Coconut oil is more and more commonly being used today in cooking, especially to fry foods and flavor curries. This oil has been used for thousands of years in tropical cultures where coconut trees abound. More recently, virgin coconut oil has been appearing more and more in natural food circles for people concerned to find naturally healthy foods. The flavor is something like a sweet nut, and so it makes the perfect addition to a pastry or other bakery productions. Many non-dairy creamers and snack-type foods also contain coconut oil as a hydrating agent. Not only is the flavor of the oil desirable, but coconut oil actually has many health benefits for the body.
Coconut oil contains a rare combination of fatty acids that yield incredible health benefits. In the past coconut oil was all but rejected due to its saturated fat content. Of the fatty acids contained in coconut oil, an astounding 90 percent are saturated fat. Health specialists, however, are discovering data that show that saturated fats are in fact harmless. In fact, studies of peoples that live in parts of the world where coconuts are regularly consumed show these people to be heart-healthy. For example, the Tokelauans of the South Pacific get more than 60 percent of their calories from the coconuts that they eat, but they have no sign of heart disease. In fact, saturated fats have been shown to raise HDL cholesterol (the good kind) levels and convert LDL (the bad kind) to a harmless sub-variety.
The fatty acids in coconut oil are actually medium chain triglycerides—that is medium-length fatty acids. Unlike long-chain fatty acids, the medium-chain varieties are metabolized by going from the digestive tract directly to the liver. Here they are either used for quick energy or processed into ketone bodies which can have medicinal effects on brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s or epilepsy.
Further, coconut oil can boost the amount of energy you expend, helping you to burn more fat. For example, one study says that 15-30 grams of medium-chain triglycerides consumed daily will increase your energy expenditure by 5 percent per day—that’s almost 120 calories! Burning calories throughout the day is an easy, reliable way to keep your weight down.
Coconut oil also has medical properties. It has been found to kill viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Almost 50 percent of coconut oil fatty acids fall into the 12-carbon Lauric Acid category. When enzymatically digested, coconut oil also turns into a monoglyceride called monolaurin. Monolaurin and Lauric Acid both attack pathogens including Staphylococcus Aureus and Candida Albicans yeast.
Coconut oil can benefit your body even if you don’t eat it. Coconut oil is fast becoming a favorite cosmetic oil for the skin and hair. You will find it in SweBee’s Bee Salve When applied to the skin, coconut oil moisturizes it, retaining the water needed for healthy skin and adding extra moisture as well. It also doubles as a sunscreen, blocking as much as 20% of the sun’s UV rays. Some people use the oil as a mouthwash to ward off bad breath by killing bacteria and to boost their overall dental health.
From popcorn stands to candy shops to your home kitchen, coconut oil is becoming a healthy cooking option. Its taste adds that hint of the pacific south seas to your cooking while you can know that the food you’re eating is much more healthy for you than it would be with other oils. Grab a bottle and see what the excitement is all about.