Coconut oil is a saturated fat, but not all saturated fats are created the same. Coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acids, which means that it immediately transports into energy in the body rather than clog up the arteries. Other types of saturated fats are those found in convenience foods – hydrogenated fats are liquid fats hardened to add texture and taste to foods. As well as being a healthy oil to eat, coconut oil is excellent for the hair, skin, and nails. It can treat dandruff, due to its anti-fungal properties from the lauric acid, which converts into monolaurin in the body.
The media do a great job of telling us the ‘healthiest’ foods to consume, and for a long time coconut oil was avoided because it is a saturated fat. However, researchers have since discovered that coconut oil has marvelous health-giving properties.
Question the Health Benefits of Your Usual Vegetable Oil
The usual vegetable oils that you may have heard of and cook with include sunflower, soybean and corn oil, but they are not the healthiest oil to cook with. They contain omega-6 fatty acids and heating the oil to high temperatures can release harmful toxins. In addition, vegetable oils contain a different fat chemical structure; so long chain fatty acids are difficult for the body to break down, release toxins, and can result in weight gain.
Coconut oil is produced by extracting the meat from mature coconuts, and although it is a saturated fat, its properties differ from other saturated fat oils. Health experts tout coconut oil as one of the healthiest oils on earth. It is especially healthy when used for cooking, as it will not releases harmful toxins like that of extra virgin olive oil, which is healthy when doused on salad, but will release harmful oxidants when heated to high temperatures. Virgin coconut oil is a far healthier choice as it can be heated to very high temperatures without oxidizing. Medium chain fatty acids, like those contained in coconut oil, are converted to energy in the body and are not stored as fat.
How to Choose the Right Coconut Oil Variety
There are two types of coconut oil, the virgin coconut oil and copra-based coconut oil. Although they may sound the same, they differ greatly. Coconut oil made from copra does not provide the health benefits of virgin coconut oil. Copra based coconut oil should not be used for baking or cooking, however it is a reliable source in soap making and skincare.
You will be able to tell the difference between a virgin coconut oil brand and copra-based coconut oil due to the scent. Virgin coconut oil has a delicate scent, but synthetic coconut oil is deodorised and may have the scent of coconut from added fragrance. This refinement removes all of the health benefits of virgin coconut oil.
Other Beneficial Coconut-Type Products
Coconut is known as the tree of life, as each part of the tree can be used. It is a staple food in many hot countries. Coconut oil is just one of the health properties derived from coconut. If you buy a coconut and crack it open, you will discover that it contains coconut water, which is a fantastic resource of energy for athletes due to its electrolyte content. The white meat is the second nutritious part of the coconut, as it contains beneficial nutrients and can be shredded and added to desserts and baking recipes. Coconut milk is mild and a great addition to spicy curry or soup.