April 02, 2016

Healthy fats in your diet and on your skin

For thousands of years throughout Asia and the Pacific, Coconut oil has been used as both a food and as a medicine. Coconut Butter/ oil still holds a highly respected status by the Ayurvedic physicians of India. It is widely grown in all parts of the tropics and sub-tropics and has been the primary source of fat in the diets of millions of people for many generations.

Due to its small molecular structure, it is easily absorbed through the skin, making rough skin smooth and soft, and helping to relieve skin conditions such as Psoriasis and Eczema. Virgin Coconut oil is packed with antioxidants and is especially useful in fighting free-radicals, as it is unrefined and hasn't been stripped of any of its natural components through the refining process, quite unlike many conventional body care products which contain refined vegetable oil and have had all the antioxidants stripped from them.

We automatically associate fat in our diet with weight gain and high cholesterol, this is true of some types of fat, however, natural fats such as coconut butter/ oil have HEALTH BENEFITS, is highly digestible, versatile and a fantastic addition to any raw-food diet, studies have shown it to successfully support weight management programmes.

Fats that should be avoided of course are Trans Fats. Trans Fats raise your LDL cholesterol (this is known as bad cholesterol) and lower your HDL cholesterol (known as good cholesterol). Increases triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood) this can lead to hardening of the arteries, or thickening of the artery walls, increasing the risk of heart disease, heart attack, strokes and diabetes. Increase Lp(a) lipoprotein, this is a type of LDL cholesterol found in the blood which promotes a build up of plaque in the arteries. Can cause increased inflammation. Some common foods that contain trans fats are vegetable shortening, fried foods, cakes, biscuits and some margarines.

Many fats in our diet contain what is known as long-chain fatty acids, whereas Coconut Butter / Oil contains mostly medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) This content makes the physical and chemical properties of coconut very different from other oils and fats. The body tends to use MCFAs straight away as clean burn energy rather than storing it. This in turn helps the body to burn fat instead of increasing body weight. Coconut oil is a major source of antimicrobial fatty acids, these are lauric acid and octanoic acid. They are used by the body to kill or disable pathogenic viruses, bacteria, yeast, fungi and parasites. Coconut oil is considered to be a lauric fat because nearly half of its fatty acids are lauric, it also contains caprylic, capric and caproic acid as well as myristic acid, this is used in the metabolism for the stabilisation of cell production.

Coconut oil, when heated, does not form trans fats, due to its high smoke-point. This makes it a very stable and excellent oil for cooking to which it adds a delicious coconut flavour when using virgin coconut oil. If you prefer to use the oil without the coconut flavour, the alternative is non-virgin coconut oil, this version is deodorised using temperature, but under a vacuum, so that the beneficial properties of the oil remains unaffected.