Did you know, coconut has seemingly about a million different uses for health and beauty? Ok maybe not millions but it sure has so many! Psst I even included a recipe below!
What are the long term health benefits of coconut oil?
SATURATED FAT FOR THE BRAIN AND HEART- To start coconut oil is a healthy source of saturated fat that our brains and hearts need (saturated fat is the #1 source of fuel for these major organs). You probably know this but we can’t live without a heart or brain and when the health of these organs are compromised major issues occur, so this is important! Since coconut oil contains saturated fat, it lends a wonderful texture to many recipes, especially baked goods, while adding health benefits. Since I personally avoid dairy, I find myself swapping coconut oil for butter a lot.
ANTIBACTERIAL AND ANTIMICROBIAL-Secondly, coconut oil contains lauric acid which is naturally antibacterial/antimicrobial. Yup, you heard me. Amazing right? For this reason coconut oil is even used for deodorant and mouthwash! Coconut oil may support a healthy gut by managing the bad bacteria and helping indirectly and directly with nutrient absorption. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble- meaning a fat must be present to be absorbed.
MEDIUM CHAIN TRIGLYCERIDES (MCTs)- Coconut oil is an amazing source of MCTs- about 62-65% coconut is MCTs. Cool huh? Here’s why that’s very cool: since MCTs are shorter chains of fatty acids, they are easily broken down and quickly utilized. MCTs actually go straight to the liver where then thermogenesis occurs (basically your body starts making heat and breaking down fat to do so instead of carbs). Therefore, MCTs support healthy metabolism. MCTs are also widely used to help support the brain, healthy weight management, heart health, mood, energy, digestion, and nutrient absorption. You can read more about MCTs here on Dr. Axe’s website.
Coconut oil, like I mentioned already, is mostly comprised of saturated fatty acids and therefore is solid at room temperature. However, it melts very easily and has a high smoke point. This means that it is safe for baking and cooking and will not turn to a trans fat! Wahoo!
Where to buy coconut oil-The cheapest option without compromising quality that I have found is the tub of Kirkland brand organic virgin coconut oil at Costco but you can find coconut oil at almost any grocery store. Just make sure it ISN’T REFINED.
PRACTICAL USES AND HACKS FOR EVERY DAY
- Use coconut oil in place of mouthwash to get rid of bacteria and support oral health- swish around about 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth for 10-20 minutes(the heat of your mouth will melt it so don’t worry about melting). Then spit in the trash to avoid clogging drains over time.
- Use coconut oil to grease pans for baking- Take a little chunk of coconut oil and use your fingers to rub it all around. (Personally I prefer to only bake in glass if I can help it.)
- Make popcorn! Melt coconut oil and stir into organic popcorn/sprouted popcorn with plenty of himalayan sea salt, and maybe even some nutritional yeast OR pretzels and chocolate chips
- Use for cooking and roasting. If you are using the oil to roast, you’ll need to melt the oil first. I am lazy and just throw some oil onto the pan and stick it in the oven while it’s preheating, then pull out the pan and toss whatever I am roasting with the melted oil. Be careful if you use this method as the pan is hot. The safer method is to just melt the coconut oil over low heat on the stovetop and then toss with whatever you are roasting.
- Measure coconut oil with a scale– skip the measuring cup which is such a pain to clean! Measure coconut oil like you would a liquid- so 8oz= 1c.; 6 oz.=3/4 c; 4 oz=1/2 c; 2 oz=1/4 c; 1 oz=2T; 0.5oz=1T.
- All your favorite sweet recipes! Use coconut oil for frostings, pies, quick breads (like muffins and banana bread), cookies, brownies, cakes, and more! I like adding coconut oil to homemade protein bars for the mouthfeel.
- Use in place of butter on toast or use to make your own homemade dairy free butter. Disclaimer, I have not made this recipe yet but I love this site and their recipes! I plan to make this dairy free butter recipe soon!
- Make bulletproof coffee or hot chocolate- the fat when blended with hot water/hot coffee froths and gives the mouthfeel of a latte. For bulletproof coffee, add the coffee, any spices (like cinnamon), any sweetener, and other ingredients (maybe collagen or cacao powder) and 1-2T of coconut oil to a blender and blend to emulsify. For hot chocolate follow the same method but use hot water, some coconut cream, cacao powder, sea salt, and maple syrup with 1-2T of coconut oil. YUM!
- Make fudge sauce/magic shell– (recipe below) and drizzle on desserts such as fruit and ice cream!
HOMEMADE PALEO FUDGE SAUCE/CHOCOLATE SHELL
- 1 T coconut oil
- 2T organic raw cacao powder
- pinch of sea salt
- maple syrup or honey to taste (optional)*
Melt coconut oil in a saucepan over low heat. Add the melted coconut oil, cacao powder, sweetener if using, and sea salt to a bowl and mix with a spoon.
Enjoy over ice cream, smoothies, pancakes, crepes, waffles, fruit, etc. Store any leftovers in a glass container at room temperature. Reheat in a pan when you are ready to use.
NOTES: I prefer not to sweeten this because I especially love to use this chocolate drizzle over ice cream which is already very sweet-so the bitter chocolate compliments it well!
I hope you enjoyed this post! 🙂 If you haven’t already, I’d love for you to check out my instagram and facebook pages. (Username @abigaileholistic).There you can find more free recipes and health tips! I also have a virtual cooking club on facebook where I post weekly recipes and demo different kitchen techniques and recipes unique to the group! You can join by visiting clicking the “virtual cook club” tab here on the menu bar of my website (chefabbalina.com). Lastly, check out my free ebook I created for a veggie challenge at chefabbalina.com under the “veggie challenge ebook” tab. It’s complete with a 5 day meal plan, shopping list, and recipes + tips for eating more veggies!
Healthy wishes to you all!