Coconuts remind me of a tropical vacation – a locale far, far away from the busy, dirty, noisy Manhattan streets; a place where flip flops replace Christian Louboutin heels, where sounds of ocean waves replace taxi cab horns, and where bikinis replace Wall Street suits.
Cooking with coconut oil in my Manhattan apartment not only brings a little bit of paradise into my day, it also brings a whole lot of nutrition into my life! Coconut oil surprisingly has numerous health benefits. Hopefully after reading this post, you too will consider adding a little bit of paradise into your life.
1. Helps you lose weight
This is the main reason people cook with coconut oil instead of vegetable or soybean oil. While soybean oil is also considered a healthy alternative, coconut oil can also help you lose weight. It has medium chain fatty acids versus long chain fatty acids, which are in soybean oil. Medium chain triglycerides or MCTs are easily absorbed by the body, which means they are quickly converted into energy and never stored as fat. Faster metabolism as you know, means better weight loss. Many endurance athletes use coconut oil for energy and endurance.
2. Aids in immune function
One of the main MCTs that coconut oil contains is lauric acid. The body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which is used to help fight bacteria and viruses such as herpes, HIV, and influenza. It is also thought to be helpful in fighting cancer and preventing hyperthyroidism. Lauric acid is also responsible for increasing the HDL, or good cholesterol, in our bodies.
3. Better digestion
Coconut oil is quickly absorbed by the body as we know now. Therefore, less energy and less enzymes are required putting less strain on your digestive tract.
4. Great for skin and hair
When you buy a jar of coconut oil, you not only have a cooking agent, but you also have a skin and hair moisturizer! Coconut oil is great to use on dry skin and helps to reduce protein loss in over-treated, dry hair.
I use coconut oil to cook instead of butter, margarine, or vegetable oil. Vegetable oil is soybean oil, and too much soy in your diet can be bad for the thyroid and for your digestion. Soy contains phytoestrogens, which mimic estrogen. There have been incidences where men who included a lot of soy in their diets, developed gynecomastia, or “man boobs.” And higher levels of estrogen are linked to breast cancer in women. I used to use soybean oil to cook with but have since switched to coconut oil. Coconut oil is a solid at room temperature and is often sold in the dietary supplement section of a health food store. And yes, a jar of coconut oil does indeed smell like paradise too!