That’s what I was asking myself the last time I was in Costco and passed one of their giant displays of 3+ pound jars of it. I could see the white substance inside that was solid at room temperature. Oil?
Coconut oil is a saturated fat and we need to avoid saturated fats, right? I can’t count the times I have written in negative terms about the saturated fat content of various food items.
Nonetheless, I found myself intrigued by the coconut oil. So, I bought some.
When I got home, I learned some very positive things about coconut oil on the web.
Coconutoil.com says, “Coconut oil is an edible oil that has been consumed in tropical places for thousands of years. Studies done on native diets high in coconut oil consumption show that these populations are generally in good health, and don’t suffer as much from many of the modern diseases of western nations where coconut oil is seldom consumed anymore.”
That’s certainly a positive start.
Livestrong.com had especially good things to say about coconut oil for endurance athletes, like bike riders, “Raw coconut oil is different from most other oils because it has a high content of medium chain triglycerides – MCTs – which are also sometimes called medium chain fatty acids … according to Paul Insel, R. Elaine Turner and Don Ross, authors of ‘Discovering Nutrition.’ This means your body uses them for fuel immediately, unlike other types of fat. As a result products with coconut oil are popular with endurance athletes who need high-energy food.”
But what about those saturated fats?
Nutrition and You said, “The important saturated fatty acid in the coconut is lauric acid (1:12 carbon fatty acid). Lauric acid increases HDL cholesterol levels in the blood. HDL is a high-density lipoprotein, which has beneficial effects on the coronary arteries by preventing vessel blockade (atherosclerosis). Medicine recommends high HDL to total cholesterol levels in the blood for the same reason.”
Lauric acid also happens to be one of the main fatty acids in breast milk. The amount of lauric acid content in coconut oil is second only to the lauric acid content of breast milk. How nutritious is that? In addition, the bacteria fighting nature of Lauric acid also makes coconut oil an antimicrobial food which is very helpful during cold and flu season in building up our immune system.
Read more: 5 Healthy Cooking Oils:
Dr. Oz said, “The oils found in the coconut have a positive antioxidant action in the body. This means they help our body stop the damage to other healthy fats and tissues in our body. Oxidation is considered a major contributor to cardiovascular problems and skin aging. Coconut oil can actually help our bodies reduce the need for antioxidant intake.”
So, it turns out that while it is a saturated fat, coconut oil is a good saturated fat that helps our bodies in a lot of ways. Certainly, most of the people I run across talking about their cholesterol say they want to raise their HDL level (the good cholesterol). Coconut oil does that.
I am now using it in any situation I had previously used vegetable oil. It has a high temperature tolerance, so it works fine for cooking. I can attest that it is super for popping popcorn. I popped some last night.
As coconut oil has healing properties, I use it instead of Chapstick or Blistex on my dry lips; tastes nice, too. Reportedly, it relieves skin problems like psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema.
One thing to keep in mind is that it needs to be organic and not from pesticide-sprayed plants.
I have just scratched the surface as far as uses as well as results go. Let me know what you think about it after trying it. Also, further uses. I have a feeling there are tons of good ones.
To expand your info on this check out my Page Why you should include coconut oil in your diet.
Note: As of April 5, 2014, Costco had started selling their own brand of coconut oil. I am guessing that means the experiment with the product proved successful so they decided to market their own – Kirkland Brand.