Something that is popping up everywhere is coconut oil! And I have a feeling it’s one of those things that we’re told is healthy so we go out and buy it, but some of us have no idea what’s so great about it or what to do with it. Let me clear some things up for you.
Coconut Oil is one of the latest health foods I’m incorporating into mine and my family’s diets. Although it is made up entirely of saturated fat, it is quickly converted into energy and not stored as body fat. Saturated fat was associated with trans fats in many studies, but our bodies need some saturated fat - just not trans fats (partially hydrogenated fats). Here are some other benefits:
- increases metabolism
- burns fat
- boosts brain health
- good source of omega-3 fats
Side note: Incorporating healthy oils into your diet will not make you fat!! Your body needs them.
Coconut oil is one of the best oils to cook with. It is not damaged by heat as many vegetable oils are, so it won’t lose nutrients when exposed to high heat. This will likely come as a shock to many of you, but when you saute vegetables with olive oil it’s likely that you’re cooking with high enough heat that it destroys the nutrients and may even produce carcinogenic compounds.
I am just about finished with my first jar and here are some of the ways I have used it:
- I often use it to saute vegetables, and my husband Jeff likes to use it almost daily to cook eggs,
- I sometimes add about a tablespoon into my green drink and into meal-replacement shakes for some added healthy fat and nutrition.
- In baking recipes I have replaced half or all of the oil with coconut oil. You will just need to melt the oil first in a small pan because it is solid at room temperature.
When you’re buying coconut oil look for the following words in order to get the least processed, purest form: cold-pressed, organic, extra virgin. I haven't looked at my regular grocery store, but I know that Trader Joes and most health food stores carry it.
Some people don't like the taste of coconut. If you're using it to saute vegetables for dinner, you most likely will not taste it. If you're hesitant, start with a small amount and see what you think.
Has anybody tried coconut oil yet? How have you used it?