I'm here to share something rather exciting with you after my rant over sugar and fats and not only the average person's misconception of both but many of those that are suppose to be 'in the know' about such things (ahem Heart Foundation). Any body - and I mean this both in the individual and the collective sense - who is willing to give a big fat red tick to the 'healthiest' burger on the McDonalds menu is in need of some serious education.
Anywhooo... what is exciting is that Coconut and everything associated with the mystical nut is SO SO SO good for you!
The smart cookie's in charge of Valvoline's ad campaigns were onto more than they could possibly imagine when they came up with 'Oils ain't Oils', because its true that not all Fats are created equal.
Of course, I know the amazing health benefits of using coconut oil may not be news to most of you, and its true that with a little googling and health food shopping you've probably discovered Hooodies (that's pronounced Whoodies - as in healthy foodies)touting the stuff everywhere as the newest cure all. Its been reported to aid in weight loss, aid digestive function, improve heart health, support immunity, boost thyroid function and generally make your life amazing. However, as its such a new concept, I think people find it difficult to wrap their heads around the fact that this product, known to be so ridiculously high in saturated fats, is in fact one of the best things you can include in your diet.
So here's a bit of the science behind it, but firstly, you have to realize that our bodies are far more complex than you imagine, the way we process the things we ingest aren't categorized into carbs, protein and fats as previously thought. So, with that in mind, here is what makes this oil different from the rest...
Its essentially a compound called Lauric Acid, which makes up nearly 50% of the fat in coconut oil, and is almost never found to be naturally occurring in nature. The body converts lauric acid into a substance known as monolaurin which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa properties. By contrast, most common vegetable and seed oils that we often cook with are made of long-chain fatty acids or triglycerides, which are large molecules the body finds hard to break down, therefore causing them to be stored as FAT.
Lauric acid are MEDIUM-CHAIN FATTY ACIDS (within the saturated fat spectrum), being smaller they are digested more easily and immediately burned in the liver for energy - much like CARBS but MINUS THE INSULIN! - which is a HUGE positive. It actually works in the reverse, to BOOST your metabolism and coax the body into using fat as a source of energy. The story behind how this was found out is great, as back in the 1940's farmers discovered this fact after trying to use inexpensive coconut oil to fatten their livestock - which FAILED to work!
Extra-virgin olive oil is often seen as one of the best oils in the world, IT IS. There is a catch though... sorry, you had to see this coming. This great mono-unsaturated fat is gorgeous in its raw state, or heated slightly, but brought to cooking temperature changes its molecular structure, and what you end up consuming is a hydrogenated, or trans-fat, depending on how heated it has become. Ultimately, this means its undergone oxidative damage, and oxidative damage means free-radicals for our bodies.
Most Vegetable oils have been genetically modified, this includes more than 90% of soy, corn, and canola oils. This contributes to an over-abundance of damaged omega-6 fats in the diet... NO WONDER WE ALL HAVE TO TAKE 3-6 CAPSULES OF FISH OIL EVERYDAY, as it throws off our omega-6 to omega-3 ratios leading to numerous chronic degenerative diseases.
Current medical opinion is that consuming saturated fats will almost certainly lead to an elevation of cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease, however, much of the well-conducted research seems to conclude that VIRGIN-COCONUT OIL does NOT have this effect.
As medium chain fatty acids are readily used by the liver, it does not participate in the biosynthesis and transport of CHOLESTEROL - YAYYYY! It is also the BEST oil to use in cooking, as it remains absolutely stable in high high temperatures - YAYYY!
EAT SOME COCONUT! COCONUT MILK! CONONUT CREAM! COCONUT OIL! COCONUT BUTTER! Doing your body a favour by its many physical benefits, doing your soul a favour through its rich amazing flavour and texture and nourishing you inside and out.
A couple of recipes to come soon for Coconut Nutella and Sweet Potato Brownies with Chocolate Avocado Frosting (This is not a joke and I dare you to make them and find out for yourself just how amazing they are, like an Arnott's Monte in Brownie form)