Coconut oil has long been regarded as an unhealthy fat in the United States, although it is enjoyed liberally in many other countries, especially where the coconut palm naturally flourishes. In those countries it is a key daily dietary component.
However, here in the West we are beginning to rethink this narrow-minded stance, as there are solid scientific arguments that contradict prior opinion. Coconut oil is a saturated fat, and a healthy diet should consist of no more than 6% saturated fat out of total fat intake. However, most of what we consume in the United States consists of artery-clogging long-chain saturated fats derived from animals. The plant-based medium-chain fatty acids or medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) tend to digest quickly, producing energy and stimulating the metabolism. A number of studies have found that the MCTs in coconut oil neither are as readily converted into stored fats as long-chain fats are nor can be readily used by the body to make larger fat molecules. It now appears that if we replace unhealthy fats such as margarine, shortening, and conventional vegetable oils with coconut oil, we will not only store less body fat but also increase our metabolism. The fatty acid profile of coconut consists primarily of caprylic and lauric acids, which support immune function. Researchers have also discovered that the lauric acid fraction in coconut oil has antiviral and antimicrobial properties.
Coconut oil is practically tasteless, which means that it will not adversely affect food flavors.
Where in your meal preparation can you incorporate this healthy fat?