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Coconut Oil

Coconut oil seems to be one of those amazing foods like chia seeds.  When I was back home this weekend, my cousin and his fiancé were talking about how they’ve been using it quite a bit. from cooking with it to having a spoonful before going to bed.  They seem to really like it, which of course peaked my interest.  Well as luck would have it, when I was a Trader Joe’s earlier this week, there was a large display of, yes you guessed it, coconut oil.  I love trying new things so in the basket it went.  That night I used it to cook dinner and other than making the kitchen smell like the beach, I wasn’t sure why it was a good oil to consume.  (On a side note, do NOT put it in the refrigerator.  I don’t know why I thought that was a good idea but it left me digging the “oil” out with a knife. )  I definitely didn’t mind the coconuty flavor, so if it’s suppose to be so great, I’ll gladly consume it.  I only need to know why…

What are the benefits of coconut oil?

Coconut oil is the oil extracted from the kernel or meat of matured coconuts.  Back in 1994, the world viewed coconut oil as the devil of all oils because a study reported that movie theater popcorn (sans butter) was the same was consuming 6 Big Macs.  Holy cow! I’d stay away too.  However, it has since been determined that the coconut oil which was believed to increase blood cholesterol and raise blood pressure, was partially hydrogenated coconut oil (think trans fat), not the virgin coconut oil from Trader Joe’s.

Coconut oil is pure fat – 100 grams of coconut oil has 86 grams of saturated fat (I’m pretty sure nobody is going to consume 100 grams though).  The plus side is those 86 grams of saturated fat are comprised of lauric acid and stearic acid, which have many nutritional benefits.  Lauric acid is a medium-chain triglyceride.  This type of triglyceride can be digested and metabolized more quickly by the liver.  Also, because it doesn’t require the transporter L-carnitine to enter your mitochondria, it can cause you to not use as many carbs and instead, use your fat stores for energy.  The other vitamins and minerals found in coconut oil are vitamin E and vitamin K, which are important for cardiovascular fitness, and iron.

Coconut oil is believed to have numerous benefits.  It is anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, anti-microbial, and anti-oxidant.  I came across this article today which has over 150 uses and benefits of the oil.  With regards to fitness, coconut oil has been shown to stimulate your metabolism, improve thyroid function, and escalate energy levels.  This of course is great for any athlete as it can increase endurance and energy.  Other interesting uses of coconut oil are makeup remover, moisturizer, skin burn relief, swimmer’s ear, aftershave, and migraines.

So far I’ve only cooked with it once and I haven’t yet had a spoonful before bed.  However, I am looking forward to using it more often.  Perhaps next month, I will have super soft skin, no headaches, fabulous hair, and endless amounts of energy.  I’m looking forward to it!

And on a side note, I had a pretty awesome run this morning.  I sure have missed it!!


Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

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