Cooking with olive oil is pretty commonplace these days. The oil is far healthier than lots of other options, and is considered best for all kinds of cooking, from frying to baking. Coconut oil is slowly gaining ground, however, becoming more popular in the kitchens of food lover sand folk who are interested in maintaining good health and trying different cuisine.
If you’ve never thought about cooking with coconut oil before, now’s the time to do it. There are numerous offerings from the supermarkets, and with any organic coconut oil from the stores, you can enjoy a wide range of health benefits that makes cooking with this oil even more intriguing.
Take a look at these wide-ranging benefits of replacing your cooking oil with coconut oil, and learn how you can improve your cooking and your health!
1 – It increases calories burned
Switching to coconut oil won’t definitely mean that you will lose weight, especially if you cook unhealthy and fatty foods – but it can contribute towards your weight loss quite significantly. In fact, organic, virgin coconut oil contains around 60% more medium-chain fatty acids, which are used by the body as an efficient source of energy.
The more of these fatty acids you consume, the more calories your body will burn in turn making it easier for you to lose weight.
In a study that included 20 obese men, it was found that consuming as little as 30ml of coconut oil each day, an individual is able to decrease their waist line by almost 3cm. Though this was a relatively small and limited study, it shows how incorporating coconut oil into your diet can really benefit you – particularly when compared to olive oil.
2 – It offers a unique taste
Unlike olive oil, coconut oil has quite a distinct taste. Sure, there are lots of aged olive oils that do have their unique flavors, but coconut oil is slightly less subtle, and creates a unique, nutty taste that can compliment a wide range of dishes. Whether you’re simply frying off a small amount of food, or cooking a whole feast using the oil, you can add depth to your meal with this natural oil.
The key to getting the best out of the coconut oil flavour is not to cook at too high a heat (and burn both your food and the oil), but to also pick the right kind of coconut oil.
Refined coconut oil tends to be tasteless, making it perfect for people who simply want to use it as an olive oil alternative. If you would like to enjoy the flavour, however, then it’s important to choose an unrefined coconut oil that is labelled ‘virgin’ or ‘extra-virgin’. These kinds of oil are made from the very first pressing of raw coconut, and do not include any extra ingredients, chemicals or preservatives.
Do also be aware that the higher the heat you cook with, the more intense the coconut flavour becomes.
3 – It reduces bad cholesterol
Cooking with coconut oil can also do wonders for your bad cholesterol levels. When you consume virgin, unrefined coconut oil, you are giving your body a boost of both polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. Despite being fats, they are healthy for you, and these two varieties of fat can actually lower your bad cholesterol levels.
If that wasn’t enough, unrefined coconut oil can also increase your levels of enzymes, including lipoprotein lipase, which is able to help break down your fat cells and make you lose weight. It also increased the production of bile within the body, helping us digest our foods more efficiently and remove a number of fats. When combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise, the addition of coconut oil to your diet and cooking can ensure that you stay slim, trim and healthy.
4 – It’s full of antioxidants
Antioxidants help the body protect against oxidation, protecting cells and allowing them to maintain their function for longer. For this reason, antioxidants are necessary for a long life and good health. Coconut oil is packed full of antioxidants, including polyphenols and flavonoids, making it ideal for cooking with. When preparing healthy, nutrient-rich foods, coconut oil can add an extra boost of antioxidants to make your meal that little bit healthier.
5 – It protects your heart and blood vessels.
As mentioned, coconut oil is full of antioxidants – and out of those antioxidants, polyphenols can help stop blood vessels from stiffening. The stiffening of blood vessels is one of the most common causes of heart attacks, along with smoking and unhealthy diets. This antioxidant reduces the oxidative stress on the cells that make up our blood vessels, helping them stay flexible and functioning properly.
Not only that, but polyphenols have been shown to reduce blood pressure in elderly folk.
6 – Coconut-rich diets promote long, healthy lives
In groups and countries that eat a lot of coconut, you almost always see people enjoying longer, healthier lives. Populations that consume more calories from coconuts than we in the West are far more health in terms of longevity of life, our weight and general wellbeing.
For instance, the Tokelauans eat more than 50% of their daily calories in the form of coconut, and they also ate the most saturated fat out of any other group in the world. There is also the Kitavan population, which ate around 17% of calories from saturated fat, which came almost entirely from coconut. In both of these groups there have been no examples of heart disease and blood vessel troubles, despite the large consumption of saturated fat.
So to conclude, whether you’re a keen cook looking to try something new, or you’d just like to improve your health by cooking more healthily, be sure to experiment with unrefined coconut oil. It offers a wealth of health benefits and can provide a new take on a number of recipes.