Coconut, in my opinion, is one of earth’s greatest creations. Now, I don’t want to use the word ‘superfood’ (it only leads to thoughts of acai berries, spirulina powder, green mango extract sourced from a virgin in the highlands of Himalaya and other products we don’t know/can’t pronounce), but I do consider coconut, particularly its oil, something we should consume daily. The beauty of the coconut extends far beyond its taste, in fact it can help you lose weight, reduce cravings, is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory and supports healthy thyroid function (an essential if you suffer from thyroid problems like myself)!
Coconut oil is primarily a saturated fat. Please do not be alarmed by the words ‘saturated fat’; if you are concerned about fats and cholesterol (good, bad, HDL, LDL), keep your eyes peeled because I will be posting about it very soon. So coconut oil is a saturated fat and it’s unique in that it is predominantly composed of medium chain triglycerides or MCTs. MCTs are very easily digested and rapidly absorbed by the body; once consumed they are immediately converted to energy rather than being stored as fat. This promotes a process known as thermogenesis, in turn, increasing metabolism and often leading to weight loss. Basically they are a fat source which acts like glucose in the body (without the insulin spike)!
Because of the MCTs, coconut and its oil can help reduce cravings. When we eat a carbohydrate rich meal, our body releases insulin to promote nutrient storage. Insulin locks in nutrients, which means they cannot be used immediately for energy. Therefore, following the insulin spike, we crave more food as our body thinks we require more nutrients. MCTs do not produce an insulin spike so your body recognizes that it has eaten and does not crave additional food. In addition, the rapid absorption of MCTs provides energy quickly so you won’t have an all-out snack binge!
Anti-viral and Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Coconut oil contains significant amounts of Lauric Acid. Lauric Acid is a very unique fat; in fact, the only other source of Lauric Acid is human breast milk! The body converts Lauric Acid into a substance called monolaurin which has anti-bacterial properties and can even help control fungul infections such as thrush! In addition, the metabolic boosting effects of coconut oil enhance cell regeneration, assisting the immune system and helping to reduce acute and chronic inflammation.
Coconut oil and the Thyroid
Leading on from coconut’s anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties, coconut oil has a direct effect in suppressing inflammation, tissue repair and inhibition of harmful bacteria that cause inflammation. If you are like me and suffer from Hashimoto’s (an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system cells attack the thyroid gland), coconut oil is especially important. Coconut oil plays an important role in Hashimoto’s as it helps heal the chronic inflammation caused by autoimmunity. Poor thyroid function is also related to low body temperature and through increasing thermogenesis, coconut oil assists in raising basal body temperatures.
How Should You Take It
I would recommend at least 3-4 tablespoons of the magical elixir per day. If you are struggling to get this in you can always add it to your tea or coffee, cook your food in it (it’s a great fat to cook given its stable structure), melt it and freeze it into moulds for a white chocolatey treat or eat it with a spoon/ladle straight from the jar! I love Banaban Organic Virgin Coconut Oil and Nutrivital Raw Organic Virgin Coconut Oil as they are both certified organic and free of herbicides and pesticides. Happy Eating!