Gone are the days of frying up your brekkie in heaps of oil. In what seems to be a fast becoming ‘fat-fearing’ society, many of us are choosing to avoid the fats found oils – without stopping to consider that some of them actually have countless health benefits, including weight loss.
Coconut oil is one such oil. It’s one of those underrated power foods that has been around for ages but has only started gaining momentum outside of the ‘health community’ in recent years. Aside from increasing metabolic function, coconut oil has been said to boost immunity, promote healthy, youthful skin, and even help fight against chronic diseases such as heart disease and arthritis. It’s also been sworn upon by health and beauty icon Miranda Kerr who, “will not go a day without it”.
Still not convinced about the benefits of coconut oil? Read on to discover more of its great health benefits…
Why coconut oil is a ‘good’ fat
The benefits of coconut oil are quite contradictory. It’s classified as a saturated fat, yet strangely enough, it promotes weight loss. So, how can this be? Due to coconut oil’s high saturated fat content (around 94 per cent), it has unfairly been associated with the ‘bad’ saturated fat we find in animal products. However coconut oil’s saturated fat is made up of something different – it contains medium-chain fatty acids, unlike animal fat, which contains long-chain fatty acids. This means the fat is immediately absorbed or metabolised by the body, rather than being stored as fatty tissue. Unlike transaturated fatty acids, the fat in coconut oil is sent straight to the liver to be converted to energy to fuel brain and muscle function.
How coconut oil aids weight loss
Coconut oil supports thyroid function, which means it increases your metabolic rate, helping break down food faster and thereby contributing to weight loss. An increased metabolic rate will also mean that your body burns kilojoules at a higher rate, which means that you’ll burn energy without even knowing it. Unlike other saturated fats (such as those found in fast foods), coconut oil does not contain any cholesterol, so it poses no risk to developing conditions such as obesity and heart diseases. In fact the fatty acids found in natural, non-hydrogenated coconut oil increase the ‘good’ cholesterol in the body, which actually helps to protect against heart disease.
How coconut oil helps to stop sugar cravings
Because coconut oil is so nutrient rich, it helps curb cravings by keeping you feeling fuller for longer. This is because good quality fats are more satiating than simple carbohydrates (including sugars), so you’re less likely to feel hungry or unsatisfied after a meal if it includes good fats. Try incorporating coconut oil into your diet by using it in cooking (such as stir fries), as a healthy alternative to butter in baking, in salad dressings, or even (as Miranda Kerr suggests), putting a teaspoon in some green tea for a cup of tea that overflowes with health benefits.
The benefits of cooking with coconut oil
In terms of cooking, coconut oil is said to be one of the best and safest oils to use. This is because it has a high ‘smoke point’, meaning that the structure of the oil does not alter when heated to high temperatures. Olive oil on the other hand, whilst great for things like salad dressings and dips, is susceptible to heat damage due to its lower smoke point, which means that when heated to high temperatures, the heart-healthy benefits of the oil are compromised and even reversed. So the next time you want get your cook on, go at it with some coconut oil and rest assured that your meal will remain healthy and tasty!
Have you ever used coconut oil (in cooking or in beauty products)? What are your thoughts on it now that you’ve read about all these amazing benefits?