Coconut Oil

15 04 2012

I wanted to write a very short post on the benefits of Coconut Oil as I have been interested in this product for a while and am planning to start cooking with it this week.

The tree of life

The scientific name for coconut is Cocos nucifera. Early Spanish explorers called it coco, which means “monkey face” because the three indentations (eyes) on the hairy nut resembles the head and face of a monkey. Nucifera means “nut-bearing.”

There are four key nutritional sources to the coconut. The meat, the milk, the oil and the juice. These components have been used for years by populations and on many islands has been the staple diet.

Coconut oil is of special interest to me due to its wide range of functional uses. To name a few, its been used in cooking, medicine, skin and hair treatments, weight loss and also digestion. Pacific Islanders consider coconut oil to be the cure for all illness. The coconut palm is so highly valued by them as both a source of food and medicine that it is called “The Tree of Life.” Only recently has modern medical science unlocked the secrets to coconut’s amazing healing powers (1).

Composition

Now when I first saw coconut oil was mainly built up of saturated fats eyebrows were raised. It consists of a total of 92% Saturated fat, 6% mono-unsaturated and 2% poly-unsaturated which to most people doesn’t sound particularly healthy. I am going to focus on the 92% saturated content at the moment and when you look deeper at this, we can see most of the saturates are made up of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT). To put this simply, the calories contained in MCTs are very efficiently converted into fuel for immediate use by organs and muscles so no need to panic.

Health benefits

As we now know, the MCT’s are efficiently converted into fuel by the organs and muscles and as a result we can use this to our advantage when cooking. In the morning I love to use it when cooking protein pancakes (post to come soon) as it not only flavours the meal with a delicious hint of coconut but I also know that my body will be using this as fuel throughout the morning.

Other benefits include hair care, skin care, immunity and digestion amongst others.

I will be posting recipes and more cooking uses soon.

References:

(1) http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/

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One response

19 04 2012
Protein Pancakes « nutritionalminds

[…] Oil – As I mentioned in my previous post on coconut oil,¬†benefits include hair care, skin care, immunity and digestion amongst others. Importantly here […]

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