If you’re into food blogs, cooking, etc. you’ve probably noticed coconut’s sudden upswing in popularity. I mean, these days, there’s almost no other oil I use in my recipes – I can’t sing its praises enough! It might sound kind of weird to be so enthusiastic about an oil , and I’m sure many of you out there are wondering what exactly the benefits of coconut oil are.
Well, here’s my two cents.
(By the way, I’m typing this while sitting in front of the Food Network, and as I was typing the phrase “coconut oil” a hair dye commercial touting a new coconut oil formula just came on the TV. I’m telling you, this stuff is getting too trendy for its own good. It’s basically the next pomegranate or açaí.)
So, here’s what’s up with coconut oil:
First off: Not all fat is bad fat. “Fat makes you fat” is a total myth that took me years to accept and understand, as it went against all the late 90s nutritional info I had internalized as an adolescent. Now that I’m more educated, I believe a handful of fat-free Snackwell cookies (remember those?) is way worse for your body than a tablespoon of coconut oil.
That being said, I don’t think it’s the best idea to eat tons of butter, meat fat, etc. every day. What I’m saying is that you shouldn’t be afraid to cook with a little fat, it has health benefits and it helps you feel full. And one of the best fats out there is… yep, COCONUT!
The fats in coconut oil are medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Your body likes breaking down medium-chain fats and they’re really efficiently burned – an immediate source of energy. Coconut oil also raises the good cholesterol in your body, making it a heart-healthy choice.
Outside of actually ingesting the stuff, coconut oil is great for moisturizing skin and hair (I don’t use it in my hair because it’s super fine and gets weighed down by any oily product, but I know it works for a lot of people) and you can even use it for oil pulling, something I’ve never tried but am very curious about.
For more in-depth reasoning, I recommend checking out Top 10 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Coconut Oil on Authority Nutrition. They actually cite their sources and link to relevant studies, so I respect them more than lots of other new age-y “nutrition” sites (not that I don’t appreciate some of their ideas, but I’m a little skeptical unless I can see some actual facts backed up by science/research).
Finally… cooking with this stuff makes your kitchen smell like a wonderful tropical paradise. Honestly, sometimes that is reason enough for me.