that needs data – information to back up claims. Is there scientific proof? How do we know this is all true? How can I be sure coconut really is good for me?
There is not a lot of scientific research out there on coconut oil. I’m always a little weary of absolute claims without research to back it up. “Red meat causes heart disease.” Does it really? Does the research show that the consumption of red meat will lead to heart disease? No – because there are plenty of people who eat red meat who have healthy hearts. I once heard a yoga instructor say “the yoga cured his diabetes.” Umm no, that is not an accurate statement. Yoga was a vehicle to make the body stronger. The cardiovascular component of yoga helped decrease insulin resistance and burned excess glucose. The yoga allowed him to connect with his body, it reduced his stress levels and he became more mindful about his eating habits. The yoga was a catalyst for regulating his diabetes and eventually being free of it.
Think of it this way. Coconut oil can’t be patented. But let’s say you could. In an alternate universe some big pharma would come along and spend hundreds of millions of dollars on research and a few hundred million more on television advertising. Then you’d see those commercials with women running through the meadows in the sunshine and would hear the narration of all the wonderful benefits. “Side effects include… nothing. Ask your doctor if coconut oil is right for you.” Coconut oil would be flying off the shelves.
My favorite way to use coconut oil is to eat and cook with it. Don’t get crazy. Don’t just start globbing on the coconut oil. Remember it’s calorie dense. Swap out what you usually use for fats and replace it with coconut oil.
Use butter to scramble your eggs? Swap the butter for equal amounts of coconut oil. Stir fry your veggies with it. Grilling a chicken breast? Grease your pan with coconut oil. Do you take cream with your coffee? Swap the cream for a half teaspoon of coconut oil, add a packet of stevia and just a few drops of vanilla extract in your coffee. You have to mix pretty good to get it emulsified. Believe me, it’s worth it.
It’s all collective. It’s about adapting healthy habits, adding moderate amounts of coconut oil to your diet, being mindful of portions and committing to eating whole clean foods. These are the steps to keeping that body of yours healthy for you and your partner for a lifetime.
Make sure to check out Part One, Coconut Oil: Healthy From the Inside Out.