Coconut oil has quickly become the hottest health food trend over the last couple of years, and with the rise in healthy eating and health & fitness influencers such as The Body Coach and Deliciously Ella being ambassadors for the oil, there's no surprise that people are switching their regular cooking oil to coconut oil faster than you crack a coconut. What has been deemed as a 'miracle' product, is actually an incredibly simple product which comprises of the kernel meat of mature coconuts that have been harvested from the coconut palm - there's no nasties in this stuff! Coconut oil is one of those few products that has been classified as a 'superfood', and for good reason when it can be used for a variety of applications, and it can help you reap a whole host of benefits such as weight loss, skin health and brain function, to name but a few. We're sure that you've already been won over by this 'miracle' product, but if you need a little persuasion to incorporate it into your life, here are 7 benefits of using coconut oil in your cooking - we promise cooking will never be the same again!
#1. Weight Loss
We can sometimes all do with a helping hand to notice visible weight loss results, especially as we're approaching the season of gluttony! Coconut oil is renown for aiding weight loss, as the oil contains short and medium-chain fatty acids that help to lose excessive weight. It has also been linked to increasing the body's metabolic rate, thus reducing stress on the pancreas and helping to burn more energy, and allow obese or overweight people to start losing weight.
Coconut oil is primarily used by people living in tropical areas with a plentiful supply of coconuts, because of this, they use coconut oil as their primary cooking oil, who are generally incredibly healthy, and not normally fat, obese or overweight people.
We know the situation, the annual influx of colds and flu is going around the office and you usually don't stand a chance. During the winter especially, your body starts to feel sluggish and slightly run down, and coconut oil is the pep up you need that will even boost your immunity levels. Coconut oil has been shown to strengthen the immune system as it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acids and caprylic acid which all have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. The human body is then able to break these substances down and research has shown how this is an effective way to deal with a whole range of illnesses and diseases. Health really starts from home, and incorporating this into your cooking gradually will give you a better chance when the cold season comes around again!
A staggering 10-20% of the population in the UK suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) which is telling of the typical 21st century lifestyle which involves bad eating, stress and busy lives. IBS and other digestive related problems are experienced by nearly everyone at some point during their life. After a diagnosis of IBS, this usually leads to a FODMAP diet or adjusting their diet accordingly to improve their symptoms. Using coconut oil has again been linked to improving the digestive system and combating these symptoms experienced in digestive disorders.
The saturated fats that are present in coconut oil have antimicrobial properties which help to deal with various bacteria, fungi and parasites which can cause indigestion. It also helps in the absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
#4. Heart Diseases & Cholesterol
Despite the controversy that surrounds coconut oil, it can help you fight your way to a healthier heart in small portions. Even though it is renown for being high in saturated fats, it contains around 50% lauric acid which helps to prevent various hearts problems such as high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.
As we mentioned earlier, coconut oil helps the absorption of vital minerals and vitamins which can otherwise go unnoticed. Some of these vital nutrients include calcium and magnesium which are necessary for healthy bone development. Therefore, coconut oil is a very important dietary choice for those who are prone to osteoporosis or are worried about the thinning of their bones that may be caused by medication or age.
#6. Improve Brain Function
Coconut oil can help prevent Alzheimer's disease! The brain creates its own insulin to help process glucose and power brain cells, this function is lost in a patient with Alzheimer's where it is no longer able to create its own insulin, which is where coconut oil comes into play. Coconut oil contains ketones that could potentially create an alternate source of energy to help repair brain function. In 2006 a study that was carried out where consuming medium chain triglycerides were linked to immediate improvement in brain function in patients with milder forms of alzheimers. How good is that?!
#7. Balance Hormones
Hormone imbalances in men and women are a constant battle throughout life, and it's sometimes hard to know what to do to get yourself back to feeling like yourself again. Coconut oil plays a vital role in maintaining an important balance of hormones in the body which is achieved by the fundamental ingredient in coconut oil which is lauric acid. In a study conducted in 2012 in the Philippines it was suggested that coconut oil is a fantastic fat to consume during menopause which may have a positive effect on oestrogen levels.
It's incredible how making one simple change to your diet, with a healthy and delicious coconut oil can help you eat your way to a healthier life, and let's not forget that coconut oil can benefit you in more ways than just your health. Coconut oil is a multi-use product that can improve your dental health, hair, skin and it can even be used for shaving! The possibilities for coconut oil really are endless! We would recommend Biona Organic Raw Virgin Coconut Oil for any store cupboard essential! Catch us over on our social media platforms for the latest news, competitions and plenty of foodie fun: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.