We all know the drill when it comes to fat. A healthy diet is a low fat diet, especially one that avoids saturated fats. At least that’s what the USDA and the FDA, not to mention the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association and nearly every other official medical organization in existence has been telling us for years. However the latest research on coconut oil suggests that we have tossed out one of the most effective and healthful fats in existence.
Coconut oil used to be the single most widely used cooking oil in the world. In many cultures, it is used as Americans use butter – spread on bread, drizzled on vegetables and stirred into hot cereals and rice. Coconut oil’s delicate, nutty flavor gave it a special place on the shelves of many chefs. That all ended with the reports that saturated fats were unhealthy. Manufacturers of processed foods replaced coconut oil with polyunsaturated vegetable oils and partially hydrogenated cooking oils. After 50 years of a diet with mostly polyunsaturated fats, obesity, diabetes, atherosclerosis and liver disease are at an all time high.
Over the past ten years, research has been suggesting that saturated fats are not the demons the medical world once said that they were. In fact, there is a great deal of research that strongly suggests that coconut oil, a saturated fat, may be one of our best kept health secrets, because most of the fat in coconut oil is lauric acid, coconut oil has well-documented anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-viral properties. Among the benefits of coconut oil are:
– raises good cholesterol
– lowers bad cholesterol
– helps protect omega-3 fatty acids which are important to cell development
– does not inhibit insulin binding, like other trans fatty acids
– does not interfere with the body’s enzyme functions
– has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-biotic functions, and research seems to suggest that it may help inhibit opportunistic infections that take advantage of lowered immune systems caused by AIDS and other immune system disorders
– easier to digest, and is burned immediately rather than being stored in the liver or arteries like other fats
– DECREASES the amount of white fat (adipose tissue) stored by the body
In short, coconut oil may be one of the most beneficial additions to the American diet in existence. Until the food industry recognizes the benefits of coconut oil, the best way to include coconut oil in your diet is with a quality dietary supplement that includes coconut oil.