Refined coconut oil is another one of those foods that have truly changed my life for the better. I think I drive my loved ones mad with the frequency with which I speak of the virtues of coconut oil (and bone broth … don’t forget the magical bone broth). Coconut oil is the best cooking oil out there, from a taste perspective (I haven’t met anyone which has disapproved of the taste of refined coconut oil yet) and from a health perspective. It has the best of both worlds!
I was reminded to blog about coconut oil, due to me running out of the stuff yesterday! Between my girlfriend and I (mostly me though) we went through 12 liters of the stuff in about 9 weeks. It’s good for you, it’s cheap and it’s tasty! I kinda feel like a lost sailor at sea without my beloved coconut oil…
Anyways… Coconut oil is a very special type of fat. It’s very different to most of the other types of fat we know such as the sunflower oils, butter, margarine, animal fat, olive oil etc. Coconut oil is very high in something known as medium chain triglycerides. Medium chain triglycerides are very different to the usual fats we use in that they are directly used as an energy source by the body and are not usually incorporated into cell membranes. What this means in a nutshell is that coconut oil is turned into energy rather than fat.
This is great from a vanity perspective. You are almost guaranteed to lose unwanted weight by replacing all your cooking oils with coconut oil. On a personal note, I have eaten up to 12 tablespoons of coconut oil a day (that’s approximately 1500 calories) and have not gone above 71kg (I’m 176cm tall), despite often eating more than 3000 calories a day. Coconut oil is a great energy and metabolism booster.
Much more important than vanity, this is very important from a mental health perspective. Remember, low blood sugar can cause all of the symptoms of panic attacks, anxiety and even depression, in part due to a rise in adrenal hormones and not having enough energy available to power your brain and organs. As mentioned, coconut oil is a wonderful source of very easily digestible and useable energy that will help keep your blood sugars stable. I’ve definitely noticed an unparalleled difference in my mood and cognitive abilities since almost exclusively using coconut oil as my cooking and “taste” oil.
According to Paul Jaminet, most people would improve their health by eating 2 tablespoons of coconut oil per day, since the normal diet is practically devoid of medium chain triglycerides. Mother’s milk effectively provides this amount to newborn babies if you take into account the energy expenditure and intake of babies compared to adults. Human milk makes a good comparison since it’s the perfect food for babies. Seems like another good reason to be ingesting some coconut oil…
On page 85 of his wonderful book Perfect Health Diet, Paul Jaminet cites a bunch of studies using coconut oil (used in large amounts in certain clinical ketogenic diets) to improve everything from depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism and more. We may not all need to go to such extremes of using so much coconut oil, but the consistency of using it overtime makes a big difference.
I found this quote by Ray Peat to be very interesting
Rabbit experiments, and studies of humans, showed that the amount of unsaturated oil in the diet strongly affects the rate at which aged, wrinkled skin develops. The unsaturated fat in the skin is a major target for the aging and carcinogenic effects of ultraviolet light, though not necessarily the only one.
Since eating a diet high in saturated fat, and in particular high in coconut oil, I don’t burn easily in the sun anymore. I never ever wear sunscreen and my tolerance for UV light has increased substantially. This could be due to other factors of course, but if Ray Peat is right then this could have something to do with it. Apparently you can use coconut oil externally as a sunscreen also.
At this point you may be wondering why I prefer refined coconut oil, as opposed to the more “natural” unrefined coconut oil? Matt Stone says it better than I could … In a nutshell, better taste, price, the same health benefits as unrefined coconut oil if not even more, coconut oil doesn’t get damaged by heat, so nothing to worry about in the refining process. All in all a super “win” idea!
Tomorrow I’ll blog some more about coconut oil, including how to incorporate it into your lifestyle (it’s really simple…).