Diana Othman | On 05, Jan 2015
Getting the fats right
Pure virgin unhydrogenated coconut oil (where hydrogen is not added to make the liquid fat hard), contains an awesome 92% saturated fat.
However, the saturated fat in coconut oil is not the same as that in cheese or steak. Most of the fatty acids in the diet are long-chain fatty acids, but coconut oil contains a lot of medium chain triglycerides, which are metabolized differently and can have therapeutic effects on brain disorders like Alzheimer’s and epilepsy.
People are beginning to realise that coconut is a good food with an undeserved bad rep. The staple food of many tropical countries, it appears to have done no harm to even heavy consumers like the Tokelauans of the South Pacific. Despite getting over 60% of their calories from coconuts, these islanders are healthy with a low incidence of heart disease.
According to cardiologist Dr Mehmet Oz, studies show that intake of coconut oil can help our bodies resist both viruses and bacteria that can cause illness. Even more, it also helps to fight off yeast, fungus and candida.
Although not all scientists are convinced about the benefits of coconuts, they still have to grudgingly admit, like Mozaffarian, researcher and co-director of the cardiovascular epidemiology programme at Harvard, that coconut oil “may contain beneficial plant chemicals that have yet to be discovered”.
Lose weight! A couple of tablespoons a day curbs the appetite and speeds up fat burning because medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) increase energy expenditure. A 2009 study found that people who consumed 30 milliliters (about 2 tablespoons) of coconut oil daily for 12 weeks not only did not gain more weight, but actually had lowered amounts of abdominal fat, a type of fat that is difficult to lose, and contributes to heart problems.