Coconut oil has made the journey from villain to victor in the health food world.
What used to be deemed an evil saturated fat, dangerous for anyone worried about heart disease and high blood pressure, has become a healing nourishing substance soaring in popularity.
How did such a drastic change come about? What made people change their minds about the numerous benefits of coconut oil?
This story is tied in with the saturated fat myth that to this day runs rampant spreading misconceptions.
The myth that saturated fats makes you fat, came about in the late 1970’s. People were led to believe from health authorities that foods high in saturated fat were to be avoided. Foods such as butter, egg yolks, animal fats and, of course, coconut oil.
The premise behind this notion is that saturated fat would raise LDL cholesterol, which in turn would clog the arteries and lead to heart diseases. Many studies were done, however they all had one fatal flaw.
The studies showing a link between saturated fats and heart disease were also grouping trans fats into the same category. Trans fats are fat molecules which have literally been transformed, such as the hydrogenation process vegetable oils undergo to become margarine.
Trans fatty acids can be linked to heart disease and other health problems, but it certainly isn’t fair to put naturally occurring saturated fats in the same category.
Since the hay day of the saturated fat myth, more and more scientific evidence is being released to prove just the opposite. Many indigenous cultures around the world value saturated fats for their nourishing properties.
The Maasai tribe in Africa drink full fat raw milk in abundance, in China women who can afford to are encouraged to eat up to 10 eggs per day.
Take a look at the Inuit of Northern Canada, they used to survive harsh winters eating mainly seal blubber and fish. Modern science is starting to see that the diets of our ancestors were far more balanced, you didn’t have any incidence of the diseases we are facing today.
Ancestral diet has a huge role to play in this, and as you can see, our ancestors weren’t afraid of a little fat.
Over 50 Coconut Oil Uses – Some Might Surprise You
1. Coconut Oil for Cooking
Coconut oil is a great fat to cook with because it’s structure remains intact when heated. It doesn’t produce harmful by-products like most common cooking oils. (1)
2. Coconut Oil as a Substitute for Butter
Use coconut oil to replace butter in recipes, you can make anything from pie crust to brownies, rich sauces and curries. The flavor isn’t overbearing but you may get a faint tropical taste, most recipes that use any spices will cover up the taste of the coconut oil.
3. Great for Vegan and Paleo
Coconut oil is a key ingredient in most vegan raw pies and paleo treats, because it solidifies at room temperature (77f) it keeps treats firmly intact, giving them a great texture and taste (2).
4. Nutritional Food Booster
Add coconut oil to smoothies to make the nutrients in your fruits and vegetables more absorbable and also aid in balancing blood sugar. If you’re eating steamed veggies, be sure to generously coat them in coconut oil and good sea salt as the fat soluble vitamins will absorb far more efficiently (3).
5. Make Decadent Chocolate Treats
Mix with equal parts cacao powder and honey for a natural chocolate sauce, or allow it to set in the fridge in molds for healthy homemade chocolate treats.
6. Stimulant Free Appetite Suppressant
Take a tsp. of coconut oil before meals to feel more satiated. This may be because of the way fats are metabolized in the body. Science has revealed that ketones (that are produced when you consume coconut oil) can lead to increased appetite reducing effects.
7. Helps to Balance Hormones
Coconut oil is a healthy nourishing fat for providing your adrenals and thyroid with real nourishment for more balanced hormone levels.
8. More Energy and Boosts Metabolism
The MCT’s (medium chain triglycerides) in coconut oil create a sustained energy release for long term energy and also help boost metabolism and speed fat loss. Medium chain fatty acids aren’t stored as fat in the body, they are utilized immediately by the liver as a source of energy .
9. Balances Blood Sugar
Coconut oil releases over the course of many hours in the body, providing a solid energy source to help sustain blood sugar levels. A 2010 issue of the “Indian Journal of Pharmacology” published an animal study which discovered a diet supplemented with coconut oil led to improved glucose tolerance levels, as well as decreasing total cholesterol levels. Researchers said attributed effect to the presence of lauric acid, an MCT, in coconut oil. No more roller coaster ride once you’ve incorporated this healing fat in your day to day life.
10. Boosts Brain Function
11. Treating Cold Sores
The anti viral compounds in coconut oil help to heal cold sores faster and also provide pain relief.
12. Soothes Sore Throat
Melt a tsp. of coconut oil in hot lemon water to soothe an itchy irritated throat. This will differ from person to person and most evidence was anecdotal.
13. Treament for Ear Aches and Infection
Simmer a bit of coconut oil with a garlic clove and use this anti bacterial (15) oil in the ear.
14. Treatment for Candida Overgrowth
Candida Albicans is a yeast and a parasite which steals vital energy from the body. The lauric acid in coconut oil helps kill off candida.
15. Increase Immune Health
Roughly half the fat in coconut oil is lauric acid, a substance that converts into monolaurin, a monoglyceride which can annihilate lipid coated viruses, gram-negative bacteria and protozoa. Making it an effective treatment for ailments such as herpes virus, giardia lamblia, HIV and measles just to name a few.
16. Coconut Oil for Better Digestion
Taking coconut oil with a meal can help digestion as it lubricates the digestive tract allowing digested food to pass through much easier.
17. Fights Parasites
Lauric acid in coconut oil is anti parasitic, anti fungal, anti viral and anti bacterial, it helps create an inhospitable environment for those nasty parasites.
18. Effectively Heals Burns
You can use coconut oil to heal burns faster and provide instant soothing relief.
19. Treating Ulcers
Coconut oil helps to rebuild the gut walls and provides a mucilaginous effect to aid in easily digesting and passing food.
20. Getting Rid of Lice When Combine With Anise Seed Extract
One study showed that combined these are more effecting than the common lice treatment permethrin.
Coconut oil has been shown to reduce inflammation in animal testing. Researchers also found that coconut oil has moderate analgesic activity and can help reduce swelling and relieve pain.
22. Reduces Fever
The same study as mentioned above also showed coconut oil to be effective in reducing fever. Ayurveda also deemed coconut oil to be a cooling oil long before modern medicine entered the scene.
23. Boosts Testosterone and Reduces Swollen Prostate in Animal Studies
One of the best foods for healthy hormones, not only is coconut oil useful in regulating the thyroid and adrenal glands but it’s also been found to lessen the incidence of prostate cancer. Can coconut oil boost your metabolism and brain function, increase your immune health and reduce fever? Here are over 50 more coconut oil benefits backed by science.
Chantelle is passionate about food and natural medicine. Her blog, www.nakedcuisine.com is all about exploring and celebrating the goodness of food through wholesome paleo recipes that maximize nourishment and supporting her local food system. She sees healthy eating as a gateway into the body and spirit as well as an opportunity to take a proactive approach to holistic wellness. Chantelle has studied in the fields of nutrition, herbalism, yoga and cooking. She is a passionate mama working at trying to create a better world for the next generation.