Coconut Oil: Health Benefits & Uses in Cooking
by MedPlus Team, July 5, 2019
Coconut oil was earlier not recommended for cooking. However, as time passed and studies evolved, coconut oil began to be used for cooking purposes as well.
When it comes to cooking, coconut oil is interesting. Heat and oxygen can destroy the beneficial fats of some oils. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are the most fragile and are not recommended for cooking. Coconut oil, mainly saturated fats, can withstand higher temperatures than other oils.
Scientists’ studies revealed that cooking with coconut oil can have many health benefits.
6 Benefits of Cooking with Coconut Oil
1. Promotes Weight loss:
Cooking with coconut oil can be helpful if you are trying to lose weight. It naturally increases your metabolism, eliminates unnecessary stress on the pancreas, which helps burn more energy and reduce weight. Coconut oil also contains short and medium-chain fatty acids, which can help you lose weight as well. Easy to digest, you will also find that coconut oil contributes to the health of your thyroid.
How much should you ideally weigh? Read here
2. Aids in Digestion:
Cooking with coconut oil can be beneficial for your digestive system because it contains saturated fats with anti-microbial properties that help eliminate parasites, bacteria and other elements that can cause indigestion problems.
It can help prevent stomach problems like irritable bowel syndrome because it is easy to digest. Coconut oil is also healthy because it helps your body absorb nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
3. Enhances the Immune system:
Cooking with coconut oil is a great way to boost your immune system. It has beneficial properties like anti-microbial lipids, lauric acid, and capricious acid. It also contains caprylic acid which has antiviral and antifungal benefits.
Your body can use these elements to turn them into monolaurin, a substance that helps prevent viruses and bacteria that can lead to diseases such as the flu, herpes, HIV, and cancer. People with diabetes will find that coconut oil can help control their blood sugar levels and improve insulin secretion. It has also been proven that coconut oil helps to dissolve kidney stones.
4. Prevents Heart disease:
Maybe you thought the coconut oil bad for your cholesterol level. This is because we are told that saturated fatty acids are bad for cholesterol. However, it is sugars and refined carbohydrates that are bad for cholesterol and not lipids or cholesterol in foods such as eggs.
Coconut oil increases
good cholesterol (HDL), while
bad cholesterol (LDL) remains unchanged. Cooking with coconut oil is now considered beneficial for your heart. It contains 50% lauric acid, which is known to help control conditions such as hypercholesterolemia and high blood pressure. Unlike other vegetable oils, the saturated fats of coconut oil are not harmful and will not increase your LDL levels.
5. Destroys Harmful Microorganisms:
Coconut oil consists mainly of Lauric acid. Digestion of this fatty acid leads to the formation of monolaurin. Lauric acid and monolaurin can destroy harmful microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi. We all have a fungus in the body, which, in case of excessive proliferation, can cause problems such as
Candida Albicans. This fungus can cause vaginal mycosis in women and cause candidiasis, food intolerance and abdominal pain. However, coconut oil helps fight the spread of Candida Albicans.
6. Perfect for Ketogenic Diets:
Normally, the body derives maximum energy from glucose (carbohydrates and sugars). When you lose carbohydrates, the body goes into another metabolic state called ketosis. The liver then starts to transform fatty acids into ketones, which it uses as a source of energy. Most of the brain can work very well with ketones. Only a few areas need a certain amount of glucose.
The medium chain fatty acids of coconut oil are directly absorbed by the liver. In the liver, these fatty acids are converted into ketones and provide immediate energy. The medium chain fatty acids are directly absorbed by the liver, they do not overwhelm the digestive system. This is why following a ketogenic diet allows for less abdominal cramps and diarrhea.
The ketogenic diet is mainly followed by people who want to lose weight. This diet is also prescribed to children with a difficult-to-treat form of epilepsy that drugs are not enough to keep under control (source). Under this scheme, coconut oil is of great value (source) because it provides energy directly in the form of ketones.