Versatile Coco: What Coconut can do for your Health?
As you walk through the aisles of the grocery store you get overwhelmed by all the different kinds of oils on the shelves. Ranging from the more pure and expensive oils – olive, sesame, avocado, almond, walnut – to the often manipulated and cheaper versions found in the form of soy, corn or canola. Some oils are better used when heated, others are best consumed cold. Coconut oil is one of these oils that have it all: affordable, unprocessed, and used warm or cold. Even if we look beyond price or temperature, coconut is even more versatile than any other oil.
First of all, coconut oil is a saturated fat that has been used in many traditional tropical populations as a source of immediate energy without raising blood sugar levels. The main reason for this is coconut oil’s consistency of medium-chain fatty acids or so-called MCT’s. These are a type of fatty acids that are easily digested and sent directly to your liver where it is not stored as fat but converted directly into energy. For this reason, coconut oil has also gained popularity in the athletic community to increase performance.
Furthermore, coconut oil has been used to ward off bacteria or viruses as well internally as externally. Coconut oil contains a big portion of lauric acid which when the oil is consumed converts into monolaurin and can work as an anti-virus and anti-bacterial remedy. Another component of coconut oil is capric acid which is known for its antimicrobial qualities. The skin, our largest organ in the body, can also be prone to bacteria, fungi and viruses. When coconut oil is applied to the skin it can help protect the skin and can even work as an antioxidant, protecting it from free radical damage. Moreover, coconut oil as skin care makes your skin smooth and supple.
Finally, coconut’s high saturated fat content is not a contributor in developing heart disease. In the 1930s a dentist Dr. Weston Price researched people’s diet who lived in the South Pacific. One of their daily key ingredients was coconut products as a source of achieving enough calories in the diet, however, not a single person experienced any cardiovascular problems. In 1981 comparable research was done on two groups of the population in Polynesia. This study that has been published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported good vascular health in both groups.
So why not make use of coconut oil’s multipurpose qualities instead of opting for oil that can only be used for cooking or used cold. Many oils are highly processed anyhow and not worth investing your money in or contribute to optimal health. So keep it simple and just look for coconut oil next time you are shopping and get overwhelmed by the amount of oils that are stacked on the shelves.