wholesome health advice

Fat-free Fat??

My goal is to change your mind about fat.

Fat has become taboo, which many big corporate food manufacturers capitalize on:  items such as low-fat or no-fat foods, including ones that naturally have fat….like dairy.  Not sure I’d want to eat fat-free cheese; just the name is an oxymoron.

Because I like to keep these blogs short, this fat topic will be discussed in two parts.  This part is the wonderfully therapeutic coconut oil.

Coconut oil is more than 90 percent saturated fat, which is naturally occurring and is named so because of its chemical makeup: saturated fat has no double bonds between its carbon atoms, so the fatty acids are saturated with hydrogen.  Saturated fat is found in many animal-based foods, but is also in some plant-based foods like coconuts.

Fat is definitely a necessary component to a healthful diet.  Yet, many people limit their fat intake due to fear of gaining weight or cardiovascular disease, which can result from too much fat intake.  How did this fear begin?

Let’s go back in history.  The Japanese occupied some of the South Pacific Islands, where coconuts grow.  Thus, the supply of coconut oil was decreased.  Prior to the war, coconut oil was used in the US for cooking and as an ingredient.  Due to a limited supply during the war, manufacturing of other replacement oils began.  These oils were mostly polyunsaturated and were touted by the manufacturers as better for your health.  This era produced a public against saturated fats, including coconut oil and butter.  Saturated fats were labeled as unhealthy and unsaturated vegetables oils were marketed as heart healthy.  US vegetable oil manufacturers wanted their products to gain popularity; hence, the war against saturated fat began.  Because of this history, coconut oil was not and still isn’t valued as the health prize it is.

In the 1930’s, Dr. Weston Price (a dentist) travelled in the South Pacific to examine the effect of diet on health.  He discovered that residents were healthy and lean despite their diets consuming coconut products.  Again in 1981, research of the South Pacific region revealed (and was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition) that residents had no evidence of heart/vascular diseases despite their chief calories derived from coconut.  Again they were healthy and lean.


What makes coconut oil so good for you?

The fat in coconut oil contains lauric acid.  Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-protozoan properties.  Also, coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA).  Most vegetable and seed oils are long-chain fatty acids (LCFA).  LCFA are large molecules that are difficult for your body to break down, thus they are stored as fat.  Yet MCFA’s are smaller so easier to digest and burn off.  This means that MCFA’s use fat for energy; they don’t store it, they boost metabolism by utilizing this energy.

Cooking with coconut oil:

Many oils degrade from heating.  Degradation causes oxidative damage and creates free-radicals (which I wrote about in Red Red Wine).  Due to its chemical makeup, coconut oil does not degrade with heat as quickly as other oils.  It’s the perfect cooking oil.

A way to determine which oil to cook with is the smoke point, where oil smokes, discolors and structurally changes.


Other therapeutic uses:

Coconut oil is a natural remedy for your skin.  The medium-chain fatty acids avert oxidation, and prevent premature ageing.  Additionally, the anti-microbal effects assist with psoriasis and eczema.  Coconut oil has vitamin E making it good for both your skin and hair.  For your hair, studies indicate that it can stimulate hair growth.

Check my lotion created from coconut oil:   http://www.robinseggorganics.com/

What kind of coconut oil?

Know that pure coconut oil may be refined or unrefined.  Unrefined has some residual coconut taste, whereas refined has no coconut taste.

Refined coconut oil is derived from the core (known as the copra) and is lower in quality.  The unrefined is the virgin oil derived from the nucleus, and the process requires no synthetic filtering.

A brand I prefer is called Nutiva.

Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.  ~Doug Larson

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