For centuries consumption of coconut oil was prevalent specifically in tropical regions. Nonetheless, it was one of the staple foods in US and some other nearby countries, it went out of use because of saturated fat content, which it is rich in. But these days again coconut oil has started gaining momentum particularly in Unites States due to its multiple cooking usages and potential to offer utmost health benefits.
Some Associated Misconceptions with Coconut oil
It has been discovered by the Weston A. Price Foundation that coconut oil is coupled with 92% of saturated fat content. Some parts of this fat is available as medium chain fatty acids and this provides antimicrobial components and are ingested by the body rapidly and instantly and used to energize our body. This acid is also instrument in catapulting our immunity system. In tropical regions, cooking with coconut oil is quite common and is also used for the protection of food stock helps fungus and bacteria. Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, which is also available in nursing mothers’ milk also hence it is also a part of baby formula.
You may avoid cooking with coconut oil when you read on the label that it is excessive in saturated fat but it is quite unique and it is in fact medium-chain triglycerides not long-chain triglycerides which are available in fat of animals. These triglycerides are considered to be healthy and good for health and they did not undergo the process of degradation and are absorbed by your body for producing energy and are not collected as fat.
Why Coconut Oil is ideal for Cooking
Stability of oil : Coconut oil is one of the most stable oils against heat and oxidation process. When we cook our food in oil, heating of the oil oxidizes them and produces free radicals which are harmful for the body. Using same oil multiple times aggravates this further. This is not the case with coconut oil as its highly saturated. Even using same coconut oil for multiple heating will not oxidize it and thus free radicals will not be produced. Coconut oil is more than 300 times more resistant than flaxseed oil and 16 times as that of soybean oil. Coconut oil also has a long shelf life and it does not go rancid for as long as 2-3 years!
High smoke point : Cooking with coconut oil is specifically welcomed as it is considered as a healthy cooking oil due to its high smoke point, which is nearly 350 degrees F, if the statement of Dr. Jonny Bowden, Clinical Nutrition Specialist is to be believed. It is also low in oxidation hence cooking with coconut oil is beneficial. Cooking with coconut oil at high temperatures compared to other oils can be beneficial.
Contains Beneficial Fat : The major medium-chain triglyceride found in coconut oil is actually lauric acid. This acid is highly beneficial in combating bacteria that result in pneumonia, throat infections, food poisoning and a few genital based infections. Lauric acid eliminates bad bacteria and did not cause any harm to the bacteria instrumental in helping intestinal and digestive systems. Medium-chain triglycerides protects against the fungi found in intestine like candida also.
Cuts down Cholesterol : Even after having high level of saturated fat content in coconut oil, cooking in coconut oil is beneficial and it can help in reducing cholesterol levels. In India, the University of Kerala, publish a study in which coconut oil was offered to Sprague-Dawley rats for nearly one and half months to discover the susceptible effects on their level of cholesterol. After feeding them for almost 45 days it was found that the level of cholesterol got reduced during the entire session. In addition, the VLDL and LDL cholesterol levels were diminished whereas the HDL cholesterol, which is good cholesterol, was found marginally higher compare to pervious reading.
Helps in Weight Loss : Apart from regular exercise and diet regime, cooking in coconut oil can also make difference and help in weight loss. As per a study conducted by "Lipids" published in its 44th volume, the effect of coconut oil during the weight loss session amongst the overweight women was studied. During this study, some women were fed soy bean oil and rests of the women were given coconut oil supplements on a regular basis. After three months, both the groups manifested some reductions in the mass of their body but it was discovered that women consumed coconut oil displayed more reduction compared to other group.
Combats Cancer : There are several researches which are evident that cooking with coconut oil can prevent or alleviate the development of cancer. As per the statement of Dr. Jon Kabara, the medium chain triglycerides, which are found in coconut oil, are instrumental in diminishing the growth of tumor in animals. According to a published study in "The Pharmacological Effect of Lipids III," the influence of three different meals was studied on the cancer of rats. The study indicated that rats that consumed diet with heavy medium chain triglycerides manifested a smaller ratio of growth in tumor compared to those rats which were on diet less in medium chain triglycerides.
Other Benefits of Coconut Oil : On cooking in coconut oil it leaves a strong nutty smell in your meal. Cooking with coconut oil can influence positively your immune mechanism if used and consumed on regular basis as it is packed with antioxidants. In addition, as per Dr. Bowden, on infants also coconut oil helps in absorption of magnesium, calcium and amino acids as per a study conducted on infants to know the effects of coconut oil on infants. It decreases stomach obesity according to a study conducted by Physiology department of the University of Kelaniya.
Precautions while cooking with Coconut oil
Dr. Bowden has advised that a few of the stigma found around coconut oil may be unhealthy, which has been found in a study. This may lead to enhancing bad cholesterol and reducing good cholesterol. It is advisable to be alert when opting for coconut oil for cooking purpose. You should always go for good quality coconut oil to ward off any negative effect of trans fatty acids. You must browse the labels carefully and then buy any coconut oil. Select that oil which is not hydrogenated or even partially-hydrogenated for the purpose of cooking.
Also, it is advisable that while using coconut oil for frying, be careful regarding its smoking point. You should not use it for extended periods beyond smoking point. When smoking point is reached you would be able to see smoke coming out of your frying pan!
Cooking with coconut oil is a great concept and has been in vogue for centuries in some countries. Coconut oil is replete with whole lot of nutrients and it is suggested to make it a part of your regular diet. Learn cooking with coconut oil and enjoy the benefits and aromatic sweet taste.