The Low Down; The Skinny
Coconut oil is gaining more and more respect as a healthy fat and as an alternative to cooking with some vegetable oils, and with good reason. Coconut oil is full of MCT’s otherwise known as medium-chain triglycerides; these are fatty acids that your body digests very easily and can utilize for energy almost straight away. These fats provide an immediate source of energy, so are less likely to be stored as body fat since they’re used up effectively. Consider replacing some fats in your diet with coconut oil; however if you add it on top of your diet without substituting it for another, chances are you’ll gain weight as it is, after all, still a fat, and fats contain high volumes of calories. If your goal is to lose weight, then note that there simply is no one food that will make you lose weight, losing weight is the result of eating fewer calories and burning an increased number of calories through physical exertion. You can use the power of coconut oil for energy to get pumped and ready to exercise as long as you’re cutting calories elsewhere in your diet. Try your hand at using coconut in a variety of ways, and see and feel the benefits.
There is some debate over whether coconut oil should be used in cooking due to its smoke point, essentially meaning the temperature at which it will burn. Coconut oil will begin to burn and smoke at around 350 degrees Fahrenheit (171 C). So, if you’re searing meat or frying in a wok, it’s best to use alternative oil, such as avocado oil or rice bran oil. When cooking at mid-temperature however, coconut oil is fine to use. Most everyday cooking does not require you to cook at these temperatures so if you are lightly braising vegetables or lubricating the spaghetti with a sprinkling of salt, then consider using coconut oil in these cases.
Where possible, buy organic, unrefined, and cold-pressed coconut oil. Avoid the nasties that come with others, and keep your eyes peeled for the best and worst coconut oils and products on the market. Lauric acid was typically found in many coconut oils but has since started to be removed from some brands. Do your research and learn more before heading out and purchasing coconut oil. You’ll want to select one of the best available as you’ll soon be using a significant amount of it when you discover all the uses for coconut oil. You’ll be astonished to learn of its versatility and its medicinal properties. As long as you know where to look and what to look for you’ll be just fine.
Alternative To Other Oils
Coconut oil shouldn’t be overlooked as a healthy alternative to using other fats in the kitchen, in fact, introducing it is widely encouraged. Quite simply, coconut oil is significantly higher in health benefits in the form of vitamins and minerals than some of its counterparts. You don’t have to necessarily replace the oils you’ve been using in the kitchen with coconut. However, extra virgin oil is packed with antioxidants and is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, it has strong anti-inflammatory properties, whereas the coconut without lauric acid does not. Olive oil can be sparingly drizzled over salads, so it’s an idea to keep hold of some healthy oils still. You don’t have to abolish all other oils in favor of coconut oil, but you can introduce it and have it replace oils that are higher in saturated fats, like butter and oils labelled as being “partially hydrogenated”. These fats are trans-fats – the kind that the FDS has claimed to be shown to increase your risk of heart disease.
Quite frankly, there doesn’t seem to be an end to the advantages of using coconut oil, and not just for cooking, baking and everywhere else you’d use oil in the kitchen. Coconut oil can be used as part of your beauty and grooming regime too. It can be used to moisturise your body; you can apply it directly onto your skin or make your own lotions. If you’re keen to keep things natural then adding coconut oil to beeswax and lavender oil and allowing it to settle can make a nourishing and great smelling body treatment and lip balm. There’s also a trend for ‘oil pulling’, whereby coconut oil is swilled around the mouth much like mouthwash. However, it differs as this method removes bacteria from between your teeth naturally without chemicals like fluoride, and the process takes much longer, expect to do this for between eight to ten minutes. Oil pulling is an interesting way to go about cleaning your mouth, teeth and gums and is well worth finding out more about.
To keep your hair feeling soft and looking well cared for, then using coconut oil should be your next port of call. Coconut oil is great for coating your hair with a protective barrier against the outside world and keeping it easy to brush and looking shiny and well. Since coconut oil is a solid at room temperature, you can create a paste by adding essential oils and other natural products. You can instead melt the oil down, and once cooled you can massage the oil into your scalp, much like you would a serum. This is an all-natural way of caring for your hair, so you needn’t worry, what you’re making is the most organic way of nourishing your hair.
Face masks that are created using coconut oil are good enough to eat, and they can be providing what you add to them is also edible. This stands as a testament to how natural these products are; you can’t say the same for many products on the market. Do be sure to use your facemask shortly after making it however since it’s shelf life is short. Keep it cool in the fridge for the same length of time as you might a dessert. Made much the same way as the hair treatment, face masks are created by heating the oil, adding in crushed berries, clay or charcoal and then waiting for the oil to solidify at room temperature and applying as necessary.