Coconut oil was first produced in tropical countries like the Philippines and Solomon Islands in the 1920's, since then it has been used in many ways, but one of the most common uses for coconut oil is cooking. Coconut oil is extracted from the flesh of the coconut, this is usually done by press and separating the oil from the coconut flesh.
So, there's been a lot of debate over the years on coconut and whether or not it's healthy for you, especially coconut oil, since the American Heart Association (AHA) and other medical studies back in the 1950's said that coconut oil is filled with saturated fat and is therefore bad for you. However, coconut oil's history shows some of these studies were based on hydrogenated coconut oils, which is a highly processed form of the oil that's completely different to a naturally-processed, organic virgin coconut oil.
But this still leaves the question of whether our favourite tropical superfood is good for us or not.
While coconut oil DOES have saturated fat, it actually does the opposite of what regular saturated fats do (cause fat gain around the abdomen). These fats come from something called medium chain triglycerides which is actually where all the health benefits lie and where coconut helps with fat loss. Medium chain triglycerides or MCTs are one of the few forms of fat that is actually preferred by the body. To put it simply, the thing with these medium chain fatty acids, is that they are metabolized differently than the longer chain fats (most oils and animal fats) that are sent straight to the liver from the digestive tract, where they are either used for energy right away or turned into ketone bodies which helps in the cause of ketosis, and ketosis is partly what helps your body turn to fat for energy.
Coconut oil can be used as a conditioner to repair damaged hair. It acts as a moisturizer, leaving hair silky and shiny. You may have noticed a lot of hair products contain coconut.
Coconut oil is also good for the brain, as it has been proven to help treat brain dysfunctions such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
What type of coconut oil should I have?
There are a few types of coconut oils out there on store shelves including, coconut oil spray, liquid coconut oil and of course, coconut oil in its original form in a jar.
But are some coconut oils not as good as others?
If you compare coconut oil spray with original coconut oil, coconut oil spray as well as most other oil sprays generally tend to have added chemicals in them which can harm the environment. Most cooking sprays contain nitrous oxide which is a greenhouse gas and one of the most dangerous to the ozone layer. It can also be bad for our lungs! Even tiny amounts of cooking sprays, when heated can release very high concentrations of diacetyl which is a chemical that when inhaled can cause lung disease. So, I'd recommend to choose natural oils over the spray option.
When you buy coconut oil like any other oil always go for the extra virgin option, the reason being, oils with the label "Extra virgin" or "Virgin" means that they are the most unrefined and natural form of oil you can get, whereas an oil with the label "original" will have been refined and processed and is typically made with copra (dried kernel - meat) of the coconut, which is made by drying coconut in the sun. Refined coconut oil is referred to in the coconut industry as RBD (refined, bleached, and deodorized) coconut oil.
I'd say coconut oil is good for you in many ways both inside and out, it has medium chain triglycerides which are the best kind for the body when losing fat. Remember to use extra virgin or virgin coconut oil from a jar and avoid canned spray oils. Enjoy in moderation.
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