So you see certain high profile fitness gurus like The Body Coach chucking around coconut oil like it's going out of fashion. Recently though, there have been questions around whether it actually is as healthy as it seems, due to its higher fat content.
In fact, people all over the world experience healthy benefits of using coconut oil as it's actually one of the healthiest oils you can consume.
Here are the top seven reasons why you should use coconut oil as an alternative to other common cooking oils.
1. Your body burns coconut oil more quickly than other oils
The big difference between coconut oil and other common types of oils like vegetable oil is that it contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), which are an easy fuel for the body to burn, without turning to fat. Most other cooking oils and fats contain long-chain triglycerides (LCT). LCT's are usually stored as fat. Since coconut oil is a MCT, it is more easily absorbed and converted to energy quicker.
People in the tropics have relied on coconuts as a traditional staple in their diet for centuries. They consume large amounts of coconut oil every day, helping them to stay healthy, lean and trim.
2. Coconut oil increases your metabolism
Not only does coconut oil convert to energy quicker in your body, it increases your metabolism, supporting weight loss. Because it boosts your metabolism, it helps your body burn fat more effectively.
Coconut oil has the potential to triple your calorie burn! As it's converted to energy so quickly, it creates a lot of heat (AKA energy, AKA calories!). In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, MCT's burn three times more calories for six hours after a meal than LCT's.
In 2005, Woman's World magazine stated that coconut oil is the "underground high-metabolism secret."
This is great news for people who have thyroid problems, since coconut oil improves sluggish thyroids by stimulating the production of extra thyroid hormones. Most other common oils, like vegetable and corn oils have been shown to inhibit thyroid function.
3. Coconut oil has omega 3 fatty acids
Most cooking oils contain omega 6 fatty acids, something we often get too much of. Our omega 6 to omega 3 ratio should be 1:1 but it is more like 50:1. We need to drastically cut back our omega 6 oils and consume much more omega 3 oils to be healthy. And coconut oil is filled with these healthy omega 3 fatty acids.
4. Coconut oil gives you energy
Switching to coconut oil can give you a burst of added energy in your daily life, thanks to the healthy omega 3 fatty acids and increased metabolism.
This is because coconut oil is nature’s richest source of MCT's, that promote thermogenesis, which increases the body's metabolism, producing energy. Many people with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia have found that adding coconut and coconut oil to their diet was helpful to them.
5. Use it on your skin and hair
Coconut oil is great for your skin and hair and can be applied directly. It gives temporary relief to skin problems like rashes. It aids in healing and restoring skin, and has also been known to help with many other skin problems.
Not only does it soften and smooth your skin, coconut oil has antioxidant properties that protect the skin from free radical damage. Coconut oil makes excellent massage oil too.
6. Coconut oil has healthy benefits that most other oils don't
Evidence is mounting that coconut oil has anti-fungal, antibacterial and antiviral effects when both consumed and used topically on the skin.
Most oils oxidize very quickly causing free radical damage in our bodies. Coconut oil is not easily oxidized and does not cause harmful free radical damage like polyunsaturated vegetable oils. Free radical damage is thought to be responsible for many ailments in our body from arthritis to increased susceptibility to cancers.
Coconut oil also helps our bodies absorb other nutrients more effectively, such as Vitamin E.
7. Cook with coconut oil to benefit from it more regularly
It has a higher smoke point than olive oil, which means it can take higher temperatures better. There are several healthy omega 3 oils we can choose to consume, such as flax and olive oil, but they don't do well under the high heat we use for cooking. Coconut oil can be used in higher cooking temperatures.
So why not try coconut oil in your cooking, and rediscover the benefits. Coconut oil is so effective, it won't be long before we see coconut oil supplements promoted, but you can get the jump on the trend and start using and cooking with coconut oil today!