Whenever we hear the word fat something negative always comes to mind. Eating fatty foods will cause heart problems, obesity, etc. The cliché has been repeated time and again that it became a constant, indisputable truth. The fact that coconut oil is predominantly saturated fat earned it a bad reputation. But we need to be informed that not all fats are evil. There are different types of fats and some of them are actually good for you.
Fats are essential substance as it is the body’s main source of energy. Consuming the right fat in the right amount can be beneficial. How much fat should one take in a day differ individually because it depends on a persons’ metabolism. The most important thing to keep in mind is to replace the bad fats in your diet with the good fats.
Getting to Know the Good Fats
Coconut oil that is primarily saturated and contains medium chain fatty acids is definitely one of the good fats. Its 92% saturated fat content raises concern over the adverse effects it may cause on one’s health. Recent discoveries however prove that coconut oil has a 62% concentration of Medium Chain Fatty acids (MCFAs). This is coconut oils’ unique characteristic that is not present in other saturated fat. It may even be healthier than most saturated oils. Unsaturated fat have a high concentration of long chain fatty acids unlike MCFAs which are easily absorbed by the body as it require less energy and fewer enzymes, thereby improving digestion.
Short and medium chain fatty acids are transported directly to the liver where they are immediately converted to energy. Modern researches also discovered that MCFA can prevent and heal a lot of sickness because of its antimicrobial properties. Aside from its ability to improve the immune system, MCFA also aids in the absorption and retention of magnesium, calcium and some amino acids.
Beneficial MCFAs that are present in virgin coconut oil include Caproic Acid, Caprylic Acid, Capric Acid and Lauric Acid and Myristic Acid. Consuming MCFAs has shown no negative toxicological or pharmacological side effects. Virgin coconut oil and human breast milk are the richest source of medium chain fatty acids. Below is a table of the fatty acid composition of virgin coconut oil (ND means non-detectable).
Common Name Composition Percentage
ND - 0.7
4.6 - 10.0
5.0 - 8.0
16.8 - 21
7.5 - 10.2
2.0 - 4.0
5.0 - 10.0
1.0 - 2.5
ND - 0.2