The words “saturated fat” have become synonymous with “heart disease”.  But, there is  a difference between the medium chain saturated fatty acids in coconut oil and the long chain fatty acids in meat and some other foods.  Unfortunately for most people, saturated fat is thought to be some evil substance lurking in certain foods waiting for the opportunity to pounce and strike you down with a heart attack.  Not so with coconut oil.

Due to corporate greed and misinformation coconut and palm oils were shunned as artery-clogging fats.  Despite testimonials of respected medical professionals and lipid experts, the myth took root and the media spread the word.  These healthy oils were soon replaced with trans fatty acids and labeled as “healthy” vegetable oils.  Obviously time has proven this to be a mistake and now every product must have a label referring to the amount of trans fat.

Without boring anyone with a chemistry and biochemistry lesson here, the basics is that most fats in our foods, if not used immediately as an energy source, are stored as fat in the tissues of our bodies.  Coconut oil, because it is primarily made of medium and short-chain fatty acids is broken down and used for energy production and seldom ends up as body fat or deposits in the arteries.  It produces energy, not fat.  It also has a negative effect on blood cholesterol and helps protect against heart disease.

According to Bruce Fife, The Coconut Oil Miracle the estimated amount suitable for adults is 3 1/2 tablespoons pure coconut oil, or 7 ounces of fresh coconut meat, or 2 3/4 cups dried shredded coconut, or 10 ounces coconut milk.

My suggestion?  Make this your primary cooking oil.  It has a moderately low smoke point, about 350 degrees.  You don’t need any special instructions or recipes, simply use it in place of other oils in recipes that call for butter, shortening, margarine, or vegetable oil, especially if you are heating the oil.  For cooking, it’s the best!  It isn’t absorbed into foods, melts easily,  and doesn’t splatter as much.  You can also add it to hot beverages.

Coconut oil is very stable and doesn’t require refrigeration.  So it’s wonderful as a lotion for the skin.  It’s germ fighting properties help inside and out.

The health benefits are amazing, from promoting weight loss, preventing premature aging of the skin, strengthening the immune system, improving digestion, and protecting against heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and many other degenerative diseases.

For all the wonderful benefits of coconut oil, check out Bruce Fife’s book which includes extensive research as well as great recipes.