Coconut oil is the new miracle food – we slather it on our bodies, spoon it into our smoothies, cut it into our baking batter, and even use it as a detox mouthwash. Although it was once touted as an evil fat, coconut oil is making a comeback in a big way and is now a staple in most health foodies pantries. So, why is everyone going coco-nuts for coconut oil?
1. It’s super energizing
Coconut oil is 92% saturated fat – this may seem like a lot, but the type of saturated fat in coconut oil is called medium chain fatty acids. The most important thing to note is that not all fats are created equally. Coconut oil is unlike other fats in that it is not processed in the same way. Fats in coconut oil are transported directly to the liver and are immediately converted into energy, rather than stored as fat. Next time a pick-me-up is needed, simply add a little bit of coconut oil to water, to a smoothie or take it by the spoonful to get that extra energy boost.
2. It’s a virus, fungus and bacteria killer
Coconut oil contains 50% lauric acid, which converts into monolaurin in the body. Monolaurin is a potent virus, fungus and bacterial killer, making it a fantastic immune system supporter. The only other substance that contains this much lauric acid is breast milk, which provides babies with gentle but powerful immune support.
3. It’s a metabolism booster
Most fats need to be slowly broken down before they are absorbed by the body. Since coconut oil is made up of medium chain fatty acids, they are converted immediately into energy, which helps speed up metabolism.
4. It’s a blood sugar stabilizer
Coconut oil and carbohydrates both provide the body with energy. However, coconut oil does not spike blood sugar and insulin after consumption. This is incredible, because stabilizing blood sugar is the best way to sustain energy and promote weight loss. This is even more fantastic for people who have blood sugar sensitivities like diabetics.
5. It’s a moisturizer
There are tons of health benefits when coconut oil is taken internally, and it is just as beneficial when used externally. The fat within coconut oil locks in moisture and keeps skin hydrated; it also makes a great lip balm. Coconut oil is also a natural makeup remover and helps clear away dead skin. It is a natural antiseptic which is important for removing unwanted bacteria from the skin.
Tamara Green is a Toronto-based holistic nutritionist, personal cook and co-founder of The Living Kitchen Wellness Group.