Coconut oil has seen a massive resurgence over the past few years, lauded by everyone from bodybuilders to vegans.
So what’s the big deal?
Coconut oil has been around for years… why is it now suddenly considered a healthy super-food?
And is there any truth to these claims?
The coconut tree
Coconuts are originally from the South East Asia and started to spread by floating along the Ocean’s currents, long before humans deliberately began to cultivate them.
Coconuts have been a part of life for the peoples of South East Asia for thousands of years, not only for food, but for a variety uses, including medicine.
The trunk of the coconut tree is strong enough to build huts and bridges, while the fibre can be woven into a sturdy rope. The husk and shells are also an excellent source of charcoal and can be used for fuel.
Within the shell is coconut water, a delicious drink easily accessible by cracking the shell open. The white pulp can be pressed to create coconut milk, which is high in fat and a great addition to a high-protein diet.
The milk can be further processed to create coconut cream, a key ingredient for a large range of desserts and drinks.
A long, complicated history
With so many uses of the coconut tree, it’s no surprise that once European explorers arrived demand went through the roof.
Coconut plantations were set up across the world, in any region which was suitable for cultivation, particularly the Caribbean and South Pacific.
With a large supply and demand system in place, coconut oil was freely available in America and Europe, being commonly used for cooking and cosmetics.
All that changed however with the outbreak of the Second World War, when supply was cut off.
Plantations were keen to start up again after the end of hostilities, but in the 1950s one man changed the entire world’s view on coconut oil.
Ancel Keys was a scientist who studied the influence of diet on health.
In 1955 at the World Health Organisation in Geneva, Keys put forward his hypothesis that saturated fats were to blame for heart disease.
His researched back up his findings, and with coconut oil containing 93% saturated fat, people stopped buying it altogether.
The problem was, Keys’ findings were all a lie.
He cherry picked the data, ignored what didn’t suit his hypothesis, and was paid by the sugar companies to divert blame away from them.
It’s only been in the last few years that these studies have been debunked and new research conducted into the health effects of saturated fats.
It is this latest round of research which finds that not only is saturated fat nowhere near as bad as everyone believes, but may actually be good for you.
The benefits of coconut oil
Coconut oil is indeed high in saturated fat, but these fats are an important part of our natural diet, and the new wave of studies are showing that saturated fats are far more diverse and complex than previously thought.
The saturated fat in coconut oil is mostly Lauric Acid, a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT). This type of saturated fat is known as the ‘good’ type of cholesterol, which actively lowers the bad type. In fact, some studies have shown that MCTs can help burn calories, thus promoting weight loss.
It has also been used for thousands of years by people as a medicine, and these traditional methods are now being backed-up by science. The monolaurin in coconut oil has anti-bacterial properties, and can kill the causes of fungal infections such as ringworm, thrush or athlete’s foot.
Coconut oil is also part of a billion-dollar cosmetics industry, and is the primary ingredient in many lotions, creams, and soaps.
And it’s great for damaged hair.
Lauric acid’s low molecular weight and straight linear chain, mean the protein is able to get inside the hair shaft, reducing protein loss, strengthening hair and making it shine.
Cooking with coconut oil
Of course, here at Olivado, we use coconut oil for one thing – cooking.
With a long shelf-life, coconut oil is great when it comes to transporting long distances and storing for undetermined lengths of time. People love cooking with coconut oil because of it’s delicious aroma, and the fact it can replace butter as a healthier option in many recipes.
Our mouth-watering extra virgin coconut oil is created using our world-famous cold extraction process that preserves the natural goodness of the pulp without using chemicals or heat.
We have also recently launched a new version of our coconut oil, our unique Natural Liquid Coconut Oil, the first of its kind in the world.
If you’re interested in either of these products, or would like to see what else we have to offer, please head over and take a look at the Olivado range, or contact us with any questions you may have.
Olivado – taste the goodness.