Coconut oil has gotten a bad rap due to its high levels of saturated fats; however, not all saturated fats are created equal. A non-hydrogenated, naturally saturated oil – such as coconut oil – does not contain trans-fatty acids. Unlike other oils that alter when heated, coconut oil has the benefits of naturally stable properties, which make it perfect for cooking.
Coconut oil is mainly made up of medium-chain triglycerides, which don’t require energy to be absorbed, and can be quickly converted into energy.
Coconut oil is also a significant plant source of lauric acid. Many studies have shown that lauric acid contains anti-viral and bacterial properties, making it exceptionally beneficial for individuals with a weak immune system. Simple proof that lauric acid is beneficial is that it’s naturally occurring in mother’s milk, to prevent infants from being infected by viruses and bacteria. Yet another reason we should listen to Mother Nature!
Coconut oil is great for cooking at high heat, to a max temperature of 375°F/190°C. It’s also delicious for baking, and try tossing it in smoothies for extra fuel.
Make sure to purchase pure coconut oil! Some manufacturers use chemicals in the extraction process; pure organic coconut oil is always best choice.
Healthy fats and oils are part of a healthy diet. But, be careful with oils that should not be heated over a certain temperature, or you risk changing their composition. Stay away from anything hydrogenated and avoid trans-fats like the plague!
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Image courtesy of alex the greek on Flickr.