Benefits of Cooking with Coconut Oil
I love cooking with coconut oil. My favorite recipe is a protein pancake cooked in coconut oil! Do you have any favorite recipes for using coconut oil, I would love to hear them.
Coconut oil is undergoing an extreme makeover in America. Not so long ago, it was regarded as bad for you. It’s relatively high in saturated fats, so it was regarded as questionable at best, and unhealthy at worst, especially in terms of heart disease risk.
But millions of people rely on coconuts and coconut oil as one of the chief sources of fat in the diet, and these folks tend to be healthier than the average American. The old paradigm was based on the now largely discredited belief that dietary saturated fat is invariably bad for your heart and blood vessels.
In recent years, experts have taken a harder look at coconut oil and they’ve come away with some surprising conclusions. Coconut oil contains saturated fat, but not all saturated fats are created equal. The kind in coconut oil consists of fats called medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). And these plant-based fats have some fairly remarkable properties.
For one thing, they tend to boost levels of “good” HDL-cholesterol. That’s good news, because we know a lot about lowering “bad” LDL-cholesterol levels, but high HDL is also extremely important for heart health, and it tends to respond to few lifestyle factors other than exercise. So consuming a food that may actually work to boost HDL levels is a significant benefit.
Coconut oil may also help boost immune system function, enabling your body to fight off yeast, viruses and bacteria that could cause infections. And believe it or not, there’s even some research that suggests eating coconut oil may help boost weight loss! What’s not to love?
Coconut oil is a white solid below about 76 degrees Fahrenheit, and a clear liquid at higher temperatures. Use it as you would any cooking oil. Look for virgin coconut oil. In tropical countries, coconut oil is sometimes hydrogenated chemically. This yields unnatural trans fatty acids, which extend shelf life and raise the melting point, but may also contribute to heart disease. So stick to virgin oils.
Assunção ML1, Ferreira HS, dos Santos AF, Cabral CR Jr, Florêncio TM. Effects of dietary coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting abdominal obesity. Lipids. 2009 Jul;44(7):593-601. doi: 10.1007/s11745-009-3306-6. Epub 2009 May 13.