There are very few foods that are on the super-foods list, but it appears that coconut oil should be one of them. It’s a time in the world of food when we are being inundated with the benefits of protein-based diets like Keto, Atkins, and Paleo. Everywhere you turn someone is saying carbohydrates are evil. But what about coconut oil and health benefits and why some fats are great too.
For years, coconut oil was vilified and consumers were made to believe it was bad for you. It turns out it was mostly the canola growers who were trying to suppress the value of coconut oil. Now the cat is out of the bag and North Americans are cluing into fact that this is one very versatile food.
This is nothing new to Asian countries who have known the value of coconut oil for generations.
COCONUT OIL LONGEVITY
As a rule, Asians have a much longer life expectancy than most of the world. Consuming coconut oil on a regular basis gives them amazing skin tone, lustrous hair, as well as better overall health than your average North American.
The key ingredient in coconut oil is Lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid. Not only is lauric acid a key component of coconut oil, it makes up about 50% of the oil. This makes coconut oil the most abundant source of lauric acid except for mother’s milk.
One tablespoon of coconut oil equals approximately 7 grams of lauric acid and three to five tablespoons a day can have a dramatic effect on many levels.
Coconut works as an antiviral that has the capability to destroy bacteria and viruses. This is the main reason why people who consume coconut oil on a regular basis seem to experience far less sickness. This could well be why baby’s who are fed mother’s milk are often far healthier than babies who are fed store-bought formula milk.
COCONUT OIL WEIGHT LOSS
As improbable as it might seem, although coconut oil is a fat, it can encourage weight loss. Coconut is far different from other fats of the long-chain fatty acid variety. Because it is medium-chain, Coconut oil is metabolized differently than other fats.
Medium-chain fatty acids are sent directly to the liver from the digestive tract. Either they have converted to energy right away or turned into ketone bodies. For all those on a Keto diet, this is the fat they should be including in their high protein diet.
As a matter of fact, these types of fats are the first choice for epileptic patients on a ketogenic diet. In this way, the increase in Ketone levels will allow room for some carbs to be introduced to the Keto diet.
Studies have shown that coconut oil does not store as efficiently as other fats. That means they don’t stick around to add bodyweight when
consumed. In fact, there is actually an opposite reaction.
During one study, long-chain fatty acids were fed to one group of rats, and medium-chain fatty acids to a second group. The results were quite extraordinary. The rats fed medium-chain fatty acid gained 20% less weight and 23% less body fat.
Another amazing quality of coconut oil is that it is thermogenic and when consumed it actually increases energy expenditure, or fat burning. In a different study, approximately one and a half to two tablespoons of medium-chain fats caused a 5% gain in energy expenditure.
It should also be noted that coconut oil causes a feeling of fullness and people who eat it regularly tends to eat less. This might explain why so many Asians thrive on coconut oil and have very few obesity problems. This, in turn, lessens the chance of diabetes, heart disease, and several other sicknesses that plague North Americans.
Coconut oil has the rare quality of being fat that can be consumed to actually help lose weight.
COCONUT OIL AND SENIORS
Many seniors deal with obesity and for them, obesity is much more serious than for someone who is in their twenties or thirties. Certainly, obesity isn’t really good for anyone health-wise, but seniors are most susceptible to diabetes and heart disease.
Many studies have confirmed that consuming coconut oil can reduce these two diseases because it reduces abdominal fat. Another name for this fat is visceral fat or better known perhaps as belly fat. Belly fat is the fat that lodges itself around a person’s organs and in the process causes inflammation, heart disease, and diabetes.
In other words, if a senior suffering from obesity were to incorporate around three tablespoons of coconut oil into the diet on a regular basis, the reduction in body fat would likely be very positive for their metabolic health. So in effect, they can increase longevity and drastically reduce the risk of chronic disease.
HOW DO YOU COOK WITH COCONUT OIL?
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How do you use coconut oil in the kitchen? Let me count the ways. As an endurance athlete for most of my adult life, I was always looking for ways to train, compete, and recover more efficiently. It was almost two decades ago when I learned the value of coconut oil for athletes.
I was a triathlete and a marathoner. I usually raced at about 150-152 pounds for years. So one season I decided to try a coconut oil experiment. I thought I was as light as I would ever get and I was going to see if coconut oil actually made me lighter.
I used about four tablespoons a day in cooking. You don’t even have to use it in cooking if you don’t want to. You can just consume it by the spoonful if you like. However, I enjoyed cooking and experimented extensively with different ways of cooking with coconut oil.
Any time something I was cooking or baking called for butter, margarine, or cooking oil, I replaced it with coconut oil. I had oatmeal for breakfast most mornings during my racing career and would put coconut oil in it.
I put coconut oil in my pasta sauce, pasta, fried eggs in it, and added it to my smoothies.
The uses in the kitchen are almost endless and in most cases, only limited by one’s imagination. It’s really very easy to consume 3-5 tablespoons a day, and as I said, it’s not all that bad tasting and some people just take it straight up.
Just be sure to buy the very best organic coconut oil. It’s expensive, but if it increases your longevity and improves quality of life, it’s worth every cent. The best option for saving money on coconut oil is buying in larger quantities. In most cases, Amazon has lower prices than health food stores.
I don’t really need studies to show that coconut oil is pretty incredible. In five weeks I lost six pounds that I never in a million years thought I could lose. I got as low as 144 pounds from my usual 150-151.
That might not seem like much except I didn’t have much body fat to start with. Imagine running a marathon with a five or six-pound bag of potatoes under your arm and all of a sudden it was gone? It may seem insignificant, but it sure wasn’t. I raced better, felt better, and recovered better.
I also found that it was true that coconut oil does tend to suppress the appetite which is also a plus if you are looking for extra pounds to lose.
There is no doubt in my mind that it works because I tried it first hand. I would highly recommend that it become a staple item in the kitchen of all North Americans, especially seniors.
If you found this post on coconut oil and health benefits and why some fats are great informative, you might also enjoy this article on the benefits of eating carrots.