Just like we can’t remember a time pre smart phones, it’s almost hard to remember the days when the benefits of coconut oil were singular – a killer tan – and the only way we ate coconut was in the form of a colada or candy bar.
We used to be afraid of fats in general and coconut has the – dare we spoke of – saturated fats. Fortunately, we smartened up and learned that some fats are healthy. And, then, we got even smarter and learned that even some saturated fats are healthy.
While coconut is high in fat, the type of fat in coconuts is a good form of saturated fat, medium chain triglycerides (MCTs).
Plus, many coconut products found in grocery stores today are not the same as the coconut products used in the past that were highly processed and/or loaded with sugar. Today, there are more pure and healthier options available.
So, no, you can’t run out and grab a Mounds bar for your snack today, but you definitely should be stocking your pantry with loads of other coconut products.
A breakdown of the coconut
The white part, or meat, of the coconut is what gives us coconut oil and milk. When the meat is soaked and pressed, the liquid that comes out is coconut milk. Coconut oil also comes from the meat – it is extracted from the meat either by pressing or by using chemicals.
Famous as nature’s sports drink, coconut water is the liquid found inside the coconut.
3 Incredible Benefits of Coconut Oil
1. It’s good for your heart
Coconut oil is full of saturated fats and is solid at room temperature like butter or cheese. Normally, if a fat is solid at room temp, we think of it as more likely to be solid in your blood, which is generally linked to raising your bad cholesterol and increasing risk for heart disease. Not so in this case, so don’t get scared. One of the benefits of coconut oil is that the saturated fats help raise your good, HDL, cholesterol and lower triglycerides, helping to protect your heart.
Remember, coconut oil has a similar calorie and fat count to olive oil. One tablespoon has 122 calories. I’m no calorie counter, but you can’t ignore this completely. You’ll want to replace other fats, like butter in baked goods or on toast or use in a stir fry instead of another oil. But, don’t go putting coconut oil everywhere with a heavy hand. It’s still easily over consumed.
2. Coconut aids in weight loss
Another benefit of coconut oil is that it can help with weight loss because it provides satiety like other fats. In other words, it helps you feel satisfied. The MCTs in coconut oil are also readily used for energy versus being stored as fat like other types of fat. I always recommend a little bit of fat at every meal to help you feel full and for the health benefits. Again, just remember to swap out another fat, don’t just add this in.
3. Coconut is anti-bacterial
One of my other favorite benefits of coconut oil is that it’s loaded with lauric and caprylic acid, both of which have antibacterial properties. These compounds play a role in preventing acne, boosting immune function and fighting infection. Lauric acid converts to monolaurin in the body helping to kill bacteria. On the skin, monolaurin creates a protective layer helping to fight acne.
When buying coconut oil look for organic and cold pressed. Cold pressed means that no chemicals have come in contact with your oil. When buying milk look for organic, not from concentrate. You also want to read the ingredients list and make sure there are no flavorings or added sugar.