Is Coconut Oil a Fat Source that also Promotes Optimal Health?
Communities living in or near the Pacific Ocean have used coconut oil in their diets for thousands of years, and when a doctor investigated the overall health of these communities they were shown to have no traces of cardiovascular disease, had optimal dental health, and were fit and lean. The doctor Weston Price thought this could be linked to the coconut oil in their diets.
Yet healthcare officials in the United States have long warned against coconut oil because it is high in saturated fat which is linked to various health conditions. But it is generally believed they drew this conclusion off of a flawed study. According to Doctor Joseph Mercola, the naturally occurring saturated fat in coconut oil cannot reasonably be considered a threat to human health. Rather, it helps human health in a variety of ways.
Nearly half of the saturated fat in coconut oil is composed of a rare acid called lauric acid, and it also has elements of capric acid. Both of these acids can be converted by our bodies to have antimicrobial and antiviral capabilities; meaning that they actually help to fight disease and germs.
Coconut oil also produces medium chain fatty acids rather than the long chain fatty acids that vegetable oil does. This makes it easier to digest than the vegetable oil so commonly used in our cooking and therefore better for digestive health. Additionally, the medium chain fatty acids are stored as energy rather than fat, so they actually help to boost your metabolism. Its chemical composition also makes it resistant to heat induced damage, which causes normal vegetable oil to be more difficult to digest.
Dr. Mercola suggests that coconut oil should be the replacement in your diet for grains and sugar. He consumes about one quart of it per week. And while he does not recommend frying food, frying with coconut oil instead of hydrogenated oils like corn, soy, or canola eliminates the possibility of trans fats being formed which are toxic to your health. Hydrogenated oils are also usually genetically engineered while coconut is naturally occurring. It is also good for your heart, your thyroid, does not cause an insulin spike despite acting like a carbohydrate in the body, and when applied to your skin possesses anti aging properties.