The Advice Safe

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Kids eat your greens – fat and sugar often wear sheep’s clothing

Is coconut oil good for you?

Kids, I am now writing this down. Eating a variety of foods, in suitable amounts, from all four food groups, that’s carbohydrates, dairy,  protein, fruit and veg, will go a long way towards keeping you healthy.  Just to be clear, a portion of fruit or veg is about the amount that you can hold in one hand, not a couple of peas and it’s two fruit, three vegetables.  Theories change but apart from some nutritional changes this rule has stood the test of time.

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growing your own is even better, last year’s stash, grown from a pot on the deck. No excuses.

Stick to this rule and you will not go wrong.  Beware the new healthy alternatives or super foods which marketing gurus wrap up so smartly. When you really drill down into the  nutritional values of most of these new heroes there is often no outstanding benefits, other than variety in your diet. Quinoa, the new darling of our plate, is an ancient seed that does have health benefits, it always has, but so does pearl barley, which is much cheaper.

Villains come and go too, at the time of writing we are all obsessed with sugar, fat is off the hook for now. Unfortunately we all still want to eat sugar and fat because it tastes so good, thus there is a massive opportunity in the market to exploit this.  Fat and sugar get wrapped up in healthy marketing and are presented to us in disguise. Bliss balls are a good example at the moment.

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Coconut oil came up in conversation the other night in terms of good and bad fat. Someone said that it was also good for mouth health.  A gloomy dad said that his daughter had blocked the plumbing by using it in that way.

My own daughter uses teaspoons of the stuff to swirl around her mouth. She had explained to me, that coconut oil pulling is one of the best ways to remove bacteria and promote healthy teeth and gums. In fact, she further enlightened me, as I stood looking into a half empty jar, that it’s been proven to be even more effective than flossing and it’s one of the best ways to naturally whiten her teeth.  I worried about our pipes and she assured me that it was spat out in the garden, I didn’t know how I felt about that.

In the meantime is coconut oil good for us, is it better or worse than other types of fat.   It is definitely sitting on the middle shelves at the supermarkets and is being hailed as the new healthy option.  I just could not shake the feeling that if it clogged the bathroom plumbing then it must do the same to ours.

I am not against using fat in cooking, using a variety; all oils are a mixture of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids. As far as I am concerned suet makes light fluffy dumplings and I still use lard in some pastry.  The best roast potatoes are cooked in the fat from the beef roast.  I have, however, limited its use, bending to the advice that fat is bad and have to admit am using coconut oil more.Solidified beef dripping being spooned out of a jar

Dad would spread the dripping from the Sunday roast onto thick white bread, he was fit, slim and strong to the end.  It was the smoking that got him.  Dripping is now enjoying quite a revival. check this site out for all things beef

 

Is coconut oil actually good for us then? I know the stuff we need to stay away from, the fatty acid that clogs our arteries, is the saturated fat. I was alarmed to read the fat in coconut oil is 92% saturated fat.  The answer seems fairly clear but then it all gets a bit technical as  LDL cholesterol levels start to be discussed.  My husband thinks much about LDL levels, as he has naturally high cholesterol.  I know nothing about it.

Luckily for me, a search discovered The Independent has done all the leg work and makes for fabulous reading.

The study found that coconut oil, which is 92 per cent saturated fat, raises LDL (bad) cholesterol less than butter does, but significantly more than unsaturated plant oils do. So when it comes to heart health, Eyres puts it plainly: “It would be dangerous, and rather silly, to replace your extra-virgin olive oil with coconut oil.” There – that question is answered. But there are plenty of details and nuances where that came from, so read on.

Here is it in full

coconut-green

Just recently, the American Heart Association (AHA) issued a statement saying that coconut is not a healthy source of fat because it affects our LDL cholesterol levels. When it comes to cholesterol, it’s important to understand that the type of cholesterol we consume is more important than the quantity. LDL cholesterol is known as the “bad” cholesterol, and its small, dense particles can increase cardiovascular disease.

The technical stuff

In conclusion, I live an active life, with healthy eating habits and no familial cholesterol, so I will use butter in my baking and cooking where appropriate, suet in my dumplings, lard in some of my pastry, olive and other oils for most other stuff.  I will still use the coconut oil for what it is, a tasty saturated fat which should be used in moderation.

Have a read or do some research and make your own minds up, fat is fat and we all only need a little of the good kind in our diets.  Sugar, well we really do not need that at all in a perfect world.  My nan told your nan, now I’m telling you. Limit processed foods, sugar and fat and above all eat your greens.  Love you, mum x

coconut oil

 

USE IT ON THE OUTSIDE

Coconut oil and those troublesome fatty acids make for an awesome moisturiser, that enhances the moisture barrier of your skin.  Its proteins help hair retain its natural moisture and make it stronger so it is a great conditioner. You know about the mouth health but did you know it can replace shaving cream, soothing sensitive skin too.  It can be used as an eye makeup remover, chapstick, wrinkle night cream and an anti frizz hair treatment.  What a nut.

 

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