The use of coconut oil l has grown incredibly rapidly over the past couple of years. From using it as a moisturiser, cleanser, or natural hair softener, to cooking with it and using it as an ingredient in vegan cooking; coconut oil is everywhere, and it seems it can be used for almost anything….
A wonderful alternative to chemical-based products, coconut oil is certainly beneficial when used on the body, but when we ingest it, what it does inside the body is pretty incredible too. Boosting metabolism and energy production, as well as helping stabilise blood sugar levels and hormone imbalances, and raising HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol levels, are just a few of the benefits it provides. Despite being a saturated fat (which as a culture, we’ve feared since the whole ‘low fat’ craze swept across the Western world and saw us swapping real whole foods for ‘low fat’ processed ready meals), coconut oil is a good fat, and can actually be very helpful in reducing body fat.
Rhonda Patrick, founder of the blog and podcast Found My Fitness, explains in a little more detail how beneficial consuming coconut oil is:
In contrast [to plant oils and animal fats] medium chain fatty acids found in coconut oil are absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) with ease, they do not require any pancreatic enzymes to break them down, which means less work for your pancreas. Next, medium chain fatty acids are transported to the portal blood stream, directly to the liver, where they go directly into mitochondria independent of the carnitine palmitoyl transferase, and are immediately oxidized for energy. Medium chain fatty acids from coconut oil do not get packaged into lipoproteins, and do not get transported to a variety of tissues and are not stored as body fat, they go directly to the liver and are metabolized for energy.1 The bottom line is that medium chain fatty acids from coconut oil produces almost exclusively energy, whereas, long chain fatty acids found in all other dietary fats, are stored as body fat (and some energy).
Lowering levels of inflammation, aiding in relief from IBS and constipation, gallstones and helping the body absorb more fat-soluble minerals like vitamin A, D, E and K, so essentially, if you want to be able to absorb the benefits of things like carrots, kale, and mushrooms, cook them lightly in coconut oil! A bonus? It doesn’t spoil at high temperatures (unlike olive oil and most other plant oils.
To help you make the most of this wonder oil, here are a few ways to use coconut oil in the kitchen:
- Use it to stir fry with
- Add a couple of tea spoons to a roasting tray for roasting sweet potato, carrots and beetroot
- Add a tbsp. to a smoothie to make it more satisfying, and more nutritionally dense
- Mix a tbsp. of coconut oil with a tbsp. of chia seeds for a super satisfying and long-lasting energy boost
- Add a tea spoon to soup to help make it more filling, and aid in better nutrient absorption.
- Add it to your coffee for a serious brain and body energy boost (find out why in tomorrow’s blog post!)
Try it for yourself, and let us know if you have other tasty ways of using coconut oil!