Cooking Oils- Why We Should Switch to Coconut

I have talked about loving all things coconut, but I wanted to go into some detail with coconut oil because it is one of my favorite and versatile products in all the land.

 I was introduced to this amazing stuff when a co-worker of mine used to bring it in in a little lip-balm dish.  She used it for a moisturizer.  I was intrigued and immediately went to buy some of my own- and I now only use coconut and olive oil in my cooking.  Canola what?!

If the taste of coconut isn’t your cup of tea, try it first.  You might be surprised.  But you can still use this stuff for much, much more.  I’ll explain.

It is derived from the meat of matured coconuts.  Coconut oil is made up almost completely of saturated fats!  Really?!  SO HOW IS IT GOOD FOR ME?!  Well, there’s a whole lot of scientific reasons why, but I’m not going to bore anyone with that.  What it converts to into your body is very, very good.  I will say that nearly 50% of the fat found in this is Lauric Acid– it’s a fat rarely found in nature and has a number of health benefits behind it.

Coconut oil has a very high melting point- so when you buy it, it will be in a solid form and it will only melt at high temperatures (like when you cook with it).  That’s normal.  Don’t panic- and don’t keep it in the fridge!  To use it internally, cook with it in place of other oils.  To use topically, either massage in as a solid or melt it over heat and then use it.  The recommended intake for the benefits of an average adult is 3 1/2 tbsp a day.  There are no real adverse side effects, but start small because it can cause diarreah if you shock your system right away with all its goodness.

I cook with coconut oil and I also use it instead of butter in my potatoes or veggies.  I love the taste of it and I try to add it in whatever I can.  It works fantastic on dry skin, too.  You can find it in the natural isles of Wegmans or at any health food store (extra virgin and unrefined).  It is a little expensive, but it lasts a long time.  OK, so WHY is it so amazing, already

Awww, what a sweet little guy.

It can make you leaner:  Farmers in the 1940’s discovered this by accident when they tried to use coconut oil to fatten their livestock- it did not work.  It made them lean, active, and hungry instead!  This is because it contains short and medium chain fatty acids (whereas vegetable oils contain long chain), making it easier to digest and increases that metabolism.

Lower risk of heart disease and diabetes: That lauric acid is good for reducing cholesterol and blood pressure.  It can help lower your LDLs (bad fats) and raise the good ones (HDLs).

Good for digestion: It has been shown to help with many stomach and digestion problems, including IBS.  The saturated fats have microbial properties that can help ward off certain parasites and fungi, and it also helps with absorption of certain vitamins and minerals.

Immunity: Because of that microbial property, coconut oil helps strengthen immunity.  Such viruses include influenza, herpes, and even HIV.

Healing properties: When applied directly to an infection or a bruise, this stuff can actually speed up the healing process!  It forms a chemical layer that keeps dust and other particles out.  It has been shown to kill bacteria that cause ulcers,  UTI, throat infections, or fungi that cause ringworm, and diaper rash!

Skin and hair care: It acts as a moisturizer for all skin types- similar to mineral oil, but better.  It can also delay wrinkles and sagging skin.  Skin problems like dermatitis and eczema also can be treated with it.  Coconut oil is also one of the best things for your hair, promoting healthy growth and shine.  It can be used as a conditioner and can improve damaged hair.  Massaging it in your hair can help keep dandruff at bay.

Good for the teeth: Coconut oil facilitates the absorption of calcium, so it helps with strong teeth and eliminates tooth decay.

Alzheimer’s Disease: This amazes me.  It’s not extensive, but there has been some research done that has shown positive effects on coconut oil slowing the progression of the disease.  The study was done by Dr. Mary Newport- read her book if you get the chance!  Her husband showed signs of Alzheimer’s, so she gave him 1 tbsp of coconut oil twice a day and saw dramatic improvement.

It’s also great for your bones, liver, kidneys, a natural remedy for phemonia, soothes earaches, and stress relief.  It can help increase energy and endurance- running, anyone?!  I’ve EVEN read that it can be used as a deoderant or a sunscreen.  I don’t think I’ll try those last two, but hey- it’s cool to know if I’m ever in a pinch.  And nursing mommies- coconut oil might help increase your milk flow!

A LOT of reasons to switch to coconut oil. 

Here’s why the other stuff isn’t so great (and this is copied directly from a source):

1) Cooking your food in omega-6 vegetable oils produces a variety of very toxic chemicals, as well as forming trans-fats. Frying destroys the antioxidants in oil, actually oxidizing the oil, which causes even worse problems for your body than trans-fats.

2) Most vegetable oils are genetically modified, including more than 90 percent of soy, corn and canola oils.

3) Vegetable oils contribute to the overabundance of damaged omega-6 fats in your diet.  Nearly everyone in Western society consumes far too many omega-6 fats — about 100 times more than a century ago — and insufficient omega 3 fats, which contributes to numerous chronic degenerative diseases.

This is a fantastic website with 52 cool uses for coconut oil!  Try one a day (like magic shell ice cream topping or a homemade vapor rub!)…

Happy Trying!!

Why, hello Mr. Coconut- may I join you on that beach, please?!


2 thoughts on “Cooking Oils- Why We Should Switch to Coconut

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