February 2014 By Life Positive Our good old coconut oil has received a lot of bad press from the health experts of the world who condemned it for its cholesterol raising properties. It was considered to cause heart disease and other health problems. As a result, many diehard coconut oil lovers had begun to eschew it, fearing its harmful effects. But now, many health experts are recommending this oil, claiming it to be one of the world’s healthiest oils. Coconut oil: distilled goodness Says Writer Elaine Rosales, who is doing research on coconut products, “Virgin coconut oil is highly recommended for cooking, because it is stable enough to resist heat-induced damage. It is even better than extra-virgin olive oil, which is great when used as a salad dressing or mixed in cold dips, but can be a problem when heated. This is because olive oil’s chemical structure also makes it susceptible to oxidative damage.” Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) or medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs are smaller and more easily digested by your body, so they do not get stored as fat. Whereas vegetable cooking oils contain long-chain fatty acids or long-chain triglycerides (LCTs). LCTs are larger and are difficult to break down, adding to your body’s toxic burden. Says Elaine, “Almost 50 per cent of the fat in coconut oil is also made of lauric acid, a compound with unique health promoting properties. Lauric acid is converted in your body to monolaurin, which has antibacterial, antiviral, and antiprotozoal properties. So instead of buying refined oil brands, stick to our old standby: the coconut oil. Apart from the health benefits it also has a richer, sweeter flavour. However, a note of caution. Some commercial coconut oils are made from the dried-up meat called copra, which is cheaper, production-wise. These are refined, bleached, and deodorised, which removes the beneficial nutrients from the oil, adding in unhealthy bleaching agents and chemical solvents. The best coconut oils are made from fresh coconuts, and are cold-processed. This process does not destroy the beneficial nutrients in the oil and also prevents the entry of harmful chemicals in it. Therefore, it becomes necessary to check the source of the oil before you buy it. But this news does reinforce the funda that old is gold, and natural is best.
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