What is it about coconut oil that warrants it being such a highly promoted foodstuff? The answer lies in its nutritional composition, with predominant focus on its fatty acid content. Coconut contains medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) which are metabolised uniquely by the body. Upon ingestion, MCTs are transported directly to the liver, bypassing the lymphatic and digestive systems, and providing an immediate fuel source. They are partially converted to ketone bodies, which are a useful energy source, without the highs and lows in blood sugar that can ensue from eating carbohydrate-rich foods, and the necessity for well-timed intake of such. MCTs are also believed to promote thermogenesis (an increased rate at which the body burns calories); both of these factors may support the process of weight reduction. It is worth noting that including healthy fats in your diet can produce a feeling of satiety, as well as adding flavour and good 'mouth-feel' to foods, and this alone can help to reduce cravings for certain foods that can prove a hindrance to body fat reduction or maintenance.

The great thing about MCTs is that they are heat stable, which means they maintain their chemical structure even when exposed to high temperatures, and are not predisposed to rancidity/oxidisation. It has been repeatedly suggested through scientific research that this can pose a risk to our health, and has been linked to conditions such as neurological disorders and certain cancers. Rancidity also alters the taste and texture of foods.

Furthermore, nearly half of the MCT content found in coconuts is comprised of lauric acid, which has been shown to exhibit antimicrobial properties; this makes coconut oil ideal for topical skin/hair and nail application (as a reputed treatment for a range of ailments), as well as having a versatile use in food preparation. As well as lauric acid, coconut oil delivers a host of other goodies, in the form of polyphenols – accountable for the taste and smell of coconuts, and their reported ability to support antioxidant activity –  as well as useful quantities of vitamin E, iron and other mirconutrients. The best type of coconut oil is extra virgin, that has been extracted using a cold-pressed method, to ensure maximum purity and quality, with nutrients ‘firmly intact’. Dr Zak’s is a trusted brand of coconut oil, which is available via our website; simply click on: Shop By Brand; Dr Zak’s and Extra Virgin Organic Raw Coconut Oil 460g, £8.99.