11. Coconut oil
Coconut oil has enjoyed some highs and lows recently. First touted as the latest “super-food”, it was then found to increase bad (LDL) cholesterol in the blood – it has more saturated fat (the bad one) than butter. In fact, it consists of nearly 90% saturated fatty acids. It also boosts good (HDL) cholesterol production and has been shown to reduce weight and waistlines in people with heart issues (all helpful things in warding off heart disease).
Recent research has shown that the saturated fat found in coconut oil is not the same as the “bad” saturated fat you find in butter or meat. The Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) that make up coconut oil’s saturated fat are dealt with by your body differently to the long chain fatty acids found in other fats. They actually end up being a good source of energy and ketones which can help with some brain disorders like epilepsy or Alzheimers.
The energy that comes from the MCTs can also make you burn calories quicker and help with your weight over the long term. At the same time, the ketones can reduce your appetite causing you to eat less, thus increasing any weight loss. Even better, it seems the weight loss is often centered on belly fat which is one of the highest risk factors for heart problems. Combined with the increase in HDL and the reduction of LDL cholesterols, your arteries are better protected.
Coconut oil is definitely proving to be a true “super-food” and has a multitude of other benefits and uses. Make sure you buy organic or extra virgin oil though, as the refined oils will not have the same chemical make-up. You can use it for cooking at a high heat, baking, salad dressings, sauces, coffee creamer, to make healthy snacks and as a replacement for butter or other oils. You can also use it as a beauty treatment for your skin or hair.