Coconut oil is one of the most versatile oils. Once denounced as unhealthy, it is celebrating a comeback as one of the healthiest oils.
What is coconut oil?
Coconut oil is a naturally occurring vegetable oil. It is obtained from pressing the pulp from coconuts. Coconut oil is made up of 99% saturated fatty acids which are bound in triglycerides.
Wait a minute! Aren't saturated fatty acids unhealthy? There are several different types of saturated fat and not all of them are unhealthy. Medium chain fatty acids belong to the group of saturated fats, but they have some very different properties. They are easy to digest and are water soluble.
Taken in through our diets these medium chain fatty acids are transported through the bloodstream straight to the liver. This transforms the medium chain fatty acids into ketones, which in turn provide for long term brain power. Coconut oil is pure brain food!
Coconut oil does not contain trans fats This makes it an interesting alternative to man-made fats and butter. Cow's milk naturally contains trans fats. Calves do need these fats, but people don't. So if you want to reduce your trans fat intake, coconut oil is a great alternative.
The properties of medium chain fatty acids
Since saturated fats have long been decried as unhealthy, the research on medium chain fatty acids is just beginning.
There are several different types of medium chain fatty acids. These include lauric, caprylic, caproic and capric acid. Of these, lauric acid has been researched. It turns out that it not only provides energy, but also actively works to fight bacteria, viruses and fungi, restricting their growth or killing them. In addition, all medium chain fatty acids are excellent for use in skin care.
The four fatty acids mentioned above form around 60 to 71% of coconut oil. There is no other edible oil that has a higher naturally occurring proportion of medium chain fatty acids.
How to use coconut oil
In the kitchen, coconut oil is a true jack of all trades. It can be used as a spread or replace a portion of conventional oil in mayonnaise and dressings. It does need to be heated to 24 degrees Celsius to be liquidized. At a cooler point it is solid.
You can use coconut oil as an ingredient for soups, cereals, shakes, smoothies or desserts. Thanks to its very high smoke point, it is also suitable for roasting, baking and steaming and it gives your food an exotic flavor.
It is best to use high-quality, cold-pressed and virgin coconut oil from organic farming.This means you ensure that you receive only the highest quality oil.