One of Enduro Bites’ Best-Kept Secrets
Once thought “unhealthy,” due to its highly-processed cousins, virgin coconut oil is now viewed as one of nature’s best fats by many nutritionists. We use it proudly in Enduro Bites— and not just because it tastes great. Virgin coconut oil also provides a slew of benefits for athletes.
It Gives You Steady Energy
Lauric and capric acids are key ingredients when it comes to energy and metabolism. Both are medium chain fatty acids, or medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s), and together they make up about two-thirds of every serving of virgin coconut oil. MCT’s are ideal for high-output activities because they’re more quickly digested and more readily burned for energy than the long-chain fatty acids found in vegetable and seed oils. In this sense, coconut oil acts more like a carbohydrate— minus the insulin spike.
It Keeps You Lean
Also, because MCT’s are sent to the liver and immediately converted for fuel, they are less likely to be stored as body fat compared to other dietary fats. Some research also shows that medium-chain fatty acids have thyroid-stimulating effects, which can further stimulate metabolism to help you stay lean.
It...Cleans Your Teeth?
To top it off, lauric acid has been linked to antiviral, antimicrobial, anti-protozoal and anti-fungal properties, including the primary bacteria responsible for tooth decay—which is why you may have heard of people “pulling” with coconut oil for dental hygiene. You’ll also get some immune benefits, which come in handy when you’re in a hard block of training.
Whether you like it for the taste, the steady energy or the magical anti-microbial characteristics, there’s no need to fear coconut oil! Try it on your next training run or ride— you won’t be disappointed.
When making smoothies, blend coconut oil with the liquid ingredients on the highest setting prior to adding everything else. Especially if you’re using a high-performance mixer, such as a Vitamix, this will liquify the coconut oil and give you a nice creamy texture.
Virgin coconut oil can be used for most mid-temperature cooking, but it is not suitable for high-temperature cooking since it has a relatively low smoke point of about 350 degrees F (171 C). It does, however, have a very low freezing point — which means Enduro Bites do great in backcountry backpacks and fresh out of the freezer on hot days. They’ll always be soft and chewy!
Not all coconut oils are created equal. Beware of hydrogenated versions because the process produces a trans-fat. Trans-fats have been associated with heart disease as they increase LDL (bad) cholesterol and hinder the body’s ability to utilize (good) HDL.
Also, look out for commercial coconut oils that have been refined, bleached, and deodorized, all of which can contribute unwanted solvents and other undesirable chemicals. Choosing organic varieties is the best way to keep your coconut oil pure!