Flaxseed is packed with disease fighting plant chemicals and nutrients such as fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, but if you’re eating them whole you’re missing out. Make sure to grind flaxseeds prior to eating to receive all the nutritional benefits. The hard exterior shell of a flaxseed is indigestible, so whole flaxseeds go straight through your digestive system without giving us the plant nutrients. You can grind your flaxseeds at home or purchase flaxmeal instead. I like to add ground flaxseed to smoothies, sprinkle on oatmeal and yogurt or add to homemade baked goods to add a health kick like these banana flax muffins.
Coconut oil is often touted as healthy or even that it helps “burn fat” because it has a high percentage of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs). However, this statement isn’t necessarily true. Why is that? Well, bear with me for a quick biochem lesson ya’ll. The research done with MCTs uses mostly refined MCT oil preparations from capric and caprylic acids. The MCTs found in coconut oil are predominantly lauric acid. Therefore, we can’t extrapolate from studies using refined MCT oil preparations to coconut oil. Still with me? OK good… Studies that have tested coconut oil’s effect (not pure MCT oil) on cholesterol show that coconut oil actually causes an increase in total and LDL (AKA bad) cholesterol.
Believe it or not, coconut oil actually contains more saturated fat than butter! There is some recent research looking at how the type of saturated fat found in plant based foods may be different than the saturated fats found in animal products, but until more research is done and this theory is confirmed, coconut oil should be treated like any other saturated fat. So in a (coco)nut shell, if you enjoy the flavor of coconut oil, go right ahead-just remember moderation is key. Also, using the less processed (virgin) coconut oil is a better choice, as the fatty acids will be closer to their original form, and the oil will contain more of the beneficial plant chemicals.