Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is probably the most popular oil being used today in superfood recipes and there are many reasons why.

However, there is still some hesitancy out there in the research world as to how coconut oil truly benefits our health so I’m choosing to go with what we know now and I’ve taken my views from Dr. Libby Weaver’s opinion.

Coconut Oil

Although the type of fat in coconut oil is mostly saturated it is pertinent to understand how this coconut oil saturated fat is composed and how it works. The difference in the type of fat in coconut oil is in the fat molecule. All fats and oils are composed of molecules called fatty acids which fall into three different categories, saturated fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. The other classification is by the length of the carbon chain within the fatty acid so you have short-chain fatty acids, medium-chain fatty acids and long-chain fatty acids. Coconut oil is composed predominantly of medium-chain fatty acids also known as medium-chain triglycerides. Some studies indicate that these medium-chain fatty acids assist the body to burn fat effectively, however this is not conclusive and more research needs to be done to explore these links.

Medium-chain triglycerides have also been shown to not rely on the acid in the stomach for digestion but are otherwise easily digested.

Coconut oil contains lauric acid (also found in breast milk) which contains the highest concentration of medium-chain fatty acids. Lauric acid has antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties to support the immune system and healthy gut bacteria. It has also been scientifically shown to have a stronger effect on bacteria involved with acne, when compared with benzoyl peroxide an ingredient in many prescription acne medications and medicated skin washes.

Apart from the possible health benefits coconut oil is perfect for cooking, it has a high heat tolerance so performs well when frying or heating. It is easy to work with in baking and raw food. The taste of coconut oil varies according to the process it has under gone, usually it will have a stronger coconut flavour if it is extra virgin. There is no difference between virgin and extra virgin coconut oil when it comes to heat tolerance.