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Coconut Oil has many benefits that are commonly not known to us. In today’s world wherein cardiac ailments occur in more than 50% of the population and more than 80% of the world’s population is at risk of having or developing type II diabetes, we need to be cautious about what we eat.
However, it is a myth that some of our natural and age old oils are not good for health and make us more prone to diseases. There is considerable talk about coconut oil adding to the risk of heart ailments from what one may assume.
This is a misconception that had arisen recently. In fact, many vegetable oils such as corn, soy, sun flower and canola oil contain Omega 6 fatty acids and polyunsaturated fats that are not entirely healthy for us. In addition, the antioxidants present in these oils undergo oxidative damage when heated that further reduces their efficacy while increasing their tendency to add to existing problems.
Coconut Oil is rich in medium-chained saturated fatty acids also called MCFAs. These are good fats. Unlike other vegetable cooking oils that contain long chain fatty acids or long chain triglycerides, these get digested easily. Unlike Trans fat, coconut oil does not increase cholesterol levels or cause depression. In fact, they are easily digested by the liver and are immediately converted to energy instead of being stored as fat that could lead to plaque formation.
Not just this, coconut oil contains 90% saturated fat but also improves good cholesterol (high density lipoproteins) in the body. Historical studies indicate that the Tokelauans ate more than 50% of their calorie intake in the form of coconuts. However, those populations did not show any traces of cardiac problems. It is important to remember that our biological systems are also used to our way of eating based on climatic conditions, nature of work and body setup.
Since olden days, coconut oil is used in Indian recipes. It has a certain medicinal value and aids proper food digestion. It prevents bloating. Fatty acids contained in coconut oil have antibacterial properties that lend your stomach protection from bacteria and parasites that commonly cause digestive problems.
Almost 50% of the composition of coconut oil is lauric acid which has antiviral, antibacterial and antiprotozoal properties. Research has proven that adding coconut oil to your diet also helps in relieving the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Studies published in the Journal of Nutrition have acclaimed that coconut oil helps boost metabolism. Researchers have found that taking two spoons of coconut oil a day increased fat burned per day and helped reduce weight while also boosting the immune system.
Since coconut oil is made up of healthy fatty acids such as lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid, it has a positive effect on the immune system unlike other oils.
These fatty acids are effective against bacteria, viruses and fungi. Lauric acid contains medium chained fatty acids that make up about 75% of its composition. These are easily digested and are claimed to be effective against Herpes, influenza and Candida. Hence, they protect the body by boosting immunity.
Many oils including olive oil undergo chemical change when heated. This heat-induced change could often be harmful to the digestive and cardiac systems due to oxidative damage. The good thing about coconut oil is that it is resistant to heat-induced chemical change and does not lead to the problem of oxidative damage.
Not to forget the beautiful aroma and flavour that Coconut Oil adds to many of our recipes, it is time we close the myth surrounding the consumption of coconut oil and put it to right use.
Click here to learn more about coconut oil.
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