Friday, 15 March 2013

THE HEALTH GIVING BENEFITS OF COCONUT OIL


THE HEALTH GIVING BENEFITS OF COCONUT OIL


 

So I am sure you all know how much we love all things coconut including coconut water, coconut  flakes, coconut flour and our latest find, coconut yoghurt. But today we wanted to share with you our number one coconut product, coconut oil. If you have not got this in your staples cupboard yet it should be top of the shopping list this week and here is why:

Coconut is a true super food that not only tastes wonderful and refreshing but offers significant benefits to human health and we think, truly deserves more credit and appreciation. Recent research looking into the health benefits of coconut oil has been very promising regarding anti-bacterial, anti-ageing, and anti-cancer properties and even heart health. Below are our top 5 reasons to love this product:

1.There is a misconception about its high saturated fat content prompting some people to stay away from coconut oil. It’s important to understand that just as all fats are not the same, all saturated fats are not created equal either. Just as there are ‘good fats’ and ‘bad fats’, there are also “good saturated fats” and “bad saturated fats”. Unlike other highly saturated fats which are made up of long chain fatty acids, coconut oil is mostly made up of  MCFAs or medium chain fatty acids which are digested much easier by the body. They are  metabolised in the liver and immediately absorbed and converted into energy, similar to glucose but without the insulin spike.  The MCFA’s in coconut oil actually boost your metabolism and help your body use fat for energy, which can lead to weight loss, improved immunity and energy and an increase in healing. Interestingly, the saturated fat in coconut oil is identical to a special group of fats found in human breast milk called Lauric acid. Pure coconut oil contains about 50 percent Lauric acid, and is the most abundant natural source of lauric acid available. Given its strong antibacterial, antifungal properties Lauric acid and therefore coconut oil is an effective treatment for Candida and other fungal infections like ringworm and athlete's foot.

2.Coconut oil is very versatile in cooking and due to its high smoke point, (the temperature to which it can be heated before it starts to break down), we prefer it as a  healthy substitute for olive oil when stir frying, especially when making Thai style dishes. We also use it as an alternative to butter in all our baking and simply substitute like for like. Finally, a spoon or two in our smoothies also works a treat.

3.Our favourite use for coconut oil is as a moisturiser.  This is fantastic  for individuals suffering from dry and irritable (e.g. psoriasis or eczema) skin conditions. We simply smear it on straight from the jar or add a bit to our bath water. 

4.Evidence from scientists at Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) suggests that those who consume coconut oil regularly have improved oral health due to its highly antibacterial nature, therefore preventing tooth decay. Incorporating coconut oil into dental hygiene as an alternative for chemical additives in toothpaste may be the future according to some leading experts. Plus we think it tastes much better.

5.Coconut oil has been touted as a potent fighter against Alzheimer’s disease. The reason behind this is that certain brain cells may find it difficult utilizing glucose (derived from  carbohydrates) which is the brain's main source of energy. Without this, neurons in the brain begin to die off which leads to Alzheimer’s disease. However, research is showing that consuming a diet high in fats known as Ketones which are present in coconut oil may protect us against Alzheimer's and other mental diseases. When our bodies digest the medium- chain triglycerides (MCT) found in coconut oil in the liver they are converted into Ketones. According to experts this will not only protect against Alzheimer’s but has the potential to even reverse it. 
 
6. Finally, Athletic performance can be positively impacted when consuming a diet high in medium chain fatty acids (MCFA). Coconut oil is one of the most concentrated natural sources of MCFA available. The oil produces a quick form of energy as it is utilised in the liver and helps stimulate your metabolism. The thermogenic or metabolic stimulating effects causes the body to burn more calories. It can also help boost your immune system, and fight cellular damage from free radicals. This is important for athletes because vigorous exercise promotes oxidation and can lead to suppressed immunity.

Going to get your tub of oil yet? An important factor when purchasing coconut oil is to make sure that it is extra virgin cold-pressed and organic so that it has no hydrogenation or chemical alterations. This will also guaranteed that you have a far superior oil that will be nutritionally better than the cheaper versions. We recommend this high quality coconut oil from Biona.
Don't forget to keep looking at our blog as we will be posting recipes where we use this amazingly beneficial oil.
We would love to hear from you, what your favourite uses are for this versatile oil or if you have any of your own great recipes using coconut oil, simply leave a comment below.


Reference:
Hemat., R. A. S. (2004) Principles of Orthomolecuarism





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