Coconut oil is a saturated fat that you can eat without ruining your health. In fact we can go one better - Coconut oil has now been shown to have numerous health benefits making it one of the healthiest oils on the planet.
This will come as a shock to many of us who have been convinced by the media and various government health advisory organisations that we would all be healthier if we ditched all saturated fat. Most of us have it instilled in us that any saturated fat is bad. We could not be further from the truth.
What you and I may not have known before is that saturated fat is actually essential for our bodies to function not just effectively but at all. We literally could not survive without it. (Rats fed on a diet of vegetable oils low in saturated fats and omega 3 fatty acids had more strokes and a shorter lifespan in one study.) Our brains are composed of 60% fat (saturated and unsaturated). Every single cell in our bodies is made up of 50% saturated fat. Even our bones need at least 50% of dietary fats to be saturated for the calcium to be absorbed properly.
There is increasing evidence that chronic inflammation is the hidden factor in many of the diseases we are seeing nowadays. (There is some information about this in the article about the homogenisation of milk 'Going For Gold' but more to come on inflammation in a future post.) The causes for this inflammation are many but an indicator of this inflammation thought to be more predictive than looking at cholesterol is something called C-reactive protein. Saturated fats actually help to lower this thereby actually helping to protect the heart from disease not increase the risk as we have been led to believe. (The link of saturated fat to heart disease has never been proven - it has been found guilty because it is found at the scene of the crime so to speak. See this recent article by the British Medical Journal).
So that said, back to the amazing gift of life that is coconut oil - vilified and pushed out of mainstream food manufacturing by the aggressive campaigning and marketing of big vegetable oil producers (much of which is GM), many of us have been convinced to change to unstable vegetable oils to the detriment of our health. One Sri Lankan friend confirmed this saying people were generally much healthier there when they were using coconut oils than they are now that they consume large amounts of vegetable oils. This is the case in many countries that traditionally use tropical oils a lot. Those that continue to use tropical oils remain healthy while those who switch to what we were all told were healthier oils are developing all sorts of illnesses. (More on vegetable oils and trans fats also coming soon).
So now to a quick summary of what coconut oil can do for you;
Coconut oil contains mainly medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) as opposed to the long chain fatty acids found in many foods. These MCFAs are easier to digest and interestingly do not require the help of bile salts from the gall bladder. So if you are reintroducing fats after having gallstones or a gallbladder removed, coconut oil is the best fat to start with.
The main MCFA in this wonderful oil is called Lauric acid. It is antiviral, anti-fungal and antibacterial, thereby strengthening our immune systems to fight infections and bacteria of all sorts including those from food poisoning and the superbugs people can succumb to in hospitals like MRSA. It can be used to treat fungal infections such as athletes foot and candida and is also anti-parasitic protecting the body from lice, tapeworm and other infestations.
If you want to lose fat, believe it or not consuming this fat is the way to do it. Coconut oil has been found to reduce appetite as well as supporting the management of insulin in the blood. If you suffer from hypothyroidism and this is contributing to your weight problems, coconut oil boosts thyroid function and increases metabolism leading to improved energy and endurance. In one study those who consumed 2 tablespoons of coconut oil per day had significantly less fat ( particularly the dangerous visceral fat around their organs) after 12 weeks.
The MCFAs in coconut oil are also excellent for all sorts of brains disorders from Alzheimer's to epilepsy.
It also excellent for nourishing the hair and skin and is used widely for numerous skin problems.
It also has a beneficial effect on our cholesterol profile, which I will go into in more detail in a future post on cholesterol, but suffice it to say that it protects against heart disease and has antioxidant properties that help protect against numerous other diseases including cancers, high blood pressure, and various autoimmune disorders.
This is just brief overview and there is a lot more information about this if you want to do your own research. Just reading it back makes me feel overwhelmed by the amazing mercy of Allah and the incredible blessings that lie in wait for us if we turn away from processed unnatural foods and seek out the wonderful natural foods all around us.
It is important to buy coconut oil that is unrefined and preferably organic though in some cases poor farmers cannot afford to get certified but their virgin organic oil is more or less the equivalent of that from the wealthier organic farms.
Coconut oil is very versatile. It is much less susceptible to heat damage making it an ideal fat to cook with. I use it to cook virtually everything including omelettes, curries, soups etc. It is also delicious in smoothies and herbal teas and if you are using it to boost your thyroid function this may be one of the best ways to incorporate it into your diet. If you really enjoy the taste you can even just eat a spoonful with a little honey.
MAY ALLAH (SWT) GRANT YOU ALL THE BEST OF HEALTH