Many people are wary of including coconuts in their diet. Dr. Rupali Dutta clears the misconceptions surrounding coconut oil.
Awareness is the first step to better health. Eating a healthy diet has always been wise. But can oils in foods be helpful? The answer is yes; food cooked in coconut oil stays fresh longer and promotes nutrient absorption. Coconut as a whole plays a very important part in our lives. Coconut oil has been used by many nations in the Pacific. They cook with it, moisturise their skin and hair with it, eat the flesh practically on a daily basis. Coconut oil is the product that should be on your shelf forever.
Ironically many people are apprehensive about using coconut oil. They worry that it is a saturated fat, which is bad for health. However, remember there are good saturated fats as well.
Fats are classified into three categories: short-, medium- or long-chain based on the number of carbon molecules they contain. On an average, around two-thirds of the saturated fat in coconut oil consists of medium-chain fatty acids. Scientists say that whenever we consume long-chain fatty acids, bile salts in the small intestine emulsify them before they can be absorbed into our body. Short- and medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil and coconut milk pass directly through the portal vein to the liver and eventually they are instantaneously obtainable by the body. Most of the saturated fat in coconut oil is easily digestible and renewable into quick energy.
Coconut oil is safe to use, as it does not turn to fat in your body. It is helpful in burning fat and regaining energy. It does not increase the cholesterol level and actually helps lower it.
Coconut is highly nutritious and rich in fibre, vitamins, and minerals. It is classified as a “functional food” because it provides many health benefits beyond its nutritional content. Coconut oil is of immense importance whether it is taken as a supplement, used as cooking oil, or applied directly to the skin.
It has proven beneficial in strengthening the immune system, improving digestion and preventing premature aging of the skin. Coconut oil in food adds rich aroma to the cuisine.
The writer is a New Delhi-based Dietician.