You may have noticed that I use a lot of coconut oil in my recipes. In fact, my olive oil bottle has been collecting dust in the pantry lately. Why?
When it comes to cooking and baking, traditionally, extra virgin olive oil and canola oil have been the stars of the show. Until now. It hasn’t been until recently that we are learning about the health benefits of coconut oil.
Originally, coconut oil was thought as bad for your heart and waistline due to it’s high saturated fat content. But recent research suggests that not all saturated fats are the same. The two most common types of saturated fats are long-chain triglycerides (LCT’s) and medium-chain triglycerides (MCT’s). Coconut oil is made up of primarily medium-chain triglycerides, which tend to be quickly used by the body as fuel rather than being stored as fat. (Oxygen Magazine, April 2012)
Basically, the MCT’s in coconut oil and less likely to cause obesity because they are used immediately as an energy source rather than being stored in fat cells. They also help to raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol.
Some other health benefits of coconut oil:
- has antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties
- helps improve blood sugar and insulin control
- is resistant to heat, making it the healthiest oil for cooking
- improves digestion and nutrient absorption
- promotes soft skin and shiny hair
That being said, not all coconut oil is created equal.
When buying coconut oil, always buy virgin or extra virgin coconut oil (Nutiva is my favorite). It should actually smell like coconut. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so just scoop out what you need. It’s best to keep it stored in your pantry, never in the refrigerator. It has a long shelf life of two years!
I practically use it in all my cooking and baking. If a recipe calls for butter, I replace it with coconut oil. Personally, I love the smell and taste of coconut, so I find it makes my baked goods sweeter, moister, and tastier!
So don’t be afraid of coconut oil. I encourage you to pick some up the next time you’re out grocery shopping. I have a funny feeling you’ll never go back to those “other” oils!
**I was not paid by Nutiva for this post. It’s just my personal favorite coconut oil that I can buy at my local grocery store**