Cooking with Coconut Oil

Have you tried cooking with coconut oil yet?

It has become a staple in my house, but often when I tell people about this wonderful oil, I hear something to the effect of, “aren’t tropical oils bad for you?” I also heard a lot about coconut oil being high in saturated fat, which didn’t sound good either.

It turns out that coconut oil can be a healthy alternative. A recent research article published in the journal ISRN Pharmacology explains a huge difference between coconut oil and other saturated fats. Coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid (MCFA), whereas other saturated fats like butter and lard are long chain fatty acids (LCFA).

“MCFAs are easily oxidized lipids and are not stored in adipose (fat) tissue, unlike long chain fatty acids,” explain the researchers who are from Malaysia where coconut oil is a staple. “Furthermore, epidemiologic studies coming from African and South Pacific populations whose diets contain coconuts have revealed no association between coconut oil ingestion and obesity high cholesterol.”

This research shows that it’s not just the type of fat that that is important but length of the fat chain. When it comes to fat chains, long is “bad” and medium is “good.”

The key to finding a good coconut oil is to look for a virgin one. My favorite is Dr. Bronnner’s fresh pressed virgin coconut oil, which happens to be both certified organic and fair trade. They are doing wonderful things supporting farmers in the developing world, and the oil has an amazing flavor profile.

Coconut oil takes heat very well…you can use it at medium to high, so sautéing and stir frying are two great ways to introduce yourself to this most versatile oil. Look for Dr. Bronner’s coconut oil available at all Foodland and Sack N Save locations, located near the other vegetable based oils.