The many uses of coconut oil
There's so much hype surrounding coconut oil, but I honestly believe that this is one of the times a superfood truly lives up to its reputation. After all, if one product can single-handedly fry your veg, remove your make up and lubricate a squeaky door hinge its a winner in my eyes.
Why all the fuss?
Where do I begin. Not only are its uses endless, but so are it's impressive health benefits. First thing worth noting is that you are looking to buy only the raw, organic, extra virgin variety. Yes it can be pricey, but I assure you buy cheap and not only will you be negating all the health benefits but it will both taste and smell like molten elastic bands. Please see the link below for my absolute favourite brand. Believe me, I have sampled many and this one in my opinion has the best flavour, texture and cooking properties.
Coconut oil is an incredibly rich source of good, healthy fats. These are lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid. It is these fatty acids that are responsible for coconut oil's vast array of health benefits.
1. Cancer protective. Coconut oil has been shown to contribute to healthy immune function and exhibits anti tumour properties.
2. Anti-fungal. The acids found in coconut oil are a potent anti fungal, helping to eradicate candida and yeast infections.
3. Anti-Aging. Coconut oil has been shown to reduce stress on the liver and digestive process reducing overall oxidative stress.
4. Anti-inflammatory. Regular consumption of coconut oil inhibits excess inflammation.
5. Anti-microbial, Anti-bacterial and Anti-viral. Coconut oil fights infections and viruses and supports the bodies fight against chronic disease.
6. Thyroid support. Healthy fats are key to healthy hormones. Coconut oil supports thyroid and adrenal health and supports hormonal balance.
7. Supports healthy digestion. Coconut oil destroys bad bacteria in the gut to support a balanced digestive flora. It also assists in supporting the bodies absorption of vital minerals and nutrients.
8. Soothes skin conditions. The deeply nourishing and moisturising properties of coconut oil assist in the healing of dry skin conditions.
The uses of coconut oil are abundant, this is my top ten:
1. For frying. Unlike other poor quality fats, coconut oil has a high smoke point and retains its quality and health benefits even at high cooking temperatures. It also gives fried foods a softer less bitter taste.
2. In smoothies and hot drinks. Coconut oil adds a powerful nutritional boost to smoothies and shakes as well as adding a creamy flavour in the absence of dairy. Add a tablespoon to a green veggie smoothie to reduce any bitterness. It also makes an excellent milk/cream substitute in tea and coffee. If you are AIP and low FODMAP, chances are most milk substitutes are out the window. Try adding a teaspoon or two of coconut oil to your favourite hot drink for an added creaminess.
3. As an energy booster. Coconut oil is a great source of readily available fuel for the body. It is processed immediately by the liver and converted to energy without requiring the need for digestive enzymes to break it down. Simply have a spoonful for a mid afternoon energy boost. And no, it won't make you fat. In being processed directly by the liver it is utilised straight away as opposed to being stored in the body.
4. As a moisturiser. A beautiful non toxic moisturiser, you can use this all over your body to nourish and revive dry skin. A tiny amount will go a long way, so if using on your face you will only need a pea sized amount. Massage this in to clean dry skin and let it absorb it for a few minutes before wiping off any excess with a clean cloth.
5. As a make-up remover. Coconut oil is the most perfect, non toxic, skin nourishing make up remover. You only need half a teaspoon at the very most on a cotton wool pad and it will remove your make up better than any of the chemical laden rubbish you find in the cosmetics aisle. Whats more you're left with a beautifully moisturised face.
6. As a mouth wash. Oil pulling is an ancient technique used to destroy and remove bacteria from the mouth, heal the gums and strengthen the teeth. It's a bizarre sensation the first time you try it and as the saliva builds in your mouth you will resemble a well stocked hamster, but it will leave your mouth feeling unbelievably clean and refreshed. Start by swishing one tablespoon around your mouth for 20 minutes a day before breakfast.
7. For roasting. As mentioned this is a highly stable cooking oil. I have found that it works in combination very well with olive oil when roasting vegetables. Try one part coconut oil to one part olive oil on your veggies. It not only makes the veg beautifully soft yet crispy, but it enhances the natural sweetness of root vegetables.
8. As a replacement for butter. If you are on an AIP diet this is a god send. Use it in place of butter to mash veg, as a spread and as a replacement fat when baking.
9. As a soothing bath oil. Add a quarter of a cup of coconut oil to a hot bath with two drops of your favourite essential oil. Lie back and relax. Your skin will feel silky smooth after - but be warned, so will your bath. Be careful you don't shoot out the tub like Clark Griswald on an over lubricated sled.
10. As a furniture polish. Use a small amount applied to a clean cloth to polish surfaces, counter tops and wooden furniture. As well as cleaning surfaces it helps to reduce dust. I told you it was multi functional.
Get some coconut oil in your life - i'll be stunned if you can't find a use for it.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this blog is purely based on my own thoughts, views and opinions. I am telling these stories to share my experiences with you. The information does not constitute medical advice of any kind and is not intended to substitute the advice of a medical professional. You should consult with a registered GP for guidance on any health related issues and not make any medical decisions based on the information contained within this site. I have no medical training, I am quite simply a coeliac with a story to share.
I love broccoli. It is highly nutritious, packed with vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium and boasts an impressive array or anti cancer and anti viral properties. Broccoli however does not reciprocate my love. In large quantities it leaves me in digestive discomfort and emotional turmoil. As FODMAPS culprits go, its well up there.
However, those beautiful people at Monash University responsible for developing the low FODMAP diet have tested the FODMAP content of this nourishing vegetable for us and deemed it to be low in small portions. Hooray! Half a cup is suggested a safe limit for someone with FODMAP intolerance but you may want to add this into your diet in smaller portions if you have a super sensitive tum.
Armed with this knowledge there was no way I was going to carry on depriving myself of all the benefits that come from this lovely little vegetable. Better still I was going to get creative with it and a few more nourishing ingredients. Et voila, my minted broccoli and courgette dip was born. This is perfect served hot as a side dish, served cool as a dip for raw veggies, or even as a coating for some oven baked chicken.
2 cups of broccoli (dividing the dip into 4 once cooked will give you a low FODMAP portion)
2 medium courgettes thinly sliced into discs.
Two fistfuls of fresh mint leaves. Mint has great digestive supporting qualities, relieves muscle pains and alleviates allergy symptoms.
The juice of one whole lemon. Packed with vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, folate and vitamin B6.
2 tablespoons of coconut oil (see below link for my favourite coconut oil)
2 tablespoons of garlic oil
a good pinch of sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
Food processor/hand held blender
Baking dish or four ramekins
Heat your oven to 200 degrees or 180 for fan assisted.
In a small saucepan, boil your broccoli pieces until just cooked. You want it Al dente and not too soft. Once this is cooked transfer to your food processor or blender, leaving half a cup of water in the saucepan. To the blender add the coconut oil, mint leaves, garlic oil, lemon juice and salt.
Add your sliced courgette to the hot water in the saucepan and cook on low/medium for about five minutes until it begins to soften. Again you do not want to overcook this.
Once cooked, transfer your courgettes to the blender along with a tablespoon of the water from the pan. Pulse for about 40 seconds to 1 minute. You want the mixture to be well combined and thick with a bit of texture still. You do not want to over blend the mixture so it becomes runny. Taste the mixture and add more salt, lemon of garlic oil to taste.
Once your mixture is at a thick and almost smooth consistency, pour into a baking dish or separate into four individual ramekins. This way you are ensuring you have a low FODMAP portion. Bake at the top of the oven for 15 minutes until bubbling and starting to turn golden on top.
This blog tells an ongoing story about me and my journey back to health and happiness. A boho soul always looking for my next European adventure. I am a Coeliac, Yogi, paleo advocate, dreamer, Bon jovi connoisseur, sun worshipper, snuggly jumper wearer and wife to my lovely Paulie.