WHEN COCONUT OIL took the world by storm a few years ago, I remember feeling a bit of a fond indifference to the health trend. I’m from the Philippines, one of the world’s largest producers of coconuts and its byproducts. So I thought awesome, finally, but also, tell me something I didn’t know. I spent childhood weekends playing under those tall skinny trees, I grew up on food using coconut milk, and I knew the nutty scent of the oil by heart. The irony is, it was never really a conscious choice to make coconut oil a daily habit.
Well that’s changed, A LOT…
Tell me something I don’t already know about coconut oil. That was me four years ago, and it turns out, there was A LOT that I didn’t know. I’m always sceptic about superfood cure-all claims so I did my research. The key things about coconut oil for me is that is contains the medium chain fatty acids or MCFAs known as Lauric Acid, Caprylic Acid, and Capric Acid. Unlike long-chain fatty acids found in other oils, MCFAs are processed quickly by the liver, which means they are converted into energy instead of being stored as fat.
This is one reason why I take coconut oil: I feel the energy boost when I take it, and I feel the slump when I don’t. This is also the reason why athletes use coconut oil as a key ingredient in their energy boosting diets. I’m no athlete, but I still need energy hey. And I just feel like I’d rather have a tablespoon of coconut oil over something like a sugar-ridden cupcake or a chocolate bar for a pick me up.
Coconut oil is also the richest natural source of Lauric Acid there is. About 50% of coconut oil is Lauric Acid. Why does that matter? Lauric Acid is converted to the compound Monolaurin when in the body, and Monolaurin has been proven to have antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. The only other natural source of Lauric Acid is human breast milk. Me thinks that says a lot.
So, should you go out there and grab a the first bottle of coconut oil you see? Of course not. Not all coconut oils are made the same. You should be looking for 100% virgin coconut oil that is cold-processed and derived from organically-grown coconuts. This means the oil was extracted from fresh organic coconuts, using no heat that might degrade the quality of the oil and the nutrients in it. I was always of the belief that it doesn’t make any sense to eat healthy if you don’t bother to check how the healthy thing you’re eating is produced or grown.
So how to take it?
There are many great everyday ways to consume coconut oil. you can add it to smoothies, salad dressing, or use it as a fat substitute in baking. But I think the simplest, best, and most no-brainer way is to just take it straight up. By that I mean to pour the oil into a spoon and put the spoon in your mouth, and swallow. Sorry, I had to do that. You’d be surprised at the number of people who still find this to be a weird idea, as I did a few years back. I mean drinking coconut water is great, coconut oil on my skin is wonderful, but taking it straight by mouth? Yes, just like that.
You could say the taste takes getting used to, but then again that would be so much easier if you picked the right virgin coconut oil to begin with. High-quality VCO is light, clear, and with a mild and pleasant, nutty flavor of coconut that grows on you. I take a tablespoon daily right after breakfast. Some people might find it a bit acidic on the tummy, which is why to start it’s best to take it with food.
I’ve been taking coconut oil this way for a couple of months now, and although there a things in my health routine that I wish were better (more sleep, more exercise, better food), I’m happy that I’m taking this one step. Just one tablespoon a day gives me more energy and more well than sick days. I’ve also been using it in these DIY beauty products which have been amazing, and on both my kids’ skin to deal with eczema.
Always, if you have a chronic or serious medical condition, please consult your health practitioner before starting any health supplement or regimen. Do your own research on coconut oil and see if it works for you like it has for me.
Thanks for reading!
*This post is in partnership with Santa Maria 100% Virgin Coconut Oil, an artisanal Philippine-made product by Amazing Foods.