One of my favorite oils to use when cooking at home is coconut oils. Coconut oil has historically had a bad reputation because it is high in saturated fat. However, new studies show that there is no association between saturated fat and heart disease (1). In fact unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin organic coconut oil is quite beneficial to your body’s health. It is cholesterol-free and contains medium-chain good fats and 40-55% Lauric acid. Lauric acid has been characterized as having a more favorable effect on total:HDL cholesterol than any other fatty acid, which is important for decreasing risk of atherosclerosis (2). Lauric acid is helpful because it exhibits antiviral, antimicrobial, antiprotozoal and antifungal properties.
Coconut oil makes a great replacement for less healthy alternatives like vegetable oils and shortening, which can contain trans fats and GMOs. It is a stable oil that doesn’t break down easily at high temperatures like many other oils do. The oil doesn’t go rancid easily and has great nutrient value so it is well worth the effort to include it in your diet!
Coconut oil can be used in a 1:1 ratio as other cooking fats, such as butter. Coconut oil tends to be pretty solid at room temperature, but melts easily. Use coconut oil at room temperature for flaky baked products. You can melt coconut oil and use it in its liquid state to replace vegetable oil and butter.
Here are 6 ideas on how to include nourishing coconut oil into your diet today!
1. Eggs. Try sunny-side up, baked eggs, frittatas, or french toast. Eggs and coconut oil are definitely a powerful and delicious duo!
2. Baked goods. Adds nice flavor and texture to raw brownies, no bake cookies and many other raw and baked goods. Coconut oil is also tasty when spread like butter over toast or stirred into oatmeal.
3. Sauteing, grilling or roasting vegetables. Coconut oil is wonderful for preparing vegetables by various cooking methods. Try carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, snap peas or tomatoes.
4. Smoothies. In smoothies coconut oil adds a nice creamy texture and deep rich flavor. This is a great way to add a healthy dose of quality fat to your breakfast smoothie.
5. Popcorn. Cook popcorn kernels in coconut oil and/or add the melted oil as a topping to your popcorn along with your spices of choice for a natural and nourishing fun snack.
6. Coffee and tea. Melting a teaspoon of coconut oil into a hot drink is a delicious and nutritious way to incorporate nutritive fats into your morning routine. I highly recommend giving it a try!