I don’t remember the exact day we started using coconut oil, but it was sometime last summer if I remember correctly. What I do recall is reading on a deal blog about such-and-such brand of coconut oil on Amazon was a great price, the lowest she’d ever seen, and that “now” was an excellent time to stock up if we were interested…
Hook. Line. Sinker.
I bought two.
The jars came in and at first I thought it was a mistake. Why was my oil a solid? That’s kinda weird… and why did I buy this again?
I wasn’t sure how to eat it. Do I just take a spoon to it? Melt it? Spread it on bread?
I tried it with a spoon, treating it like it was a small scoop of ice cream. My licks didn’t get me very far, which led me to taking a big bite.
Have you ever tried chewing tapioca pudding? It’s kinda like that, but thicker. A very strange texture in my mouth that I wasn’t hoping to repeat.
Thankfully I found great success with melting it and making seed salad, which is still one of my all time favorite ways of eating this awesome fat (besides baking with it, of course).
A few days later, my good friend Google clued me in that coconut oil was supposed to be solid. However, it wasn’t until I read Nourishing Traditions that I figured out why: it’s 92% saturated fat!
Remember that saturated fat is the good fat. It’s the type of fat that contains the strong bonds that are resistant to higher temperatures, making them safer to cook and bake with and less likely to attract free radicals.
There’s more to it though. Coconut oil isn’t just another fat that’s handy to have in the kitchen. Like butter, coconut oil is REALLY GOOD for you!
Coconut Oil is Anti-Microbial (It Fights the Bad Bugs)
Coconut oil is made up largely of a medium-chained fatty acid called lauric acid. In the body, lauric acid is formed into monolaurin and the body uses monolaurin to destroy harmful bacteria. Mary Enig, PhD (co-author of Nourishing Traditions) wrote a report in 2006 discussing the effects of coconut oil on Staphylococcus aureus, a major pathogen that was responsible for over one-third of fatal cases of blood poisoning in the UK in 1999. This same pathogen just so happens to be resilient to penicillin, methicilliin, tetracycline and erythromycin. Any of those antibiotics sound familiar? In studies published a few years later, coconut oil showed to better at preventing and healing infections caused by this awful pathogen than the most potent antibiotic! (source) The only other source for large quantities of lauric acid is mother’s milk, which we’ve talked about before and most healthcare professionals will promote , is well known for building the immune systems of babies.
Coconut Oil Fights Tooth Decay
A different bacterium from the same family is Streptococcus mutans, normally found in the mouth and the guilty party for making an acid that decays teeth. Researchers state that even a small amount of coconut oil would be beneficial in destroying this micro-organism! (source) Nourishing Simplicity has a recipe for homemade toothpaste that I would like to make for my kids. Mr. Crumbs is anti-fluoride and it would be nice to have a toothpaste that actually helps their teeth, right?
Coconut Oil is Anti-Fungal
It sounds strange to say fight yeast with an oil, but it’s true! The lauric acid in coconut oil literally kills athlete’s foot, ringworm and Candida albicans (the normal fungus that lives in our gut, yet its out of control overgrowth results in thrush in babies and yeast infections in ladies). I thought Whole Intentions was kidding when she posted about fighting Candida with ice cream, but she’s completely serious! Candida Diet vanilla ice cream (which also happens to be gluten-free, nut-free, sugar-free AND low-carb) only has five ingredients and looks really easy to make. Plus I’m guessing you can substitute vanilla extract with other flavors too! Lemon, peppermint, orange… Mmm!
Coconut Oil is Anti-Viral
In addition to lauric acid, coconut oil also contains a small – yet significant – portion of capric acid. When ingested, capric acid forms monocaprin in the body and helps fight off viruses such as HIV and herpes. Researchers are already studying whether or not coconut oil will promote healing of some of other major diseases like measles and hepatitis C. Food healing disease? Say it isn’t so! 😉 (source)
Coconut Oil Promotes Weight Loss
This sounds completely absurd, right? That eating fat can cause you to lose fat? It just reiterates how misinformed we are as a society!
Medium-chain fatty acids, like lauric acid found in coconut oil, don’t need to be “broken down” by our digestive system. Instead they’re absorbed directly into the liver and converted to energy that our body uses immediately. This quick release of energy causes our metabolism rate to increase an average of 48%! Coconut oil also slows down the rate at which we digest food, making us feel fuller, longer. Because of the slower digestion, coconut oil helps stabilize blood sugar levels too! (source)
This reason alone may cause me to use Whole New Mom’s recipe for homemade chocolate chips.
Wait – did I just say homemade chocolate chips?!
Sure did! Does it sound like an oxymoron to fight off sugar cravings with chocolate?
Coconut Oil Goes Beyond the Kitchen
There are only a few foods in my kitchen that I’m willing to use beyond my dinner plate. Let’s be honest, you’ll NEVER find me putting mayonnaise in my hair. Maybe because mayo is made of eggs and the idea of purposely putting eggs in my hair kinda grosses me out. However, I am seriously tempted to keep a jar of coconut oil in my bathroom.
Coconut oil relieves dandruff and can be used in place of lotion to condition skin. Actually, the naturally occurring anti-oxidants in coconut oil make it the perfect anti-aging moisturizer and even soothes skin abrasions and burns!
Both of these lotions are tried and true (and part of my daily routine!):
Many commercial deodorants contain aluminum and this is a big issue, especially considering the sensitive area we use deodorant. Heavy on Wholesome has a WAY easy recipe for homemade deodorant that you literally could go into your kitchen and make tonight. It even passed her macho Naval Aviator husband’s long-flight test!
Need More Reasons?
- Kills bacteria and parasites like tape worm and liver flukes
- Eases acid reflux, aids in proper bowel function
- Lowers incidence of hemorrhoids
- Heals and relieves intestinal problems
- Soothes earaches
- Deals with symptoms connected with prostate enlargement
- Strengthens the liver and protects against degeneration
- Reduces incidence of epileptic seizures
- Reduces joint and muscle inflammation
- Eases neuropathies and itching from diabetes
- Speeds recovery from a cold
- Prevents scarring from common cuts and scrapes
- Used in fasting to cleanse the body from toxins and impurities
- Removes make-up
- Provides natural sun protection
- Excellent lip moisturizer, shaving cream and even tames frizzy hair (thanks Accidentally Green!)
- Used as belly butter for pregnant mommies and prevents diaper rash (thanks Smithspirations!)
Remember that coconut oil has a high smoke point, making it ideal for frying and for baking. It’s interchangeable with butter in most baking recipes, especially these ultimate chocolate chip cookies (remember to add the different types of chocolate!). It’s also my preferred fat for homemade tortillas and an additional to daily smoothies (with more recipes here too).
Where to buy coconut oil?
I’ve tried my fair share of coconut oils and most are very sub-par. Tropical Traditions is the only place I would ever recommend buying coconut oil from. It’s the highest quality available and made from traditional methods, as coconut should be! You can buy just a quart of by the gallon (which is what I do), but in either case, buy extra virgin coconut oil today and start reaping the health benefits!!
Ways to incorporate more coconut oil in your diet
The easiest way to eat more coconut oil is to substitute it for up to half of the butter in any baking recipe. Cookies are especially amazing, but cakes, brownies, pie crusts and fudge are equally as delicious. Here are a few recipes that are tried-and-true delicious:
- Chocolate Brownie Cake
- Chocolate Ganache Frosting
- Seed Salad
- Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Vanishing Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Homemade Pie Crust
- Leftover Oatmeal Chocolate Cake
- Homemade Protein Bars
Plus these natural skincare recipes use coconut oil too:
Do Something: Try coconut oil! Try it for the first time or try it in a new recipe. Use it in place of olive oil when you’re cooking dinner and vegetable oil when you’re making dessert. Once you’ve tried it, make it a goal to consume it regularly in your diet.
LOTS of great reasons to try coconut oil were listed – which one would cause you to try it for the first time?
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