We are living in the age of “non-fat” as if fat is the big evil in our diets. While that may be true for the altered hydrogenated oils which are in just about everything we eat including some soft drinks, the right fats are essential to optimal health. It would be unwise to try to eliminate fat in your diet altogether.
The most well-known “good fat” is fish oil which we take for the omega-3 fatty acids. You have never had a real Italian dinner unless you had extra virgin olive oil. Lesser known is flaxseed oil, primrose oil and virgin coconut oil.
Coconut oil has gotten a bad rap through the years and that is unfortunate because there are many health and performance benefits for the athlete and the non-athlete alike.
Part of the reason for the knock, is that coconut oil is a saturated fat, (solid at room temperature). It has been drilled into all of us how bad saturated fats are for our heart and cholesterol levels. Here is what makes coconut oil different and completely safe.
Unlike other fats that are long-chain fatty acids, coconut oil is a medium-chain fatty acid, (MCFA), also known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) and are rich in health benefits.
•MCFA’s have a smaller molecular size and can easily permeate cell walls and require nothing else to be utilized by the body.
•MCFA’s are much more easily digested than other fats and puts less strain on your digestive system.
•MCFA’s go directly to the liver where it is quickly converted into readily usable energy which clearly is a huge benefit to an athlete, especially an endurance athlete or bodybuilders beginning to cut body fat. An added benefit of this fatty acid is that the liver does not store this as fat. It is converted to energy and lessens the body’s need for carbs for energy. On the other hand, long-chain fats gets stored by the liver as fat, which is why “non-fat” diets are so popular.
MCFA’s have been shown to stimulate the body’s metabolism and helps the body shed excess weight. Farmers in the 1940′s tried to fatten their livestock using coconut oil and it had the opposite effect. Their cattle became lean and energetic instead. Several studies have shown the MCFA’s enhance physical and athletic performance and that is why you are reading about it here.
Here are the bullet points that are pertinent to those of us who train.
- Improves insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose.
- Provides a nutritional source of quick energy.
- Reduces inflammation.
- Boosts energy and endurance, enhancing physical and athletic performance.
- Supports tissue healing and repair.
- Functions as a protective antioxidant.
- Promotes loss of excess weight by increasing metabolic rate.
- Has no harmful or discomforting side effects.
- Is completely non-toxic to humans.
There are many other health benefits a good place to go to learn more is at www.coconutoil.com.
Coconut oil can be used in your cooking, in your salad or in your smoothie or protein shake and all you need is a couple of tablespoons a day. Be sure and check out the other health, hair and skin benefits and when you combine it with the benefits we just covered, I believe you will want to add coconut oil to your diet.