Recently I read an article about the saturated fat in coconut oil and it raised a question. I delayed using coconut oil for several years when it was first promoted as containing many health benefits. My body’s natural intelligence didn’t immediately embrace coconut oil. Then when I heard it was anti-yeast, I got on board and really loved the taste. However, after using it for several years, I haven’t noticed any of the promised health benefits. I’ve continued using it because it tastes great and it enhances the flavor of bean dishes and stir fries.
So lets look at a few facts, and then I’ll suggest an easy experiment using your body’s intelligence to see if coconut oil is right for you. The information I’ll paraphrase in my own words an article by Alona Pulde, MD and Matthew Laderman, MD, July 7, 2015.
Did you know that coconut oil is over 90% saturated fat? I know maybe half of that is Medium-Chain Fatty Acids. These MCFA’s are touted to not be absorbed by the liver, and as a result, have the potential to promote weight loss. I’m not sure this has been proven or if it’s just a theory; and using coconut oil hasn’t resulted in weight loss for me. Nonetheless, subtract half for the potential goodness of MCFA’s from the total saturated fat content of coconut oil and it becomes 45% saturate fat. Yikes, lard is only 43%. I know lard isn’t an oil I want to eat for health, so what does that say about coconut oil?
It’s true that some of these MCFA’s, like lauric and caprylic acid, have anti-fungal and antiviral properties. In fact, coconut oil is reputed to ward off candida yeast and certain pathogens and viruses. Even so, many who proclaim coconut oil’s value suggest being prudent with its use, ingesting no more than 1 teaspoon daily.
Yes, coconut oil is pure fat and over 90% saturated fat, the kind that clogs arteries and can contribute to heart attacks.
So how do I decide if coconut oil is ideal for me? A simple test is put one half teaspoon in a hot pan and smell the vapors from the oil by sweeping your hand across the top of the pan toward your nose. Have a good whiff and see what your body’s natural intelligence says. It will give you a sense right away of “yes” or “no.” I just did this little test and my body didn’t say, “Yum, give me more.” So I’m going to make a change and begin using some other oils for cooking.
This is such a great learning for me, to always rely on my body’s natural intelligence in choosing the whole foods and oils that are ideal for my health. And remember, avocado, walnuts, flax and chia seeds supply us with oil in the whole food form that the human physiology evolved with, and they don’t put a strain on the liver when eaten in moderation.
Several healing foods disciplines I’ve studied are very careful about the use of oil, suggesting using only unrefined toasted sesame or sunflower oil for cooking. And it’s recommend to use no more than 1 tablespoon daily of all oils for salad dressings or cooking.
I’ll use toasted sesame and sunflower oil more often now. I’ve done the vapor test on these two oils and get a strong “Yes.” Also one of my favorite salad recipes follows. It has so much flavor from the vegetables, it needs little oil and is totally delicious. Enjoy!
To Your Amazing Health,
Favorite Salad Recipe
6 to 8 red or leafy green lettuce leaves, washed well and torn in pieces
1 tomato sliced in wedges
1/2 cucumber, peeled and slices
1 small carrot cut in thin slices
1 small turnip, peeled and cut
handful of walnuts
1/2 avocado, cut in chunky pieces
2 to 3 tablespoons of sauerkraut on top the veggies
1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil with 1/2 teaspoon umeboshi vinegar. Stir well and drizzle over salad.