Coconut can be eaten in many forms, fresh, dried, as coconut flour, as coconut milk, cream, or as coconut oil. Coconut oil has been used for thousands of years throughout Asia and the Pacific as both a food and a medicine. Coconut was once wrongly accused of increasing cholesterol levels, due to its saturated fat content, however, it has been discovered that there are different kinds of saturated fats, and some types of saturated fats are good for you. Coconut oil is now known to contain a unique form of saturated fat that actually helps prevent heart disease, stroke, and hardening of the arteries.
The saturated fat in coconut is different to the fats found in animal products or other vegetable fats. It is identical to a special group of fats found in human breast milk that have been demonstrated to strengthen the immune system, improve digestion, and protect against bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Most of the saturated fat in coconut is medium chain fatty acids, including the healthy fats lauric acid, caprylic acid, and capric acid. These fatty acids are more easily metabolized, and this is one of the reasons coconut oil has a reputation for promoting weight loss. Coconut oil is also highly heat resistant, because it has a higher smoke point than many polyunsaturated or monounsaturated oils, it is therefore a good cooking oil. Always look for unrefined organic coconut oil, as most commercial coconut oils are refined, bleached, deodorized and contain trans-fats. Coconut flour is wheat and gluten free, a good source of protein, high in fibre, low in carbohydrates and is low GI. Additionally, coconut oil makes an excellent massage or skin oil.