Setting Coconuts Straight
Considered a fruit, nut and seed, the coconut is one of those foods we just can’t get enough of. Wherever you are the thoughts of coconuts immediately transports you to a beautiful tropical coastline with sunny beach and crystal blue waters. In addition to island runaways, coconuts are also the secret weapon for many health and beauty experts. In this article we are going to highlight the complex role that coconuts play in diet and health.
Health Studies Evolve. As studies advance, we continue to learn how the guidance from the “experts” has changed regarding fats. This can be recognized on the stance of nuts, which previously were considered unhealthy due to the high amounts of fats they contain.
Coconut Oil Composition. Coconuts are largely made up of saturated fats and contain approximately 62% medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Medium chain fats have a substantive amount of benefits and are metabolized by the body differently from long-chain fats.
MCTs. Most fats we consume take longer to digest, but MCTs found in coconut oil are the perfect source of energy because they only go through a 3-step process to be turned in fuel, while other fats have a 26-step process! Unlike long-chain fatty acids found in plant-based oils, MCTs are easier to digest, smaller in size allowing cell permeability, process by the liver meaning they are immediately converted to energy and not stored as fat.
Misconceptions. Many people compare coconut oil to animal fats and that couldn’t be any more inaccurate. Coconut fats and animal fats have very different fatty acid profiles with the one of the main differences being animal fats contain cholesterol while plant-based oils do not.
Health Benefits and Uses. Coconut oil has a myriad of health benefits for the body including preventing heart disease and high blood pressure, reduces inflammation and arthritis, cancer prevention, improves memory and brain function, improves digestive properties, enhances energy and endurance, builds muscle and aids in body fat loss, naturally slows aging, various skin conditions, and prevents tooth decay and gum disease.
So, the next time you think about coconuts, Piña coladas and the Caribbean, try to think about your overall well-being and incorporate coconut oil into your lifestyle for its many health benefits