We’ve had a love hate or rather love hate love relationship with coconut oil over the last 100 years. At first perple were consuming coconut normally then in the last 60 years, the majority of health care officials and the media have been telling the public that saturated fats are bad for your health and that it can lead to a long list of negative consequences, like elevated cholesterol, obesity, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Now for the past 5 to 10 years after years of research and a number of studies they have been telling us that coconut oil is actually good for you. This is because studies has proven that the saturated fats in coconut oil is actually good for humans and does not have all the dreadded consequences. On the contrary coconut oil has been rumored to slow aging, help your heart and thyroid, protect against illnesses like Alzheimerâ€™s, arthritis and diabetes, and even help you lose weight.
Facts about Fats
Most of the calories in coconut oil comes from fats, and mostly saturated fats. This is because Coconut oil is about 90% saturated fat, this percentage number is higher than butter (which is about 64% saturated fat), beef fat (40%), or even lard (also 40%). It is no secret that too much saturated fat is bad for your health because it raises the LDL cholesterol levels, LDL is what is referred to as bad-cholesterol. Increase in LDL means an increased risk of heart disease. Based on this theory one would think that coconut oil is bad for you but wait there is more to the coconut’s secret.
You see coconut oil is also known to increase HDL cholesterol aka good-cholesterol. But that’s not all. It’s also important to understand what type of saturated fat is in coconut oil. Coconut oilâ€™s saturated fat is made up mostly of medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs. The way our body handles MCTs is different from how it handles the longer-chain fats. Understanding the difference between these two will give you a hint to why coconut oil has so many health benefits even tho it’s loaded with saturated fats.
The Medium Chain fatty acids found in coconut oil produce a many health benefits and it just so happens that coconut oil is nature’s richest source of these healthy MCFAs. On the contrary many of the other common vegetable or seed oils is made up of mostly long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs), also known as long-chain triglycerides or LCTs(LCFAs – long chain fatty acids). The list below breaks down exactly why the MCFAs are healthy for the body and why the LCFAs are not as healthy.
Benefits of the Medium Chain Fatty Acids in Coconut Oil:
- MCFAs found in coconut oil have many health benefits, including the following beneficial qualities:
- MCFAs are smaller. They permeate cell membranes easily, and do not require special enzymes to be utilized effectively by your body.
- MCFAs are easily digested, thus putting less strain on your digestive system.
- MCFAs are sent directly to your liver, where they are immediately converted into energy rather than being stored as fat.
- MCFAs actually help stimulate your body’s metabolism, leading to weight loss.
Effects of LCFAs found in a large percentage in other oils:
- LCFAs are difficult for your body to break down — they require special enzymes for digestion.
- LCFAs put more strain on your pancreas, liver, and your entire digestive system.
- LCFAs are predominantly stored in your body as fat.
- LCFAs can be deposited within your arteries in lipid forms such as cholesterol.
Coconut oil also contain many antioxidants and other substances, so it’s overall benefit to your health is numerous and will affect you on many levels so start drinking coconut oil today and if possible start cooking with it ;).