Coconut oil is my hot-product of the moment – as a spread for toast and oil for cooking – but a friend recently said it’s not good for us as it’s saturated fat, i.e. a heart health and weight-loss no-no. Yes, it’s a saturated fat but no, it isn’t bad for us, it’s actually very very good. So off I went to consult the powers of Google and I came back with some very very confusing answers. Luckily, health journalist Anna Magee, in her brand new book The De-stress Diet, explains why this is a wonder oil for our health and wellbeing, inside and out…
“Not all saturated fats behave the same. Plant versions like medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut cannot be stored as fat and so act thermogenically, raising fat-burning and metabolism. These are the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory fats like lauric acid caprylic acid, also found in human breast milk, pumpkin seeds and butter.”
Even more interesting, she says: “High dietary coconut is associated with low obesity and heart disease in culture that eat it a part of their traditional diet, showing abilities to regulate insulin, prevent metabolic syndrome, reduce heart disease risk factors and as a healthy addition to a weight-loss diet.”
So there you have it, a secret powerhouse. It comes as a solid in a jar or tub but turns liquid in warmer temperatures so it’s very versatile. I’ve also heard it’s great for applying straight to skin – I met a woman once who lives in Thailand (think of all the wrinkle-causing sun rays) but honestly she looked about ten years younger which she said was down to using only coconut oil on her face. I’m sold.
So, thank you Anna for the fab explanation that’s helped sort out the bad from the good. Now go forth and get coconut oil into your life! And please check out the exceedingly good health, diet and wellbeing book for an insightful (and seriously easy) way to live a healthier and happier life without stress and weight-gain: The De-Stress Diet by Anna Magee and Charlotte Watts (£12.99, HayHouse). Buy it. Now. You won’t be disappointed.