Friday, January 30, 2009

Coconut Oil

Grant got me the best gift for Christmas this past year-- the book Real Food What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck. This book is just full of useful information and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone. The book's basic premise comes down to this: eat what our ancestors ate hundreds of years ago. That is, eat real, whole foods in their most natural state as possible. I like to think of it as foods that God has provided for us to eat.

Now, I am in no way perfect when it comes to my eating habits, but I’ve come to the conclusion that this is all about baby steps. Making small changes that add up over time. One of the small changes that I am going to try to implement is the use of coconut oil.

Coconut oil is a saturated fat, which means that it is solid at room temperature and melts when heated. The main fat in coconut oil is lauric acid (which is unique to coconut oil and breast milk). Lauric acid is an antifungal, antimicrobial and antiviral fatty acid-- it has been shown to aid in the killing of many viruses including measles, influenza, hepatitis C and even HIV, among others.

Lauric acid is also easier to digest than other polyunsaturated fats, because it doesn’t need to be emulsified by bile acids before it is digested.

Coconut oil has been shown to raise good cholesterol (HDL) and lower bad cholesterol (LDL).

It has even been shown to aid in weight loss because it increases thermogenesis (which is the rate of burning calories to produce heat and energy from food).

Because coconut oil is a saturated fat it is able to withstand heat better than a mono- or polyunsaturated fat. When a mono or polyunsaturated fat is damaged by heat (sautéing, baking, roasting) it becomes oxidized. This oxidization is what can contribute to heart disease and cancer.

So, the saturated fats that are best to use for heating is coconut oil and butter. Monounsaturated fats are second best to use for heating and include, canola oil, lard, olive oil and macadamia nut oil. Polyunsaturated fats are best used cold-- they include fish oil, flaxseed oil and walnut oil.

Hope this helps. I purchase my coconut oil from Harmony Farms, but you can also get it at several online stores (, for instance). A little will last a long time (coconut oil will last for two years, unrefrigerated), so it is worth the price.

Tip: Since it is a great antifungal/antiviral agent, in addition to using it in your cooking, take some coconut oil if you are starting to feel the cold or flu coming on, or put some in a smoothie for overall well being!


Krystal (aka Pirouette) said...

Thanks for this post. I also hear it's great for hair and skin. I will probably pick some up from my dad's store.

Andrea and Grant said...

It's excellent for hair and skin! Glad you liked the post.

The Pearce Family said...

Good to know. I saw a jar in the "health food" section at Food Lion. It was $8 for a jar but I guess if it last for 2 years it's worth the investment. Do you saute your veggies in butter or do you use EVOO? Also, I'd love one of your bread recipes. I tried a whole wheat recipe that I found online and my loaf was as hard as a rock and dry. Ugg...

Frederick said...

Hello Andrea and Grant! I just dropped by to say thank you for all the factual words about coconut oil.! :-)

Many people simply say coconut oil is a saturated fat so it's bad... They don't know that there's more than one type of saturated fat.

Still, few people know that coconut oil is predominantly medium chain fatty acids (MCFA). MCFAs, like lauric acid, possess incredible healing properties you won't find in almost all other dietary oils/fats.

Once again, thank you very much. Just my two cents.

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