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The benefits of dietary fat.
Getting the right nutrition was an important part of my journey to optimum health and fitness. However, I was always concerned about the dangers of fat, particularly saturated fats in the diet. It was a message constantly reinforced by the media so I tended to avoid it.
Whilst I was researching about what can help with building muscle, I began to see how essential ‘fat’ actually is. It is necessary for both female hormone (estrogen), and male hormone (testosterone) production. It is also needed in order to produce the cholesterol required to maintain testosterone levels. In fact, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) database, men on low fat diets actually resulted in lower testosterone levels.
The fat soluble vitamins.
Fat is required to allow the body to absorb the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. These vitamins can only be dissolved in fat because they are similar to oil in consistency. They are found in foods such as liver, butter, whole milk, fish, nuts, avocados and green leafy vegetables. If the body does not need these vitamins immediately, they are stored in the body’s fatty tissue and liver.
The water soluble vitamins C, and the B family (B1, B2, B3,B6 and B12) can only be dissolved in water. These cannot be stored for future use and any excess are excreted in urine. The only exception to this is vitamin B12 which can be stored in the liver.
Protection and fuel of the body.
Carbohydrates are often considered the primary source of fuel, but fat is also a rich source of energy providing more than twice the amount of calories per gram compared to carbohydrates! Fat is also important for the protection of vital organs by holding them in place and cushioning them from injury. It also acts as insulation (subcutaneous fat) beneath the skin to help regulate the body’s temperature.
A source of healthy fat and Lauric acid.
One particular source of healthy saturated fat is coconut oil. This attracted my attention because it contains one of the most abundant sources of Lauric acid which is also found in human breast milk. When Lauric acid is digested, it is converted to Monolaurin which is important for the immune system with benefits such as destroying bacteria, viruses and fungi. Coconut oil is easy to obtain from most high street stores and supermarkets, and it is reasonably cheap in cost. It also has a great taste!
I decided to add organic cold pressed coconut oil to my diet because I’d never consumed this on a regular basis. I was motivated by its additional benefits of providing the brain with energy, raising good cholesterol levels and it contains easily absorbing fat directly in the liver. This makes the energy available much quicker than other fats that need to be processed for longer.
The benefits of Coconut oil I experienced.
After a few weeks of consuming 1 tablespoon (15g) of coconut oil a day, I observed an improvement in the suppleness of my skin (in addition to what I’d already experienced with collagen ), and an energy boost (in addition to what I’d previously observed with MSM sulfur). For ease, I tended to add Coconut oil to soups and my smoothies or I use it as alternative oil for cooking .
A population of Tokelauans in the south pacific obtained 63% of their energy from Coconut, and were perfectly healthy with low rates of vascular disease.
In light of all of these benefits, I absolutely intend on consuming Coconut oil as a long term addition to my diet.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Arnarson, A. (2017). The Fat-Soluble Vitamins: A, D, E and K. Available: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fat-soluble-vitamins. Last accessed 22nd July 2019.
Jon J. Kabara, Dennis M. Swieczkowski, Anthony J. Conley, Joseph P. Truant. (1972). Fatty Acids and Derivatives as Antimicrobial Agents. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC444260/. Last accessed 22nd July 2019.
Murray, M. (5th May 2017). The Health Benefits of Coconut Oil . Available: https://uk.iherb.com/blog/coconut-oil-benefits/116. Last accessed 22nd July 2019.
Persaud, N. (2019). Testosterone Levels Lower in Men on Low-Fat Diets . Available: https://www.renalandurologynews.com/home/conference-highlights/aua-2019-coverage/testosterone-may-decline-mediterranean-low-fat-diet/. Last accessed 22nd July 2019.
Prior IA, Davidson F, Salmond CE, Czochanska Z. (1981). Cholesterol, coconuts, and diet on Polynesian atolls: a natural experiment: the Pukapuka and Tokelau island studies.. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7270479. Last accessed 22nd July 2019.
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