What is one of the most demonized foods in the American diet? Saturated fats; and many research and health professionals routinely and wrongly blame heart disease on saturated fat consumption despite evidence to the contrary. Eating saturated fat does not cause heart disease and is in fact needed by the body to function optimally.
Why do we need saturated fats? They are needed for energy, brain function, hormone production, cellular fluidity, and many other biological functions. Saturated fat even helps plant based (ALA) sources of omega 3 fatty acids like flax, hemp and chia, convert to fish oil-type fatty acids (EPA and DHA). Hail Merry uses organic virgin coconut oil, a plant based saturated fat, in its gluten-free and vegan decadent desserts. This amazing oil is a functional food because it provides benefits over and above basic nutrients like vitamins and minerals. Here are 3 functional reasons to eat coconut oil:
Coconut oil can help you feel energized.
Coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid with 12 carbon atoms and therefore, quickly absorbed and metabolized because digestive enzymes in the mouth, called saliva lipase, begin to break it down. Then it is quickly absorbed into the blood stream where it is used as energy to fuel the body, similar to carbohydrates. Other plant based long chain fats, such as canola with 16 carbon atoms, need to be digested by enzymes further down the digestive tract in the pancreas and liver, and are then stored as fat.Because of its potential ability to speed up metabolism, coconut oil has been suggested by medical professionals as a good food choice for people with sluggish thyroid glands, as well as for people who find it difficult to shed unwanted weight.
Coconut oil is anti-inflammatory in nature.
In a 2009 study, researchers found that virgin coconut oil has the potential for anti-inflammatory benefits because it contains polyphenols, natural plant antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals, molecules that can damage cells and cause inflammation. In addition, recent studies, have shown that coconut oil relieves the pain associated with some inflammatory diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis.
The saturated fats in coconut oil can play a key role in immune health.
Monolaurin, the 12-carbon long fatty acid derived from coconut oil and found in lauric acid, has been shown to be highly effective at killing harmful bacteria, yeasts, and viruses. Monolaurin penetrates the cell membrane of these "invaders" and disturbs the integrity of the cell membrane, blocking replication and making it easier for your immune system to rid the body of these invaders.
How do bacteria spread? In 2008, scientists reported that bacteria spores grow and spread by releasing chemical bonds that communicate to dormant bacteria nearby, in essence motivating them to come join their cause (which is to infect the body). This action turns harmless digestive bacteria into active combatants.
Harmful bacteria, such as Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, Listeria, Bacillus, and Clostridum, contain a thick mesh cell wall lattice made of sugars and amino acids. Monolaurin has been found to penetrate the cell membrane of these bacteria and disturb the integrity of the cell membrane, blocking replication and making it easier for your immune system to rid the body of these invaders.
In summary, saturated fats, especially those in coconut oil, are not the bad food once believed but can actually energize, protect and enhance us. Hail Merry offers delicious nurturing snacks made from raw organic coconut oil.