Saturday, October 12, 2013

Coconut Oil: What You Didn't Know

Food choices consist of everything that is important to people;  and culture plays a very important role in the types of foods we eat, how we prepare it and how we present it. Our choices represent who we are and where we come from which is a beautiful thing.

One of the things I love most about living in Caribbean is that coconut is one of our most beloved food. From our Sunday rice and peas to refreshing coconut water as well as, let's not forget, good ol' coconut drops. However, what's more remarkable about this fruit is how nutritious and beneficial it is to your health. Though it has gotten a bad reputation in the past, current research have shown that it's time for this "prodigal" fruit to return to our diet.    

Here are 10 healthy facts about this wonder-fruit:

1.     Coconut oil contains short term medium-chain saturated triglycerides (MCTs), which is a "healthy" form saturated fat. Unlike trans fat, which is linked to heart disease,  depression and high cholesterol levels, MCTs is immediately converted to energy by the liver instead of being stored as fat.

2.     It boosts metabolism and increases energy. Therefore it is more likely to be burned as fuel than stored as body fat. Try adding one to two teaspoon of coconut oil to your salads and you'll be on your way to losing those pounds.   

3.     Because of its MCT properties, coconut oil is ideal for cooking at high temperatures. Unlike olive oil which oxidizes and converts to free radical at high temperatures, coconut oil has a high smoking point and subsequently maintains its healthy authenticity.

4.     A component of coconut oil is lauric acid  which contains anti-fungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties to boost the immune system. At a workshop conducted by the HEAL Foundation, acclaimed celebrity nutritionist and obesity consultant Ms. Naini Setalvad says, "The next best source of monolaurin after mother's milk is coconut oil with 50% of its saturated fat being lauric acid".

5.     Coconut oil has been found to benefit digestive disorders including irritable bowel syndrome and bacterial related stomach issues. Fatty acids in coconut oil contain anti-bacterial properties, which have a soothing affect on bacteria or parasites that cause poor digestion.

6.     Due to its fatty properties, coconut oil is more satisfying than carbohydrates or simple sugars. In fact, frequent hunger is a major clue that our bodies are not being fed properly.  consuming the right amounts of fats and protein will fuel our bodies adequately so we won't feel the need to indulge in sweet treats so often. 

7.     Coconut oil can also be used as an anti-aging product. it hydrates the skin and keeps the skin's connective tissues strong. This leads to fewer lines and wrinkles.  For healthy, glowing skin, Apply just a small amount of coconut oil directly to your skin on a daily basis. Be sure you use virgin coconut oil with no additives.

8.     Coconut oil fights bacteria to blame for tooth decay.  Lead researcher Dr Damien Brady, of the Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland, suggests, ‘Incorporating enzyme-modified coconut oil into dental hygiene products would be an attractive alternative to chemical additives, particularly as it works at relatively low concentrations.’ 

9.     Protects against heart disease. Animal studies have shown that coconut oil in particular lowered total cholesterol, lipoproteins and phospholipids. The reason for this is that coconut oil is composed of medium chain triglycerides which are rapidly metabolized in the liver into energy and does not participate in the biosynthesis and transport of cholesterol.

10.   It tastes great with everything!



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