In many parts of the world, the coconut tree is called the "tree of life". Interestingly, among those locations, their populations have been said to be among the healthiest! Let’s find out more about why coconuts are so beneficial, but first, a quick “fat breakdown” summary.
Ketones vs Glucose
Carbohydrates, when digested, are turned into glucose for energy. When the body’s energy requirements have been satisfied, and there is still glucose left over, the body restructures the glucose into fat molecules for storage. In order for the body to use the glucose as energy, insulin is required.
Ketones are what the body produces when it’s using fat for energy instead of glucose. However, no insulin is required for the cells to accept the ketones. This makes ketones necessary for people whose cells have become insulin resistant (i.e. Diabetes) or whose brain cells are no longer able to accept glucose for energy (i.e. Alzheimer’s). In addition, ketones cannot be reconverted to fatty acids for storage. Once created, they are either used or expelled, not stored.
MCT’s for MVP!
MCT’s are medium-chain triglycerides. They are a special form of saturated fatty acids that have many health benefits. MCTs get their name from their medium-length tails – anywhere from 6 to 12 carbons long. There are 4 kinds of MCTs: C6 (Caproic), C8 (Caprylic), C10 (Capric), and C12 (Lauric), although there has been recent debate about whether or not Lauric acid functions as a “true MCT” in the body. Some MCTs turn into energy more efficiently than others and various versions of “MCT” oils are created based on their concentration of certain kinds of fatty acids.
MCT’s are a bit different from long chain triglycerides (LCT’s) because the body metabolizes MCTs differently than LCTs. Unlike LCTs, MCTs get sent directly to the liver where they are quickly converted into energy units, known as ketones, to fuel the brain and body instead of being broken down, re-packaged and circulated in the bloodstream to be deposited into fat cells.
So, Why Go Coconuts? Coconut oil is an excellent source of MCTs!
Coconut Oil Benefits
- Immune Support. Medium chain fatty acids (i.e. lauric & caprylic acids) in coconut oil possess antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties and help support immunity.
- Weight Control. MCT’s are used by the body to produce energy rather than being stored as fat. Due to the fact that they are so well absorbed and used an energy source, their burning actually increases metabolic rate.
- Energy Source. Ketones are used as an efficient, clean, fast source of fuel. They are a potent energy source that has nothing to do with sugar or protein.
- Heart Health. Research has found that coconut oil intake was positively associated with high-density lipoprotein (HDL) “good” cholesterol levels.
- Brain Boost. Ketones can pass the blood brain barrier and provide energy to dying brain cells (such as in those suffering from certain neurodegenerative diseases).
Other Coconut Forms:
Dried/Desiccated Flesh (flakes/shredded) – Best used in no-bake desserts like energy bites and date bars. Coconut “chips” are flakes that are coated in sweetener/spices and lightly toasted.
Milk – Coconut meat is shredded and cold-pressed to create coconut milk. This is a great lactose-free alternatives for those who struggle with digesting dairy. Try using these in curries or smoothies.
Water - This is the clear liquid inside a green young coconut. Coconut water is a rich natural source of electrolytes that boost energy and replenish the body. It is antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant, making it helpful for a number of health conditions.
Sugar - It isn’t from the coconut itself, but drawn from the sap of the coconut palm tree buds. It’s similar in taste and colour to brown sugar with a caramel-like flavour. Also called coconut palm sugar, it has a glycemic index of 35, which it is lower than most other sweeteners.
Aminos – A fermented product made with nutrient-dense coconut 'sap' that offers naturally occurring amino acids. This sap is abundant in minerals (esp. potassium) and vitamins. Coconut aminos can be used in place of soy sauce seasoning in salads, marinades, stir-fries, sauces, etc.
Flour - It is high in dietary fibre and tastes great in pancakes, brownies or cookies! When baking with coconut flour, note that it is extremely absorbent and that the dry: liquid ratio of your batter will need to be adjusted for success.
Butter/Manna – Made from the “whole” flesh and includes the oil, fibre, protein, vitamin and minerals of the coconut meat. Try using it as a spread, or in raw treats and smoothies.
Oil – This portion is extracted from the meat of the coconut. Due to its saturated fat content, coconut oil is among the safest options for cooking over medium heat. Try it for sautéing, baking, stir-frying, as a spread, stirred into coffee, oatmeal, and smoothies or even used topically as a moisturizing, protective, anti-microbial ingredient (i.e. shaving gel, mouthwash, mild natural sunscreen, etc.).
Note that just like any other beneficial fat, coconut oil should be consumed in moderation as part of an overall healthy and balanced diet.
-This article is sponsored by Good N Natural in Steinbach –