Coconut oil is a dietary superfood – and I can give you dozens of reasons why. It’s also a recommended part of healthy lifestyle change for dieters.
This tropical oil got a bad rap for many years, because it contains saturated fats, and because there was a pretty fierce smear campaign against it by grain-based oil producers. Today, we know that not all saturated fats are bad, and that we need fat in our diets, in moderation.
The fats that you choose are a critical part of redesigning your lifestyle to keep obesity away longterm. Virgin coconut oil is a heart-healthy, obesity-fighting “good fat“.
Choosing Your Coconut Oil
The least-refined coconut oils are the “virgin” ones, and when shopping for coconut oil, I recommend that you choose virgin coconut oil, which is higher in antioxidants. It’s not really necessary to choose an organic product, as there are no GMO coconuts, and coconuts are rarely sprayed because they grow so far up.
Avoid hydrogenated coconut oils, as they contain trans fats that we certainly don’t want in our diet. Also avoid “liquid coconut oils” which assure you they stay liquid, even in the refrigerator. That’s because they have the majority of the lauric acid removed, and we want lauric acid in our coconut oil. More on that below.
Consuming Coconut Oil
As part of day-to-day healthy nutrition, coconut oil is hard to beat. Many people insist on getting two to three tablespoons per day, either right off the spoon, in dressings and cooking, on oatmeal or in smoothies. It tastes good, and some varieties have little or no coconut flavor, while others offer more. You can experiment to find one to your personal liking.
Coconut oil may be a solid or liquid when you use it, depending on the temperature of the room. At about 76F or higher, the oil will be in a liquid form. If it’s solid and you want to use it in a salad dressing, just warm it a little.
One tablespoon of coconut oil contains 117 calories and 14 grams fat, including 12 g saturated fat. Used in moderation and especially if it replaces “bad fats”, it’s one of those lifestyle changes that really make a difference in the long term.
Safe to Store, Safe to Cook With
Coconut oil is very stable. It has a shelf-life of three to five years at room temperature, without oxidization. This means it retains its nutritional value.
It has a high burning point. This means that you can cook with it at higher temperatures than most oils, without burning the oil, which damages its nutritional properties and is bad for your health. For example, virgin olive oil, which is an excellent fat at room temperature and good for you in salad dressings, becomes unhealthy when used for frying. Coconut oil is your best choice for high-temperature cooking.
Coconut Oil is Healthy in Traditional Diets
Inhabitants of areas with high coconut oil consumption such as the Phillipines, Thailand and Sri Lanka traditionally display fewer of the modern diseases that are typical of western nations, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
“Coconuts were practically a staple in the diets, with up to 60% of their caloric intake coming from the saturated fat of coconut oil. The study found very lean and healthy people who were relatively free from the modern diseases of western cultures, including obesity.”
How Coconut Oil Helps Dieters
- Promotes weight loss
- Boosts metabolism
- Supports healthy thyroid function
- Reduces hunger
- Improves the body’s control of blood sugar
- Reduces abdominal fat (belly fat) specifically
- Preserves muscle mass
- Promotes Ketosis
- Offers medium-chain triglycerides which are turned into energy instead of fat by the body
“One 2009 study found that women who consumed 30 milliliters (about 2 tablespoons) of coconut oil daily for 12 weeks not only did not gain more weight, but actually had lowered amounts of abdominal fat, a type of fat that is difficult to lose, and contributes to more heart problems.”
Other Benefits of Coconut Oil
- Reduces symtoms of Alzheimer’s Disease
- Kills Candida fungus
- Excellent for endurance sports
- Improves or heals many skin diseases such as acne, eczema, psoriasis
- Helps with Hypothyroidism by supporting normal thyroid function
- Conditions and strengthens hair (and improves dandruff)
- Kills many bacteria and viruses
- Moisturizes and conditions skin (apply externally)
- Increases “good” HDL cholesterol
- Offers positive antioxidant action in the body (reduces effects of aging)
- Improves immune function
- Helps absorb fat-soluble vitamins better (like vitamins A, D, E & K)
- Can help with allergies
- Can improve sleep
- May reduce hot flashes
- Helps prevent stretch marks when rubbed on a pregnant belly
- Can be made into a safe and natural deodorant
Lauric Acid In Your Diet Is Special
Coconut oil is the only food you can eat, other than breast milk, that contains high quantities of lauric acid. Lauric acid kills bacteria, viruses and fungi. This is one of the reasons coconut oil has such a long shelf life. This makes coconut oil very good for your gut, as it will help control overgrowths of bad bacteria or yeast.
Getting reliable advice on lifestyle change is part of the battle in overcoming obesity permanently. If you’re looking for support and a program that works, here in Hawaii I run a medical weight loss clinic where over 80% of my patients reach their weight loss goals and keep the weight off. Call (808) 551-4348 or click here to lose the weight and keep it off!