In the western world the buzz started about coconut oil in the 2000s with the paleo and keto diet introduction. People believe it to be a good aid to fat loss and a great way to boost your metabolism.
In India (Southern India) people have been using coconut oil for centuries. It is used in day to day food preparations, making of sweets and delicacies and the breaking of the coconut ritual marks the start of any auspicious occasion.
Recently however Coconut oil has come under some heat especially after a Harvard medical professor named it as a poison and one of the worse things you can eat.
So is it really? And if it is then what are the alternatives?
1. Coconut oil contains triglycerides
High chain Triglycerides are a type of fat in your bloodstream. They are the type of fats that cause blocks in your arteries and lead to heart attacks and strokes. Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides that are easily digested by the body and are linked to many health benefits.
2. Smoke point
What is smoke point? When an oil is heated to a point where it starts to burn it is known as its smoke point. Heating an oil past its smoke point has some toxic effects. Free radicals are released and these can be very harmful to your body. So understanding which oils can be used for frying versus those to be consumed raw in salads is essential.
The smoke point of coconut oil is 170 degrees Celsius. High quality refined olive oil has a smoke point of 207 degrees Celsius.
3. Oils and Saturated fats
A study done on three types of oil : coconut oil, butter and beef fat oil found that coconut oil to be the highest in unhealthy saturated fats and beef fat oil to be the least saturated. Consuming a diet high in saturated fats can increase your chances of heart disease.
4. Lauric Acid
Lauric acid is a fatty acid that is in coconut oil. When digested by the body it kills pathogens and disease causing bacteria. Lauric acid is most popular for helping to prevent Atherosclerosis
Coconut oil yay or nay?
I believe that eating everything in moderation is the key to a balanced lifestyle.
Coconut oil is great because it has disease killing properties, but maybe not the best oil to heat to high temperatures. Coconut oil is high is saturated fats but also contains medium chain triglycerides that are easily digested by the body.
Personally I love me some coconut oil in my turmeric lattes the flavor and aroma gets me dreaming of white sandy beaches and exotic island paradises.
So what else could you use for cooking?
Ghee or clarified butter, great for a fry up this has a smoke point of 252 degrees celsius.
Some other good oils are avocado oil lovely and buttery this is high in vitamin E and loaded with omega 9 fatty acids.
Olive Oil is great for cooking. By adding rosemary or chili to olive oil you can really pack in some amazing flavors . I love infusing my own oils and adding them to dressings and using it as a seasoning.
Rice bran Oil is great for cooking with and I like to use it in my noodles and fried rice recipes for the lovely flavors it lends.
Coconut oil used externally?
Coconut oil warmed and used in hair as a mask is intensely moisturizing. It protects the hair from sun damage and also rids you of dandruff.
Coconut oil applied to skin is a fabulous moisturizer. It also acts as an anti bacterial shield and prevents ageing and wrinkles
Coconut oil pulling
Oil pulling or oil swishing involves swishing a couple of tablespoons of oil in your mouth for 10-20 minutes to cleanse and detox your mouth. This helps reduce inflammation, prevent heart disease,boost the immune system and much more.
With so many external benefits perhaps coconut oil is more apt for using externally? What do you reckon? You be the judge ….