By: Dayna Copeland Schaef
It is widely understood that consuming any amount of saturated fat is bad for your health. It is considered to be one of the leading causes of heart disease and is linked to many types of cancer. Saturated fat is the kind of fat that is found most commonly in animal products like meat, poultry, dairy and fish but it is also found in some nuts, seeds and beans. Recent scientific studies regarding the consumption of saturated fats have led many health professionals to offer some redemption where the consumption of certain forms are concerned.
In a recent article featured in the New York Times, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association explained the benefits of consuming coconut oil. Their claims explained that Lauric Acid, one of the components of saturated fat, is highly concentrated in coconut oil, unlike butter, for example, which is higher in Palmitic and Stearic acids and contains almost no Lauric Acid. So it can be deduced that coconut oil could be considered a healthier option to butter.
These studies seem to suggest that not all saturated fats are created equally, as we maybe once understood them to be. As a result of extensive research, scientists have been able to further explore the effects of specific saturated fats on the human body. By breaking down the different components of specific sources of saturated fats, studies have shown that Lauric Acid is actually incredibly beneficial as a supplement to a healthy immune system, helping stave off viral, bacterial and fungal infection–including the very problematic Candida. Coconut oil has one of the highest concentrations of natural Lauric Acid, surpassed only by the insurmountable levels found in a mother’s breast milk.
In addition to its health benefits, cooking with a small amount of this natural saturated fat can add immense flavor to the foods that you already love. Coconut oil can be subbed in wherever vegetable oil, peanut oil, soybean oil, shortening, olive oil or butter is called for. With its rich, exotic flavor, using coconut oil in baked goods such as cakes, cookies and breads adds depth to your favorite sweets. With a deliciously tropical taste, you can also use a little extra virgin coconut oil in the bottom of your frying pan to cook seafood, chicken, vegetables, steak and more. Of course, like any other saturated fat, coconut oil should still be used sparingly. Include it thoughtfully as a part of an already healthy menu.
Eating a healthy, well balanced diet has proven to be a confusing endeavor for so many Americans, with so many individuals at either pole in extreme eating. While it is obvious that eating a high fat diet is very unhealthy, scientists are finding more and more evidence that the extreme low fat fad diets can be just as dangerous. Fat is, indeed, an essential element of a well balanced diet, and with the right understanding of the foods that are available to us, optimal nutrition need not be an unachievable exploit.