Not all fats are the same, and this is a useful fact to be aware of when we are making nutritional choices.
Coconut oil has stolen the spotlight in the media for a number of years now, and with good reason.
In moderation, this oil is an excellent fat source to include in your diet – in addition to being perfect for a few healthy and beauty hacks!
What is coconut oil?
Coconut oil is rich in Lauric acid and medium chain triglycerides. Medium chain triglycerides are burned faster by the body due to their shorter chain length, meaning they can be used faster than some other fats as a fuel for the body!
It is a saturated fat and so it remains stable at high temperatures. A healthy saturated fat – therefore it has the potential to promote benefits when consumed!
A 10g (normal amount for usages) serving of coconut oil is comprised of 9.3g saturated fats, 0.6g monounsaturated fat and 0.1g of polyunsaturated fats.
Coconut oil may also contribute towards weight loss as a study (3) has shown medium chain fatty acids to increase energy expenditure by approximately 5% when 15-30g of this fat is supplemented in place of other saturated fats!
However – do be cautious with portion sizes though, as with all fats it is calorie dense!
Coconut oil adds a great flavour to baked goods such as muffins and cakes. Due to it being heat stable (see the 3rd point) at high temperatures, it is a fantastic choice for baking!
Coconut oil can be used as a substitution in place of butter, olive oil, or any other fat that a recipe requires, although it tends to give the recipe a coconut taste which can be enhanced by adding another form of coconut such as coconut flakes!
#2 Smoothies & Bullet-proof coffee
Coconut oil can be added to smoothies to give them a nutritional boost – and better yet, it can be popped straight into the blender. However, it is solid at room temperature so you may need to soften it either in warm water (simply fill a bowl and pop the jar into it) or take what you need from the jar and microwave it for a few seconds!
Love coffee? Try adding a small amount of coconut oil in a blender with a shot of brewed coffee and blend – this is called a bullet-proof coffee. This combo can help to boost your energy – in addition to the satiating effect of the fats helping to prevent any morning cravings!
#3 Savoury meals
This is brilliant oil for cooking meals that require high temperatures to prepare and also to use in savoury dishes. It has a high smoke point, which is cooking lingo for “it doesn’t burn easily,”
Note: Olive oil is an example of an oil with totally different properties as it does not respond well to high temperatures because – this is due to it burning very quickly. As a by-product, this removes most of its health benefits when it begins to smoke), so if you’re a fan of frying, you can get some serious benefits from making use of coconut oil. It tastes especially good with pasta and noodle style dishes, and in stir-frys.
#4 Hair conditioner
Yep! In addition to consuming coconut oil, it is also beneficial for a number of health and skin care uses.
Trick this quick trick for softer, smoother hair:
✓ Heat some coconut oil for a few seconds in a microwave, then applying it to your hair.
✓ Leave your hair wrapped in a warm towel for fifteen minutes and then wash out!
#5 Moisturiser & lip balm
Coconut oil is a great moisturiser for your skin, simply apply it in a small amount and rub it in for silky smooth skin.
In the cold weather, many people suffer from chapped lips. Coconut oil makes a great lip balm, and when you put some in a small container it is really handy to bring on the go.
#6 Make up remover
Coconut oil makes a great make-up remover – believe it or not!
✓ Simply warm the oil slightly so it is more pliable.
✓ Rub some into the skin and rinse for an effective remover!
Take Home Message
Coconut oil is brilliant oil with many more uses than just eating it. It also holds really well and is stored at room temperature.
It is well worth including in your diet or as a skin saviour in the cold weather!
Get your baking on and give a delicious distinctive coconut flavour to your foods!