Icelandic Fitness

weight loss

Coconut Oil: The New Superfood

Coconut Oil: The New Super Food?

coconut oil

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.

 

Jason Stone

Icelandic Fitness

 

5 Tips to Keep Off Weight this Holiday

christmascookies

Tempted by baked goodies at work and all those holiday dishes at parties and at home, its no wonder most folks gain weight and body fat during the holidays. Add in all the stresses of shopping, the kids home from school, the family gatherings, and you’re probably asking yourself- what’s wrong with just a little overindulgence?

Nothing. Surprised? Well, everyone deserves to celebrate the season. Just don’t make it a habit. And keep in mind these five tips that will help you navigate through all the treats and tinsel over the next couple of weeks.

1) Don’t panic. You’re going to overindulge. Don’t worry about what you did yesterday- make better food choices today. Think about lean protein and about cooking meals that you can stretch out over hectic days. Like, making extra chicken breasts that you can have tonight and then turn into chicken tacos tomorrow. One reason folks overeat during the holidays is that they have less time to cook. Don’t rely on fast food, it’s a sure fire way to gain weight no matter the season.

2) Eat breakfast. It fuels you up and keeps you going for hours. And, if you’re full, you’re not snacking or eating something you shouldn’t. Eat protein, like eggs or lean turkey. Throw in some Greek yogurt, which has more protein and vitamin D. Also- get some good complex carbs, like oatmeal. Complex carbs will stick with you longer. Oh- and remember to eat breakfast within a half hour of getting up. Think about it- you haven’t eaten since the night before. Your body needs fuel.

3. Snack smart. It’s 3 pm. Stay. Away. From. The. Vending. Machine. And, stay away from that plate of cookies your co-worker brought in. Be prepared with your own snacks from home, and make it a snack with some fat content, like seeds or nuts. It’s healthy fat that will help keep your blood sugar levels stable so you’re not starving at dinner and you don’t feel deprived.
4. Rethink your calories. Most folks eat the biggest meal of the day at dinner. Think about that. After dinner, you probably sit down, watch TV and then go to bed. Those calories aren’t going anywhere. But, if you change it up by eating more calories at breakfast and lunch, and fewer calories at dinner, you’ll feel fuller throughout the day, and have more opportunity to burn off more calories during the daylight hours.

5. Get or stay active. Try as much as possible to stick to your normal workout routine. You’ll feel better and it will help relive stress. On the days you can’t- take the stairs at work. Park farther away from the store when you’re out shopping. When the family’s in town, sign everyone up for a local 5k race. Most races allow you to run or walk, or do a combination of the two, so anyone can participate. Or, just grab everyone and go walk around the neighborhood. The secret is to just get up and move.

Hope you and yours have a Happy Holiday!

Jason Stone

Icelandic Fitness