Dr. Roy Murrell, DC 200 NE 20th Avenue, Suite 140 Portland Oregon 97232 - disclaimer - 971-312-9497
What is the story behind Coconut Oil? For the longest time it was considered to be an unhealthful food, mostly due to its saturated nature. This was the time when all saturated fats were considered guaranteed heart disease. Well, after a couple decades of the low-fat diet craze we, as a nation, are fatter than ever and heart disease is still a major killer. We now know that some fats are healthy and some are not and Coconut Oil is one of the good guys. This is why.
Although it is a saturated fat (like butter), it contains mostly what are known as medium-chain fatty acids. The majority of these are Lauric and Capric acids. They both have antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal activities. This can play a significant role in supporting our immune systems, something we all need without exception. Lauric acid is mostly converted to Monolaurin, a monoglyceride that the body uses to destroy lipid (fat) coated viruses such as HIV, herpes, cytomegalovirus, influenza, and various pathogenic bacteria. Lauric acid does not seem to affect the good bacteria in the gut, just the pathogenic.
Coconut oil has also been studied for effects on Cholesterol. A study published in 1995 showed no statistical difference in blood cholesterol or triglyceride levels in participants consuming coconut oil over a control group. In fact, when subjects were switched from coconut oil to a vegetable oil, there HDL/LDL ratio became undesirable. Studies show that coconut oil actually helps normalize lipid levels. It has also been shown to protect the liver from alcohol damage and improve the immune system’s anti-inflammatory response.
There is also some research showing a positive metabolic effective when consuming coconut oil. Studies show that this fat tends to increase your metabolic rate and reduce fat storage.
On top of all of this, coconut oil is very stable, even at high temperatures, which makes it ideal for sautÈing. Most fats break down under cooking temperatures and turn into trans-fats. Even the beloved olive oil does not do well with heat. Coconut’s stability will allow you to keep it at room temperature for a long time and in a solid form. (Its melting point is about 76-78 degrees F.) It also gives some dishes a very mild coconut flavor which is an enhancement in my opinion, but if you don’t like that flavor, you may feel differently.
You will want to buy a good organic, cold-pressed brand when possible. It has become my oil of choice when cooking with heat.
Yours in Health,