Now, if you look anywhere for paleo anything, you’ll start to see a trend. Everything has coconut. Well….not everything. But pretty close.
Every time I need oil for something, I reach for a jar of coconut oil. If I need a yogurt/milk replacement in shakes or creamy sauces, coconut milk/cream does the trick. It’s relatively inexpensive and not all of it is overwhelmingly coconut-tasting.
Coconuts are awesome.
But why? I mean…..they do look weird.
But! Much like my rant about avocados and their healthy fat content, coconuts offer similar benefits when it comes to fat.
- Coconut oil is highly saturated and stays stable under high heat
- Coconut oil is very low in polyunsaturated fat
- The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil have antibacterial and antifungal properties that can help those dealing with gut flora imbalances.
- Coconut oil doesn’t need bile to be assimilated and is therefore easier to digest, especially for those with digestive or gallbladder issues
- Coconut products offer antioxidant properties
- The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut can offer metabolic advantages, as discussed in the following section.
“What’s of interest to us is not necessarily specific foods and their availability during the Paleolithic Era, since the diet would have been so varied depending on the climate, geography and season. The metabolic effect and macronutrient ratio of our food is much more important to try to reproduce our ancestor’s health through today’s choices. After all, the ruminants and birds available in the Paleolithic were much different, but it doesn’t make beef or chicken poorer choices by default.
In the same way, coconut oil is a fat that’s mostly saturated and that is very low in polyunsaturated fat, which is something desirable because of the stability and functions of saturated fat in the body.”
“There are still many people who have negative associations with anything that contains ‘saturated fat’. I believe this mainly is conceived through the belief that saturated fat from animals raises blood cholesterol levels and causes heart disease. However, there is no evidence showing that too much animal fat in the diet promotes heart disease. In-fact there is over 20 studies that have shown people who have had a heart attack haven’t consumed more fat than people who have not had a heart attack.
Animal fat should be the main source of energy for our bodies, without modern technology processing food and making it available at our convenient local grocery, we would be picking fruit and vegetables when they where in season, and hunting for animal meat.
I’ve heard on many occasions that nutritionists have advised patients that coconut oil is bad for their health because it’s close to 90% saturated fat. These nutritionists are poorly educated and have failed to differentiate the many types of saturated fats from each other.
Saturated fat can be broken into three different categories, short chain, medium chain and long chain.
Coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid, this fat is digested and assimilated easily in the body and is transferred directly to the liver where it is immediately converted into energy, also meaning it isn’t directly stored as body fat. In addition, coconut oil stimulated the thyroid gland which regulates the metabolism and can help speed it up.
One of the worst dietary myths is that “Eating fat can make you fat”. In-fact, you actually need healthy fats to help you lose body fat and keep your body healthy…”
I can vouch for how eating healthy fat allows you to drop excess weight. I ate a diet high in these saturated fats for a month and lost 10 pounds. To most, that sounds counterintuitive. But that’s because of what we’ve all been told; fat is bad, whole grains are good, sugar is somewhere in between. Of course, I was also eating animal proteins, vegetables, and healthy carbs (like sweet potatoes). But it’s these natural fats, coconut in particular, that allow our bodies to utilize them in the most efficient way they can.
They offer awesome energy boosts and keep you full much longer than traditionally accepted oils/fats. I credit my lack of hunger pains during my whole30 to the healthy saturated fats I was eating along with my proteins. If I wanted a snack, coconut chips were a great option. In fact……….I see a recipe coming right now!!!!! 😀
Sweet n’ Salty Coconut Chips
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 3 cups coconut chips (ribbon coconut)
-Mix milk, sugar, salt, and coconut in a bowl. Soak for 1-2 hours
-Preheat oven to 200 degrees, line a baking pan with parchment paper, spread coconut into a single layer and bake for 2 hours
-Remove from oven, heat oven to 400 degrees and put coconut back in. Cook 10-20 minutes until lightly browned. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn!