Much of the negative hoopla came when research on coconut oil in the past was conducted not on virgin coconut oil, but on hydrogenated coconut oil. Hydrogenated coconut oil has been processed and altered from its original form.
Plainly said, coconut oil contains GOOD, heart-healthy fats. Just like olive oil or canola oil.
Modern research shows that the medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) help to increase metabolism, and are more easily digested than fats found in other oils. This is because they are processed directly in the liver and immediately converted into energy. There is therefore less strain on the liver, pancreas and digestive system and these MCFA provide the body with a wonderful, quick source of energy.
It is also true that coconut oil can withstand very high temperatures, making it an ideal oil to cook with. This cannot be said of olive oil, which does not retain its chemical make up when subjected to even lower-heat cooking, which negates its main nutritional purpose in the dish.
Ok, ok. So virgin coconut oil is great to cook with, and is a healthy fat. But what else does it do? Actually, quite a bit. Here is a list of ailments which can be helped with coconut oil (explainations thanks to (Coconut Connections)) :
- Thyroid disease (For the hypothyroid sufferer the MCFA's speed up the body's sluggish metabolism and promote weight loss as well.)
- Weight problems (See above. Also, replacing long chain fatty acids with medium chain fatty acids results in a decrease in body weight gain and a reduction in fat deposition.)
- Bowel disease (MCFA's in coconut oil are digested and absorbed)
- Candida (Lauric acid in virgin coconut oil kills lipid-coated bacteria, but does not appear to harm the friendly intestinal bacteria. The MCFA's also have antifungal properties so not only will they kill disease-causing bacteria and leave good bacteria alone, they will also kill candida and other fungi in the intestinal tract, further supporting a healthy intestinal environment.)
- Chronic Fatigue (The MCFA's are absorbed quickly by the tissues and converted into energy.)
- Diabetes (Not only does it not contribute to diabetes, but it helps regulate blood sugar, thus lessening the effects of the disease. coconut oil puts less of a demand on the enzyme production of the pancreas. This lessens the stress on the pancreas during mealtime when insulin is produced most heavily, thus allowing the organ to function more efficiently. Coconut Oil also helps supply energy to cells because it is easily absorbed without the need of enzymes or insulin. It has been shown to improve insulin secretion and utilisation of blood glucose. Coconut oil in the diet enhances insulin action and improves binding affinity compared to other oils.)
- HIV and AIDS (It has an anti-viral effect and can beneficially reduce the viral load of HIV patients.)
- Parasites (MCFA is helpful in destroying giardia and possibly other protozoa. It is also used to remove tapeworms.)
- Skin conditions (It has antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal properties. It also moisturizes and provides vital anti-oxidents to the skin.)
So spread some virgin coconut oil on on your toast instead of butter, sautee your veggies in it, and slather it on your skin and in your hair. Your body will thank you for it.