Coconut oil ~ What you didn’t know

I just found the greatest new product!!!

Well, it’s not NEW new.  It’s just new to me.  Yes I agree maybe I HAVE been under a rock all these years, but nonetheless I have found it!  It’s called Coconut Oil.

coconut oil

To be honest, I had never paid much attention to coconut oil until we went “un”processed.  And even then I’d seen it in recipes but it wasn’t something on my radar to look further in to ……until today.

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This past month I have been reviewing my cookbooks and recipe books.  It seems over 90% of the recipes I have call for flour, sugar, vegetable oil, etc.   So I have been looking for alternatives and researching healthier websites.  But I was very surprised at what I uncovered about this little oil.   This is just a brief synopsis of what I found:

A LITTLE HISTORY:

According to Wikipedia (no sense putting the link, I’ve copied the whole page),”Coconut oil is an edible oil extracted from the kernel or meat of matured coconuts harvested from the coconut palm. Throughout the tropical world, it has provided the primary source of fat in the diets of millions of people for generations. It has various applications in food, medicine, and industry. Coconut oil is very heat-stable, which makes it suited to methods of cooking at high temperatures like frying. Because of its stability, it is slow to oxidize and, thus, resistant to rancidity, lasting up to two years owing to the high saturated fat content.”

I discovered it is used as a main source of oil in tropical countries and it was used widely here in the United States and Canada until there was a strong propaganda in the 1970s against it.  They were alleging the saturated fat found in coconut oil was harmful. Know who  the “they” was behind this propaganda?  You guess it!  The corn oil and soy oil industries!!  They were upset because the coconut oil was hurting their bottom line …. business and profits.  Yet this oil has been used extensively in countries like India and Thailand with no adverse side effects.   Since 2000, people have starting questioning this propaganda and the findings have brought back coconut oil’s popularity.

So what are some of the health benefits of this oil?

Let’s explore some of the benefits of this wonderful new oil “I” have discovered:

WEIGHT LOSS:

  • Ever notice how people in the in other countries are not as overweight as here in the U.S.?  That may be due to the oil they use.  Coconut oil contains short and medium chain fatty acids {source: www.organicfacts.net} that help in taking off excess weight.  It increases the body’s metabolism by removing stress on the pancreas thereby burning out more energy.  We are using refined oils that have trans fats and have been genetically modified as our primary cooking oils.

DIGESTION:

  • The saturated fats found in coconut oil have anti microbial properties which help in dealing with certain types of bacterias, fungi, parasites, etc that cause ingestion.

HAIR CARE:

  • Coconut oil is one of the best natural nutrients for hair!  WHO KNEW????   Most people in sub Indian countries use coconut oil on their hair hairdaily after a bath.  It is an excellent conditioner and helps in the regrowth of damaged hair!  I CANNOT wait to try this!  A research study done by the US Natl Laboratory of Medicine National Institute of Health (that’s a mouthful) (NCBI) indicates “that coconut oil penetrates the hair shaft while mineral oil does not”.  Here’s more good news for those moms in kindergarten, using coconut oil on the hair scalp prevents lice and lice eggs!
  • HOW TO USE IT:  I have found several ways to use coconut oil in your hair.  You can put it in dry after blow drying for some added conditioner, damp or wet.  I am going to try melting about 2 Tbsp in 1/2 cup warm water and put it on my scalp before shampooing as suggested.  I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂

HEART DISEASE:

  • Since I am no medical expert and really have no right in discussing what is or isn’t beneficial to heart patients let me just point you to The Coconut Research Center for their argument why the saturated fats found in coconut oil are not detrimental and then an opposing article found at WebMD for more information.

OTHER BENEFITS OF COCONUT OIL:

  • it helps with dementia
  • great for your skin
  • helps with diabetes (see this youtube video) and ulcers
  • great for diaper rash
  • proper digestion
  • lowers high blood pressure
  • dental care

Had enough?  Well as a final note, check out this website I found called DelicousObsessions where not only does she list 52 uses for coconut oil, but her readers left probably triple that in the comments section!!  If only I had known this years ago ….

This was all great news I uncovered, but I still really have no idea how to cook with it.  So here is what I found:

SOME USEFUL TIPS AND FAQ:

When you first buy coconut oil you will see it is in a jar and it’s hard to tell if it’s a solid or a liquid.  Funny thing about coconut oil…..it’s both.  It can go back and forth from a liquid to a solid several times without any harm.  It’s melting point is just  around 76 degrees so it’s best to melt it in the jar in a pot of warm water for a few minutes.

Q:  Does coconut oil have to be refrigerated?

  • No it does not

Q:  How do I bake with coconut oil?

  • Coconut oil makes a great replacement for veg and other oils which contain trans fats and GMOs but I’m learning due to it’s liquid vs. solid state it can be a little tricky.
  • What I’ve learned is it’s best to use it as room temperature or even melt it when baking.  It’s also best if all you’re other ingredients are at room temp too otherwise the coldness could bring it back to a solid.
  • Melt the coconut oil when replacing it with veg oils or other oils.  The ratio for both is 1:1.

Q – What is the shelf life?

  • Fats and oils are usually damaged by light, heat and oxygen.  But the more fat in it, the more stable it is.  Most coconut oils are between 95-98% saturated fat and therefore can handle a shelf life of more than 2 years.

CONCLUSION

I had coconut oil in my pantry for a while now and used it for the first time making my chocolate truffles.  I was intrigued once I tasted it in the truffle because anyone who knows me knows I LOVE coconut. So why I didn’t know about this product before is a mystery.  I decided to dive further and investigate this.  I am pleasantly surprised in how much more this oil has to offer!!  I am upset that I’ve been so closed minded for so long regarding these ‘non mainstream’ items, but can only look forward.  I plan on using this oil so much more and already have my sights on a few recipes.  Keep your eyes open for them!

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Comments

  1. Jessica @ Delicious Obsessions says:

    Thanks for the shout out!! Always happy to meet another coconut oil lover! 🙂

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