Coconut and the tropical fats developed an unjustly negative reputation in the 50’s, when it was first put forth by the experts that consuming saturated fat would inevitably lead to heart disease. Tropical fats were quickly pushed out of the American food system and replaced with refined vegetable oils like peanut, soy and corn oils. Americans dutifully cut down on saturated fat consumption but they replaced many of those missing calories with calories from carbohydrates, mostly refined, which have led us to the current situation in which we are experiencing an obesity epidemic.
Fast forward to the present and tropical oils are enjoying a newfound place as a health-food as a result of newer more sophisticated research. Turns out that the saturated fats in coconut oil are dominated by MCT’s or medium chain fatty acids that burn quickly as fuel, are anti-microbial, anti-fungal and improve the absorption of minerals. They have had promising early research demonstrating a positive effect on lipid profiles.
Coconut oil is more stable as a cooking oil than olive oil and can be used in high heat cooking without going being damaged by the heat. As a side-note is best not to use olive oil to cook with, as heat destroys the healthy properties of the oil. Instead, drizzle it over foods after they are cooked and use a more stable oil like , coconut oil or ghee for higher heat cooking.
The MCT’s (medium chain tryglicerides) in coconut oil are processed differently by the body than long-chain fatty acids are, so they convert more quickly to energy for the body and are not stored as fat. That is remarkable when you think about it – you can eat fat to lose fat, especially if you use this super-fat in place of carbs! Athletes know about this quick energy source, and they use MCT’s to fuel athletic performance. You can add virgin raw coconut oil (available in the oils section of New Seasons) to oatmeal, spread it on toast, melt it in with mashed sweet potato or mix it in hot tea. Work up to 1-3 tablespoons per day.
Join in the spring cleanse for more ideas on how to use coconut oil – Info Night is Wednesday April 3, 7pm and the cleansing will begin the following Saturday!
To your best health!
Cassandra Mick, CNE