Coconut oil seems to be gaining a lot of popularity these days. Many have switched loyalties, clearing their cupboards of all refined vegetable oils and making space for the coconut oils. But any choice you make needs to be rooted in logic and science. So this article deals with what makes coconut oil the better choice among many other contenders, despite its strong coconutty flavor. Read on to know what are the pros of using this oil –
What is coconut oil?
Coconut oil is a type of saturated fat (solid at room temperature) which is extracted from the flesh of mature coconuts. The many saturated fatty acids that coconut oil is made up of (7 to be precise), are largely “medium chain” (consisting of 8 to 12 carbon atoms), which give it the properties of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) and a lot of the health benefits they possess.
For the sake of this article, I’m going to be using the terms ‘coconut oils’ and ‘MCT’s’ interchangeably.
Advantages of coconut oil-
Coconut oil and weight loss:–
Yes, you heard it right. Coconut oil aids in weight loss. But, that doesn’t mean you indulge in 3 square meals of dum biryani, just because it is cooked in coconut oil! Calorie deficit is still the king.
That being said, coconut oil may act as a catalyst in your weight loss journey in 4 ways:-
- Lower Calorie Count
MCT oils have 10 percent lesser calories as compared to other oils. A gram of MCTs provide only 8.3 Kcal as compared to regular oils, which provide 9 Kcal. When on a diet, this pushes you further into deficit, facilitating weight loss.
- Digested Quickly
Ever wondered why we take bulletproof coffee (fancy term for coffee and coconut oil) before our workouts. Isn’t that a weird combination?
Well, this is because MCT’s are metabolized very differently in our bodies as compared to other fats (Long Chain Triglycerides). Due to their short structure, they get readily oxidized in the liver to produce energy, and hence, less chances of getting stored as fat.
- Increased Thermogenic Effect
Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) is the amount of calories the body burns to process the foods we consume.
Coconut oils possess a higher value of TEF than other fats, which means more calories are burned to process them. Result—weight loss!
- Appetite Control and Increased Satiety
If you’re someone just trying to eat healthy and indulging in intuitive eating, coconut oil could be your best friend. Research shows that including more MCT’s in your diet can improve satiety, and thus limit excess calorie intake and weight gain.
Coconut Oil and Disease Control:-
Omega 6 are pro-inflammatory fatty acids which are present in refined oils, sunflower oils, etc. A high ratio of omega 6 to omega 3, which is the case with majority of our diets, is one of the major causes of many inflammatory diseases, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and several auto-immune disorders.
Consuming coconut oil, which is relatively very low in Omega-6, can help bring this ratio down, therefore reducing the risk factor for these diseases.
Coconut Oil and Pregnancy:-
While having coconuts during pregnancy will certainly not result in your child being fair (a very popular myth), having coconut oil after delivery may improve the quality of nutrition for your little one.
Lauric acid is a fatty acid which is found in human breast milk. It has anti-microbial properties and promotes good health of the newborn. Coconut oil comprises of around 50% Lauric acid, which helps in improving the quality of breast milk.
Coconut oil and Cosmetics:-
Coconut oil can be used for a lot of cosmetic purposes as well.
- It is widely used as a skin moisturizer.
- Studies have shown that it can reduce symptoms of eczema.
- It is also helpful for those suffering from hair loss. Research shows that coconut oil can reduce hair protein loss to a great extent.
Disadvantages of coconut oil:-
They say, excess of anything is bad. Well, it applies here too.
Coconut oil is a saturated fat, which if consumed in excess amounts, can lead to a higher risk of obesity-related disorders. But if you’re following a structured diet and keeping an eye on your fat intake, you have nothing to worry about.
Coconut oil provides a host of health benefits, and is truly one of Mother Nature’s superfoods. So go ahead and include it in your diet as your macros would allow it, and enjoy its many benefits!
Article Credits – Sandeepak Ghosh