It’s interesting how commercial interests from 60 years ago still impact our understanding of “what’s good for us”.
I guess that’s the power of marketing, but I can’t help but feel sorry for those poor old Philippine and Indonesian farmers who lost out when the new, rich kids on the block turned up to the party with their “healthy” vegetable oils and enormous marketing budgets.
When they painted picture of the saturated fat-laden coconut oil as the villan, they knew that the tropical oil producers never stood a chance in refuting these claims.
And so was created the myth that coconut oil along with its saturates and cholesterol is clogging up our arteries and prematurely stopping hearts.
Tests have indeed been conducted to “prove” the danger of coconut oil, but these were carried out using hydrogenated coconut oil rather than the pure virgin stuff that has the health benefits.
In fact the whole idea of a diet high in saturated fat being bad for us is wobbling, as more and more medical researchers are starting to question the flawed study in the 1950s by Dr. Ancel Keys that started the whole thing off.
Even the most perfect food known to mankind – human breast milk – is 54% saturated fat and you don’t hear many detractors of this for the little ankle biters do you?
There are many proven health benefits to eating and cooking with this type of oil (even compared to olive oil) such as boosting immunity and bone density and significantly on reducing abdominal fat in weight loss subjects.
Several tests have shown that the medium chain amino acids (MCAA) in coconut oil help to improve thyroid function as well as take some of the load off the pancreas, allowing them to get on with their own jobs more efficiently.
It’s also a powerful antioxidant, helping to couter-balance all those pesky free-radicals flying around your body causing merry hell.
You can even rub the stuff all over your body and get benefits – coconut oil is one of the best massage oils on the planet for the health of our skin.
I normally add a spoonful into my smoothies or use it to fry steaks or chicken in. You can also just eat a spoonful of it for an instant taste of the Caribbean!
You can get it in health food shops or online; it’s more expensive than a bottle of bog-standard olive oil (it’s about a tenner a jar) but the health and fat loss benefits are worth it.
Here’s a great recipe for coconut parsnip chips – healthy, tasty and great running fuel.
- 3 parsnips
- 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons almond or cashew butter
- half teaspoon sea salt
- handful of grated coconut
Preheat the oven to 200°C and peel and slice parsnips into thin chips.
In a large bowl mix together the nut butter, coconut oil and sea salt, then toss the parsnip slices in the almond butter mixture.
Put the grated coconut on a plate and roll each parsnip slice in the coconut before placing the coated parsnip slices on a baking tray in a single layer. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until parsnips cooked and coating is golden brown and crispy.