Coconut Oil Benefits – What’s everyone talking about?!
I don’t know about you but everywhere I look, everything I read & watch, seems to be all about coconut?! Coconut oil benefits in particular!
Whether it be Coconut Water, Coconut Oil, Coconut Milk or Coconut Beauty Products – just flipping everything!
So let’s have a look at COCONUT!
Let’s see if we can see what the hype is all about!
AND is it possible to get past the ‘very high fat/calories’ in our heads and just concentrate on the health benefits?
It’s a toughie!!!
So I did A LOT of research and these are my findings in a nut shell:
Coconuts & Coconut Oil
The coconut is very versatile.
This little beauty has many uses and you can use all of the coconut for something, yes really! You can find it throughout the tropics and subtropics.
Coconuts are part of the daily diets of many people.
Coconuts are very different from any other fruits as they contain a large quantity of “water” and before they mature are called tender-nuts or jelly-nuts (cute) and often harvested for drinking.
When mature, they still contain some water and sometimes used as seednuts or processed to give oil from the kernel, charcoal from the hard shell and coir from the fibrous husk.
The endosperm is initially in its nuclear phase suspended within the coconut water.
As the development continues, cellular layers of endosperm deposit along the walls of the coconut, becoming the edible coconut “flesh”. When it’s been dried, the coconut flesh is called copra.
The oil and milk derived from it are commonly used in cooking and frying; coconut oil is also widely used in soaps and cosmetics.
The clear liquid coconut water within is potable.
The husks and leaves are often used as materials to make a variety of products for furnishing and decorating. The coconut also has cultural and religious significance in many societies that use it. (Wikipedia)
It is low in calories, naturally fat and cholesterol free, it has more more potassium than four bananas, and it’s super hydrating (something to do with electrolytes)
These are just a few of the many benefits of coconut water.
So that’s why everyone seems to be drinking it!
Coconut Milk / Creamed Coconut
The Milk and Creamed varieties are made in a way very similar to milk. The flesh (the white part) is grated and soaked in hot water. The coconut cream rises to the top and can be skimmed off.
The remaining liquid is squeezed through a cheesecloth to extract a white liquid that is coconut milk.
By repeating this process, the coconut milk becomes thinner.
The thicker version is often used for desserts and rich sauces. Where as thin coconut milk tends to be used for cooking in curries and soups.
It very popular to use in vegan cooking and is lactose free – so super useful for lactose intolerance
Coconut Oil – the unprocessed raw virgin stuff
Now this is where it gets really interesting for a food blogger like me! I’ve personally used both Lucy Bee’s and Vita Coco, both really good!
This oil has fabulous health benefits (so they say) BUT it is massively high in fat! But it’s good fat – apparently?!
It’s the richest source of saturated fat know to man! Eek.
The saturated fats however are not like the ones in cheese and red meat, they are a different type know as Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) and they are metabolised differently by the body, this is what I have read anyway.
They go straight to the liver from the digestive tract, where they are used as a quick source energy or turned into so-called ketone bodies, which can have therapeutic effects on all sorts of illnesses ( ??? )
I have also read that these MCT’s can also help you burn fat! Really?
Sounds good to me!
Also I have seen that these MCT’s can have an effect on killing harmful pathogens and thus help to fight infection. All sounds good doesn’t it.
The fatty acids in coconut oil can also reduce appetite, which may positively affect body weight over the long term. AND the best thing about all of this is the oil tastes amazing!
Just ‘punch’ coconut oil’ into your internet browser and you’ll see a LOT of health benefits popping up!
It’s really great for frying, baking and generally where you would normally use butter! So why not!
Also it’s so useful in a wide range of Beauty stuff – hurrah! More uses!
Coconut Oil for Beauty benefits:
1. Makeup Remover – make up melts away – even waterproof makeup
2. Lip Balm – great for really chapped lips
3. Body Moisturiser / Body Oil – just slap it on after a shower, you’ll also smell divine and it’ll remind you of holidays!
4. Breath Freshener – the oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties. Gargling for 20 minutes with a spoonful of oil (a.k.a. oil pulling) can help clear up germs in the mouth, leading to fresher breath, whiter teeth, and healthier gums. (I myself haven’t tried this one yet – Eek)
5. Undereye Cream – Don’t want to spend the extra money on eye cream? Use a dab of this oil on undereye bags and fine lines. It’s light enough for the most delicate skin on your face.
6. Night Cream – Pop some on your face and hit the sack. The antioxidants are great for those lines
7. Leave-in Hair Conditioner -Hydrate dry hair by using this wonderful oil as a leave-in conditioner. Apply a small amount to wet strands to seal in moisture. I’ve also put it on the ends – tied my hair up and gone to bed. I just washed my hair the next day and it was so shiny and hydrated. It also helps to keep the frizz at bay
8. Itch Relief – it’s great for Burns, bug bites, and bruises, it soothes easily with a topical balm of coconut oil.
Thee are stacks of ideas including shaving cream , deodorant – you name it! Have a look!
Easy peasy lemon squeezy
So how have I been using this infamous ingredient!
Well I have developed my ‘I should Coco Bars! recipe opposite and here, and boy are they good.
I tend to also use if for frying in my savoury dishes.
Other Recipes Using Coconut oil
It’s really good in my Easy Chicken Curry where I substitute the olive oil for coconut oil, you can use it almost anywhere!
Chocolate Coconut Bars
My Lovely Blogging friend Sarah – ‘Tales from the Kitchen Shed’ has also shared with us her Chocolate Coconut Bars
(below – yum yum yum) Sarah’s Tales from the Kitchen Shed
Just click through to this lovely recipe!
I also use the Oil in my hair and on my skin quite regularly now! And I will continue.
So in essence I’m all for this new ingredient malarky!
And I will continue to try and use this oil in my cooking!
Have you any comments – tips – recipes?
I would love to hear – please drop me a comment below
I do so love your comments!