I've been reading a lot about coconut oil lately--how good it is for the thyroid, the enzyme system, weight loss, and the metabolism. It's also anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, regulates insulin and blood sugar levels, helps heal damaged tissue, fights infection (and on and on--more here at the Coconut Research Center).
So, how and why does it do all of this? Well, you can read quite a thorough article here (one of many), but I'll try to break it down a little bit by citing some highlights. "Coconut oil primarily consists of medium-chain fatty acids. These triglycerides can speed up the metabolism because they are so easily digested and converted into energy. Long-chain fatty acids, like those in polyunsaturated oils, are more difficult for the body to break down and use for energy. Instead, long-chain fatty acids are usually stored as fat in the body... One study examined the effect of medium-chain fatty acids on metabolism. Participants' metabolism was evaluated before and after a meal rich in these fats. On average, metabolism increased by 48 percent. In obese individuals, the increase was as high as an astounding 65 percent. Studies have shown this thermogenic effect can last for 24 hours." There is lots of documentation for this (and much deputing it, but my experience has taught me to ignore that faction, at least on this subject), and you can Google until your heart's content.
How does one go about attaining these incredible benefits? Personally, I take four tablespoons per day (this is the recommended dose--although whether more would be better for a larger person, I'm not sure. I'm about 5'5" and 110 pounds. Of course, my husband has also taken up the oil, and he's using four tablespoons and is completely sated). Now, if you aren't used to this much fat in your diet, start slowly AND reduce "bad fats," such as trans-fats, and fried foods. Also--of great import!--make sure the oil you use is unrefined, pure, organic, virgin oil and never one that has been heated in any way.
This is how I take it: each morning I make a protein shake and add two tablespoons of coconut oil, a dash of soy lecithin (for emulsifying purposes--not necessary, but it does incorporate the oil nicely into the shake) a handful of berries, and blend. You can melt your coconut oil in a bit of warm water and then add the oil/water mixture to the shake. I then add two tablespoons of oil to my diet in the afternoon. I like to emulsify the oil with almond milk (unsweetened) and a dash of lecithin. I heat this slightly, blend it up, and use it in my tea. You could also add it to rice with a little salt or natural sweetener (sometimes for breakfast, instead of the shake, I'll have 1/3 cup rice, 1/2 tablespoon of unsweetened almond butter, and my coconut oil).
This is a thirty day experiment I'm trying (end date: March 17th). So far, I've got to say that I feel so much more sated and energized throughout the day. I haven't gained ANY weight, despite the major addition of calories and fat. If you would like to see some of the documented success stories, you can click here.
So, I'll let you know how it goes! And if this is something you've either experimented with or you would like to join me in the 30 day Coconut Challenge, go ahead and leave a comment or two.
Good luck and to good health!