Last week I went to the Turnham Green Health Food shop and talked to beautiful Holly about healthy cooking options.
One ingredient that has been recommended by many nutritionists lately is coconut oil – so I was really interested to hear how Holly praised its benefits.
Apparently it is full of healthy fats, as versatile as normal cooking oils and is even said to speed up the metabolism.
Now I'm not being sold with coconut oil as a body treatment – there are much more beneficial ingredients, but this was definitely worth further research …
Coconut oil is a medium-chain saturated fatty acid (MCFA) – a healthy form of saturated fatty acids that our bodies can metabolize and immediately convert into energy instead of storing it as fat.
Coconut oil is also one of the most abundant natural sources of lauric acid which has antiviral, antimicrobactric and antifungal properties.
Pure coconut oil consists of about 50% lauric acid – the only other natural source with such a high concentration is breast milk!
Lauric acid supports your natural immune system and is also said to help lower cholesterol for a healthy heart.
Amazingly, MCFAs have also been shown to help increase metabolism and help you maintain a healthy weight or even lose excess weight when combined with regular exercise and a balanced diet.
A 2009 weight loss study also found a relationship between women consuming coconut oil and a decrease in abdominal obesity (fat that is stored around the waist and abdomen).
It is believed that this weight loss is due in part to easy digestion and the ability of coconut oil to optimize the body's energy level.
Cooking with coconut oil
Now I am not saying that I should get rid of the olive oil permanently – it is still a fabulous fatty oil with great health benefits. The problem is, when we heat olive oil for cooking, most of these benefits go away.
Olive oil is relatively unstable and its healthy fatty acids seem to degrade at temperatures of only 180 ° C.
It is even more worrying that monounsaturated oils like olive oil oxidize even at high temperatures and generate free radicals which are then absorbed.
Unlike olive oil, coconut oil is very stable and has a high smoke point, which means that it can be heated to much higher temperatures without breaking down the fatty acids.
While it is solid at room temperature, it liquefies as soon as it comes into contact with heat – so you can use it just like any other oil.
Have you already switched to coconut oil? If so, please share your recipes in the comments!