Coconut Oil – it’s uses and benefits

Coconut OilI use coconut oil for all kinds of things:

  • Cooking.  (Olive oil, a heat-sensitive oil with a low smoke point, is better suited for cold dressings and sauces.)
  • Spreading on toast in place of butter for those dairy-free kinds of days
  • Dropping a dollop into our smoothies.  (When they hit the freezy liquid they become little balls of frozen tropical goodness and are Erich’s favorite part of the smoothie.)
  • Using on chapped lips in the winter or to soothe dry skin anytime. (A little for the pan, a little for my hands.)
  • As a creamy base to which I add lavender, eucalyptus, and tea tree essential oils.  I use this concoction in place of the petroleum-based Vics rub for when my kiddos have a cough.

I even have a friend who uses a mixture that includes coconut oil to wash her face.

The brand I’ve been using lately is Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, but I’ve used several others that I’ve liked equally well.  This one can be purchased directly from the company in a very large quantity, which ends up costing much less than the smaller quantities you can buy from a health food store.  (And shipping was free!)

For those of you suspicious of the health properties of coconut oil, let me share an excerpt from the Nutiva material that was included in my most recent purchase. (And for those of you suspicious of what a company says about its own products, I’m with you.  We have to be wise when someone praises something they are making money off of.  However, I have read these kinds of things about coconut oil repeatedly since becoming interested in healthy living.  Dr. Mercola, a well-known-mainstream-doctor-gone-natural has several articles on coconut oil’s health benefits.  You can take your pick of them here.  But his articles are usually long.  This is a good condensed version.)

The Coconut Oil Myth

Since the 1960s, coconut oil has been unfairly labeled as unhealthy.  The media cited studies implicating coconut oil as a source of artery-clogging fats.

What wasn’t reported was the fact that the coconut oil used in the studies was hydrogenated – not the virgin oil Nutiva sells.  It’s now known that the problem with hydrogenation is that it produces trans fats.

Coconut oil is free of trans fats and cholesterol, and rich in medium-chain fatty acids.  The body stores long-chain fats as fat, but readily absorbs, digests, and utilizes MCFs as energy.

So, go ahead and enjoy this great oil!


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