Note: I love coconut oil. I have been talking about it as a healthy, nutritious, beneficial fat for years now. So I was skeptical when a supplement supplier that I work said he could get me some that was different from anything else out there. He met my skepticism with samples and research, and the rest is history, a love story of gigantic proportions. It is produced by centrifuge, without any heat or fermentation, preserving its quality. It is better by far than anything else I have found on the market, so if you want to try some let me know. It is $40 for 32 ounces. You NEED this coconut oil in your life!
Incorporating coconut oil into your diet might be one of the healthiest nutritional changes you can choose. You may have heard that saturated fats are unhealthy, but they are not all created equal. Coconut oil is good for you, and is the best source of two extremely beneficial nutrients: lauric acid and Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs). Let’s look at these one at a time.
Coconut oil is 50% lauric acid, which is excellent for your immune system. Lauric acid is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-protozoan, and anti-fungal (including yeast). While I don’t recommend you use it instead of medicine for infections, using it regularly may decrease your susceptibility.
MCTs have many benefits:
1. Metabolism & Weight Loss. Unlike carbohydrates and many other fats, MCTs do not have to be processed by the liver, nor do they need additional enzymes to be utilized. Both coconut and olive oil are heart healthy, but coconut oil leads to a greater rate of weight and fat loss. Researchers concluded that even small changes to the quality of fat consumed can make a significant difference in weight loss, so replace less healthy fats like margerine, canola and corn with coconut oil. If consumed before meals, coconut oil decreases appetite while increasing satiety (the amount of time before you feel hungry again).
2. If you are insulin resistant, it may be even more beneficial to substitute coconut oil for some refined and/or processed carbohydrates. Coconut oil is an immediately available fuel, like carbs, but unlike carbs, coconut oil does not raise blood sugar. In fact, it can help preserve or even improve insulin sensitivity.
3. Brain Health. Coconut oil can help protect the brain and nervous system, particularly against the kinds of degeneration that occur with aging. It also improves cognitive impairment due to hypoglycemia.
4. Heart Health. Contrary to what is commonly thought, coconut oil does not contribute to heart disease. When used to replace bad fats and carbohydrates, and in conjunction with a good source of Omega 3s, it can help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. In one study of 32 patients with severely high triglycerides, a diet rich in MCTs and Omega 3 fatty acids reduced plasma triglyceride levels from (averages of) 1601 to 554 in a week!
5. For athletes, MCTs increased both the level and time of exertion possible before “hitting the wall.”
6. MCTs offer benefits to the digestive system, decreasing inflammation and strengthening and healing the intestinal walls, while improving the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.
How to Use It
Coconut oil can replace butter, margerine, shortening or vegetable oil in any recipe, so keep it as a staple in your kitchen. You won’t want to use it for salad dressings, as it is solid under 77 degrees. It is ideal for cooking and baking because it does not oxidize at high heats, as many other oils do. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated, and has a long shelf life.
Use it for: frying or sauteeing; on top of cooked vegetables, cereal, corn on the cob, baked potatoes, rice or toast; in hot beverages like cocoa*, coffee or tea (some people love this and some hate it, but give it a try, especially if you like your beverage creamy. See my article on how to make the best and healthiest cup of coffee using MCT oil and pastured butter; also great to make healthier popcorn.
My own favorite use is in my morning protein shake.*
For the body
Coconut oil works wonderfully as a make up remover, a moisturizer for skin (both face and body), and a conditioner for hair and scalp. Just remember that a little goes a very long way; use less than you think you need.
In my practice, I use coconut oil that is produced by centrifuge, without any heat or fermentation, preserving its quality. It is better by far than anything else I have found on the market, so if you want to try some let me know. It is $40 for 32 ounces.
Coconut oil is also beneficial for dogs, cats and horses. It can help allergies, produce a soft, shiny coat, and support overall health. Start slowly and work up to 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds. It can be applied topically for hot spots, but your pet may lick it off!
Hot Cocoa: Put 2 T canned unsweetened full fat coconut milk in a mug. Add 2 teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa and 1 Tablespoon coconut oil, and fill with hot water. Add sweetener to taste, and stir. I recommend xylitol, stevia or erythritol for the lowest impact on blood sugar.
Popcorn: Cover the bottom of a heavy 2.5 quart pot with 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil. Use medium low heat. Virgin coconut oil will have a strong coconut flavor, so if you don’t want that, use regular organic, not virgin. Once the oil melts, add eabout 1/2 cup kernels , or just enough to cover the bottom, and cover tightly. Shake the pot a few times as the kernels start to pop. Once they slow down significantly, remove from heat, add spices and/or Himalayan salt, and enjoy thoroughly! This makes 6-8 cups of popcorn. I like to add some sunflower or pumpkin seeds for a little extra protein, and use organic non-GMO corn for the healthiest treat. Still miss the butter? Try mixing a tablespoon of good quality olive oil into your bowl!
Breakfast Smoothie: 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk, 2 Tablespoons coconut oil, 1 Tablespoon chia seeds, 1/2 cup berries, 1 serving of protein powder that supplies about 3 oz of protein, ice/water to taste. Blend thoroughly and drink immediately. This is a meal, and should keep you full and focused for 4-6 hours.