5 great reasons why Coconut Oil is good for you

Isn’t it lovely when you meet someone who is genuinely kind and considerate and on your wavelength?

I was in our local health food shop in Colchester (Natural Foods run by John) buying some more dairy free chocolate a few days ago, and I met a real gem of a woman. Rose and I struck up a conversation about Coconut Oil, and she was extolling the virtues so much that I couldn’t wait to find out more on the internet. Why Coconut Oil is so good for you

As many of you may know, there has been lots of controversy surrounding the use of Coconut Oil in cooking as it contains saturated fat and was thought to be bad for you. Indeed, I tried using it in cooking in the past but had bought the ‘wrong’ kind (refined and hydrogenated) and after some research, had decided it was not for me on health grounds. However, Rose was so persuasive and so passionate about the benefits of using Coconut Oil, that having researched it again some 4 years later, I thought I’d share what I’ve found out. Far from being a health disaster, it would seem that Coconut Oil is, in fact, exceedingly good for you.

5 health benefits of using Coconut Oil in cooking

1. Coconut Oil is a ‘saturated fat’, but although it was until recently thought to be very bad for you in terms of heart disease etc, it is now known that the oil in Coconuts is of a very different composition and possesses many health benefits. Unlike almost all other fats we eat (animal and vegetable) which consist of long chain fatty acids, Coconut Oil is made of medium chain fatty acids (MCFA). The difference is important because it is the long chains that cause heart disease and artherosclerosis (furring up of our blood vessels leading to high blood pressure) not the medium chains. So Coconut Oil actually lowers the risk of these diseases.

2. Coconut OIl is broken down into lauric acid and then to monolaurin by the body. These compounds, especially monolaurin, have been shown to possess excellent antibacterial and antimicrobial properties able to halt the growth of, or even kill off, some of the most dangerous viruses and bacteria around. In addition, Coconut Oil offers good anti fungal and anti yeast properties. Useful, therefore, in helping prevent some very commonplace problems like candida overgrowth (thrush).

3. Virgin Coconut Oil is one of the very few oils that is not damaged by heating. Many of the oils we use regularly are degraded by heating and can become toxic with increased heat. Eating them can lead to artherosclerosis, inflammatory joint disease and even birth defects. It also has a very long shelf life and doesn’t start to degrade if not used fairly quickly like olive, sunflower and our other regular choices.

4. Coconut Oil improves digestion and helps the body to absorb minerals, vitamins and amino acids. Because it is made from medium chain triglycerides, it does not need extra enzymes in order for it to be broken down in the body allowing your digestive system to concentrate on absorbing the nutrients it does need.

5. It provides an immediate source of energy as it is so easily digested and quickly metablised. This helps in maintaining a steady weight, and according to some researchers, can even help you to lose weight by boosting your metabolic rate. The medium chain fatty acids are matabolised much faster than the long chain fatty acids that make up 98% of our diets in the western world, thus they don’t hang around for long enough to be layed down as fat in our bodies.

There are huge lists of Coconut Oil benefits when you begin researching, but I think the 5 I have raised are among the most important deciding factors when considering a switch away from ‘regular’ oils.

Let me know what you think? Would you switch from olive, sunflower or whatever other oil you currently use? I am, as always, interested in your comments!

Gluten, Dairy and Soya free Chocolate Spread

Dairy Free Chocolate Spread

Asda's Chocolate Spread

One of my goals is to spread the word of where to buy allergy-free products from mainstream places in order to make life a little easier for those of us dealing with food allergies. Not only that, but to give a review of things we try and think others might be interested in, particularly if it is very yummy! When we find something that is SO delicious we’ll shout out loud and clear!

Increasingly and thankfully there are new products coming into the market all the time and it’s important to support these in order to spread the word and drive demand hopefully resulting in wider availability and lower prices.

To that end, I’ve just been making my son Ben a ‘Cocolate Banana’ and it occurred to me that not everyone will have found Asda’s ‘Dark Chocolate Spread’ which just happens te be free from dairy, gluten and soya. The allergy advice says, ‘May contain traces of nuts and milk’. However, Ben is extremely sensitive to milk – really really sensitive, and we’ve been buying this for at least 18months and he’s always been totally fine with it.

Although it says ‘Dark Chocolate Spread’, let me assure you that it tastes just like milk chocolate which is especially good for children who are devasted by not being able to have chocolate any more…