October 11, 2012
Should you use coconut oil in your cooking and baking?
I keep seeing coconut oil popping up in clean eating recipes, used as a substitute for butter or regular oils. I first heard about coconut oil through reading Miranda Kerr's eating regime that includes regular doses of the oil; Miranda is a devoted fan of coconut oil valuing it's health benefits for the body inside and out. Her love for this type of oil was criticized by health experts who have warned of the high saturated fat content in coconuts. But looking at Miranda's incredible body and glowing skin, I wondered who was right on this issue?
Firstly, coconut oil is about 90 percent saturated fat! That’s a much higher percentage than butter (about 64 percent saturated fat), beef fat (40 percent) or even lard (also 40 percent). Too much saturated fat in the diet is unhealthy because it raises “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, which increase the risk of heart disease. However, unlike other saturated fats, coconut oil doesn't have a negative effect on cholesterol levels and actually gives “good” HDL cholesterol a boost.
Plant-based oils are more than just fats, of course. Coconut oil, like other plant oils, also contains many antioxidants and other substances that may benefit your health. Coconuts are rich in lauric acid, which has very powerful anti-bacterial / anti-viral properties and is well known to support a healthy immune system and even facilitate brain function.
Here is six easy ways to add the benefits of coconut oil to your daily diet:
1 – Add a tablespoon of coconut oil to your favourite breakfast smoothie
2 – Add a tablespoon to buckwheat or quinoa porridge with a drop of stevia
3 – Use as a spread on your favourite gluten free crackers or bread
4 – Use coconut oil for your stir fries & curries – works wonderfully with Asian & Indian flavours
5 – Roast vegetables with coconut oil & sea salt
6 – Mix coconut oil with raw cacao powder and stevia for a delicious, healthy chocolate topping or dipping sauce