Coconut oil has to be one of my top five foods that I eat every day. Not only do the healthy fats keep me full and satiated, but they keep my skin soft and smooth and they’re also great for metabolism and hormonal balance.
Coconut oil is over 90% saturated fat, but the cool thing is all this saturated fat is actually medium chain triglycerides. MCTs are completely different than long chain triglycerides that you find in saturated fats from animal sources. MCTs are small enough that they don’t need to be packaged into chylomicrons and transported to the lymphatic system to be metabolized.
Instead they can go directly into the bloodstream and to the liver to be burned up as an immediate source of fuel, much like a carbohydrate would. So essentially, even though coconut oil is 100% fat it’s actually utilized similar to a carbohydrate in the body. Except since it is a fat, it doesn’t cause an insulin release which means lipolysis [fat burning] isn’t suppressed and it gives us immediate, longer lasting energy. The research isn’t entirely conclusive, but coconut oil has also been found to boost metabolism. I mean, why NOT eat some coconut oil right?
My five favorite ways to use and eat coconut are:
1. As a full body moisturizer- say goodbye to dry hands, cracked heals or scratchy elbows. I use coconut oil everywhere and my skin has never been smoother. Plus there are no funky ingredients like you’ll find in most moisturizers!
2. In baked goods as a replacement for butter and also stirred into my oatmeal. It creates the most wonderful buttery texture in baked goods since coconut oil contains saturated fats like butter does, except the coconut oil saturated fats are much healthier so you can feel good about them! And if you’ve never had coconut oil melted onto your morning oats with almond butter or peanut butter, you must. It’s so creamy and delicious and the healthy fats will keep you going strong all morning long!
3. As deodorant. Yes, I know it sounds super-crunchy-and-granola-and-over-the top natural, but with all the crazy ingredients found in deodorant, I’d rather not put that directly under my arms and have those chemicals absorbed into my skin. Swipe a bit of coconut oil under your arms and you’re good to go.
4. Since it can withstand high temperatures, I love to pop stovetop popcorn in coconut oil! It gives the best buttery taste and popcorn is a whole grain so it’s a great healthy snack! Look for organic or non-GMO corn.
5. Slathered on toast instead of butter. Coconut oil + jam is absolute heaven.
I love to bake and cook with coconut oil all the time, it’s actually become my standard oil I use everyday. One of my favorite things to make with it is this quick and easy freezer fudge. It comes together in about two minutes, is healthy enough to be a snack, and tastes fudgy and decadent. Eat one or two or five pieces knowing you’re doing something good for yourself.
Chocolately Freezer Fudge
1 large ripe banana
1/2 cup almond butter [I used crunchy, but smooth is cool too!]
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup cocoa powder
pinch of sea salt
1. Mash your banana really well. Then stir in the nutbutter, salt and coconut oil until combined.
2. Now, vigorously stir in the cocoa powder until the mixture is smooth.
3. Spread into the bottom of a loaf pan lined with parchment paper.
4. Freeze for 30 minutes.
5. Then cut into 1 inch squares and store in ziploc bag in the freezer!
– Robyn Coale, RD
Make sure to visit Robyn’s website for more recipe ideas and nutritional information.