Spotlight on Coconut Oil

I’m crazy about coconut oil!! I add it to my smoothies, I bake with it, cook my tofu in it, spread it over my face and I even condition my hair with it. I’m a coconut oil addict.

Recently, there has been a lot of new information coming out around coconut oil and its uses. Most of it has been positive, but some of it have been slightly cautionary (that is people wanting more studies and findings).  

So as some of my clients and followers have been asking me “why I use coconut oil, given it’s a saturated fat” I thought I better spell out my reasoning for you. I’m a believer, it works really well for me and so I want to share what I have experienced with all of you….but given the cautious approach by some and also the calls for more studies I am going to encourage you to also do your own background reading and so have posted some links, that should be helpful, at the end of this article.

First things first, yes coconut oil is a saturated fat…. shocking I know!!! And yes I am encouraging you to eat saturated fat (if it comes from coconut oil). Let me explain.

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Saturated and Unsaturated Fats

Firstly, let’s talk about fat’s. Saturated fats are found mainly in animal products i.e. meat and dairy. Unsaturated fats, which are the ones we are encouraged to eat, are found in fish, nuts, seeds, oils and plants. Lastly, there are trans-fats, which are the worst for us to eat – they are basically used to keep food looking fresh on the shelves.

You did hear me correctly, coconut oil is a saturated fat, but there are saturated fats and there are saturated fats. What I mean by this is that they are not all considered equal and they can do completely different things in the body. Coconut oil, for example, is made up of medium chain triglycerides. This means that they are metabolized differently and instead of being stored as fat they go through the liver where they are converted to energy for our muscles and/or brain.

Basically, coconut oil is efficiently used by the body for energy whereas normal saturated fats as found in animal products are just stored as fat.

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What Coconut oil is made of:

Coconut oil is made up of 94% saturated fat (Medium Chain Fatty Acids). However, the reason this saturated fat is so much better for us is because it’s made up of Medium Chain Fatty Acids like capric acid and lauric acid, which have a lot of amazing health benefits.

Coconut oil actually contains around 50% lauric acid which kills bacteria, viruses and fungi. This is just one of the fatty acids present in coconut oil and there are a lot of them.   

The benefits of Coconut Oil:

  • Medium Chain Fatty Acids are amazing in the body as they increase your metabolism, increase your good cholesterol levels, lower the bad cholesterol, plus they are a great source of energy for anyone who needs an extra boost or are just suffering from fatigue.
  • Some of the fats present in coconut oil are great sources of antioxidants and are even anti-aging.
  • Coconut oil is antimicrobial and anti-fungal and is great for anyone with rashes or dermatitis.
  • It has been known to help heal digestive disorders when taken regularly.
  • It helps you to absorb fat-soluble nutrients. This is why I add it to my morning smoothie, to ensure that I’m able to absorb all those very good fat-soluble nutrients.
  • It keeps your fuller for longer and reduces hunger
  • It’s been know to help prevent alchemies disease
  • And it’s packed with vitamin E, which gives you healthy hair, skin and nails.

So you can see that there really are a lot of amazing benefits to eating coconut oil regularly. I believe that the reason for the few negative comments is because when they first tested coconut oil they used a partially hydrogenated and highly processed coconut oil, which has a different composition to the organic virgin coconut oil we use today. I only recommend using organic virgin coconut oil. They are actually two completely different oils and while the highly processed and partially hydrogenated one has a severely negative effect on heart disease the organic virgin oil one doesn’t.

Some thoughts from my favorite people:

Nutrition Stripped: “Much more study needs to be carried out with coconut oil, however, coconut oil may help with fat loss, weight control and improving the skin” + “ this type of saturated fat as found in coconut oil does not negatively affect cholesterol levels nor overall heart health”

Jamie Oliver: “although there is an argument that coconut oil isn’t as bad as the saturated content of it suggests, more research is needed”

Jessica Sepel: “Since it contains both short and medium-chain fatty acids, coconut oil helps take off excess weight. It’s easy to digest, which helps the thyroid and endocrine system function. Coconut oil also decreases stress on the pancreas, which burns energy and increases metabolic rate”

I think it comes down to two things.  While there may not be enough research to say 100% without a doubt that coconut oil is a magic super food, in my opinion if you use it and LOVE it then what’s not to say that it’s not working for you and that it benefits your diet.

We are all completely different and from my own personal experience and the experience of my clients, coconut oil is a great oil to use. Let’s not go through a bottle a week, but definitely, start cooking with it (as it has a high smoke point), start massaging it into your face (like this) and even add a tsp into your morning smoothie to help keep you full while eating a little less.

I really hope more research is done on coconut oil in the near future so that we can confidently say its a great addition to everyone’s diet. I will, however, continue to use it (daily) as I absolutely love it myself, but I will encourage people to do their own research and then give it a go and see what you think. You personal results will tell you, if you’re losing weight and your skin is glowing and healthy then who’s to says it’s not good for you. 

For some more information on coconut oil take a look at these articles:

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http://www.jessicasepel.com/nutrition-2/why-coconut-oil-is-part-of-my-wellness-arsenal/

http://www.jamieoliver.com/news-and-features/features/saturated-fat-really-bad-us/#5eD8uBtpEfQUsLTr.99

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/oils/properties-of-coconut-oil.html