Saturday, June 12, 2010

Coconut oil

Did you know that coconut is oil is 92% saturated?  "A fatty acid is saturated when all available carbon bonds are occupied by a hydrogen atom.  They are highly stable, because all the carbon-atom linkages are filled--or saturated--with hydrogen."  (Nourishing Traditions).  Monosaturated fats (olive oil, almonds, peanuts, avacaodos) have a kink or bend so they do not pack together as easily as saturated fats.  Like saturated fats, they are relatively stable and can be used in cooking.  Polyunsaturated fats have multiple kinks or turns and do not pack together easily.  These oils are highly reactive and go rancid easily.  They should never be heated or used in cooking.  Vegetable oils contain a lot of polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Two-thirds of the saturated fat in coconut oil is in the form of medium-chain fatty acids/triglyceride.  MCFA are absorbed directly for quick energy, and contribute to the health of the immune systm.  Lauric acid is found in large quantities of coconut oil (and in breast milk).  The fatty acid has strong antifungal and antimicrobial properities.  We would benefit from a lot more fat in our diets, but we must choose the fats with care.  Populations that consume coconut oil have low rates of heart disease.

In the Coconut Oil Miracle by Bruce Fife he lists several recommendations for coconut oil:
When taken as a supplement, used in cooking, or applied to directly to the skin, coconut oil has been found to:

- Promote weight loss
- Help protect against heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and many other degenerative diseases
- Strengthen the immune system
- Improve digestion
- Prevent premature aging of the skin
I wish I could explain this better, but what I have learned is that coconut oil is a much more stable oil, and it tastes and smells great!!  I have used it in recipes for cooking, baking, deoderant, toothpaste, conditioner, facial moisturizer, diaper rash, cloth wipe solution and there are so many more uses than I have not tried (cuts, burns, aftershave, belly balm, cradle cap, chapstick, sunscreen).  Just google "coconut oil uses or benefits" and you'll see what I mean!

Here's my favorite recipe for coconut oil...spread coconut oil on bread, add cinnamon and sugar, toast!  Mmmmmmm.  Or add it to brownie mix instead of vegetable oil and see if you can wait for the brownies to be done before wanting to yank them from the oven and dig in!

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