Coconut oil is incredibly popular among followers of the Paleo diet, as are most other parts of the coconut. For many Paleo beginners, coconut oil is an important source of calories and healthy fats. The oil has a lot of things going for it: it’s a non-dairy fat, it’s convenient, it’s as natural as you can get and it’s tasty too. But does that mean that it’s worthy of being a Paleo diet staple?
The Benefits of Coconut Oil
There are many good things about this oil, including the following:
- It is a highly saturated fat and it remains stable at high temperatures.
- It is low in polyunsaturated fats.
- The oil contains medium-chain fatty acids that have anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, as well as metabolic benefits.
- It is easier to digest than dairy-related oils.
- Coconuts are rich in antioxidants.
How Coconut Can Improve Your Health
There are many benefits associated with these oils and coconut in general. The oils are good for your skin and can help to reduce the symptoms of psoriasis and eczema. In addition, they can improve the condition of your hair and skin. There is also some evidence that consuming coconut aids weight loss, improves thyroid function and can help to relieve chronic fatigue syndrome and pancreatitis, as well as protect you from bladder infections.
These many health benefits can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, which converts to monolaurin in the human body. Monolaurin is also found in human breast milk, which has many immune-system-boosting properties.
Reasons to Avoid Coconut
Pure coconut is generally quite healthy to consume, but if you are buying coconut milk from the supermarket then you may end up getting more than you bargained for. Many milk-based preparations include guar gum as an additive to thicken the milk and guar gum allergies or sensitivities are not uncommon.
Which Type of Oil Is Best?
Coconut oil comes in many forms, but unrefined oil is the best choice for most purposes. It is all right to use refined oil for frying, or as a moisturiser or a bath oil. However, if you actually plan to consume the oil, opt for unrefined oils. Ideally, the oil should be either centrifuged, expeller-pressed or cold-pressed. Heated oils tend to go rancid quite quickly and have a much stronger flavour. Pressed oils are milder in taste, but tend to last much longer.
You can use the oil in a wide range of foods. It is ideal for stir fries and also makes a healthy Paleo diet friendly alternative to butter and margarine. You can add it to dips, or use it as a base for mayonnaise. Some people even like to mix it into protein shakes or add it to their day-to-day drinks to give themselves some extra calories and a nice energy boost.
If you aren’t eating a lot of fat in your day-to-day diet, then you should try adding coconut oil to it. It is one of the tastiest and healthiest fats you can get.