Coconut Oil: The New Super Food?
It’s become one of the most talked about foods on the Internet, with some calling it a “super food.” Coconut oil is said to slow aging, help your heart and thyroid, protect against disease and assist you in losing weight. Still, organizations such as the American Heart Association continue to caution consumers against all tropical oils, including coconut oil. So what’s the real story?
For most Americans, coconut oil was something we never heard of. Now, it’s becoming more of a staple cooking oil in many homes. The reason is that its unique combination of fatty acids has been found to have positive effects on health. Plus, coconut oil contains antioxidants, known to protect us from cell damage, aging and disease.
This might sound scary – coconut oil is mostly saturated fat. We’ve all been told to avoid saturated fat. However, the saturated fat in coconut oil is not the average run-of-the-mill saturated fat that you would find in cheese or steak. The fat in coconut oil contains Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) – which are fatty acids of a medium length.
So, what does that mean? Well, medium-chain fatty acids are metabolized differently. They go straight to the liver from the digestive tract, where they’re used as a quick source of energy. Which can help you burn fat and lose weight.
Of course, it may sound a little strange that weight loss can come from eating something that’s pretty high in calories. One tablespoon of coconut oil contains an average of 117 calories and 13 grams of fat. But, what you weigh is not just a matter of calories; it’s the quality and the source of those calories. It’s a fact that different foods affect our bodies and hormones in different ways. The bottom line- a calorie is not a calorie.
And, body fat is not just body fat. Coconut oil appears to be especially effective in reducing abdominal fat, which makes itself at home in the abdominal cavity and crowds around organs. Abdominal fat is thought to be the most dangerous fat of all and is associated with many diseases, like diabetes. Two studies, one with 40 women, another with 20 obese men, found that including an ounce of coconut oil in their diet each day led to a pretty significant reduction in abdominal fat. And the test subjects did not change their eating or exercise habits. They just added in coconut oil.
So what about the cautions from the American Heart Association? Well, it’s mostly about moderation; the Association would like you to limit your saturated fat intake to no more than 16 grams a day. And, like any oil, you should use coconut oil in moderation.
However, not all coconut oil is created equal. Avoid the refined coconut oil; go for the organic virgin coconut oil. It’s probably sitting right there on your grocery store shelf. There are a variety of brands with a range of prices.
And, once you try it, you might want to look into all the other uses for coconut oil. Like, hair conditioner, toothpaste, moisturizer, makeup remover; the list goes on. For some people, coconut oil is a “miracle” they can’t live without.