Coconut Oil: A Healthy Alternative?

coconut oil shellTraditionally, we’ve always been told that fats are unhealthy and can lead to heart disease. However, contrary to conventional thinking, coconut oil is actually a good fat – it can help keep your heart strong and contribute to your overall health in many ways.

All coconut oil comes in a solid white form and resembles shortening. When kept at room temperature it can last for years, and can easily be melted over low heat. When it comes in contact with cool foods, it begins to solidify again. It has been used for thousands of years by people in tropical climates, and has only recently become popular in Western cultures.

Numerous studies have proven that coconut oil can boost immunity and help your body resist viruses, fungus, yeast, and bacteria. Furthermore, it can also help regulate thyroid hormones and improve the use of insulin in the body, ultimately helping to stabilize blood sugar levels.

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Also, the fat in coconut oil helps your metabolism. Coconut oil contains special fats called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) and when the liver breaks MCTs down, it helps your body process energy more efficiently. A study conducted in 2009 proved that one woman who consumed 2 tbsp. of coconut oil per day for 3 months did not gain weight, and actually reduced her abdominal fat.

How to Use Coconut Oil

In Your Daily Diet

Here are a few ways to incorporate coconut oil into your daily diet:

  • Baking: Coconut oil is perfect for banana or zucchini bread, and even brownies. It can be used as an alternative to butter or other oils, and creates lighter baked goods.
  • Pan-Frying: Add into an onion or garlic sauté to add a more full-bodied taste, and as a healthier option. Instead of using butter or other oils, coconut oil can make a stir-fry lighter and more nutritious.
  • Beverages: If you want to sweeten up your drink a little, add in some coconut oil. It works perfectly with warm drinks, like hot chocolate. If you want to add it to a fruit smoothie, be sure to warm it up to liquid form before putting it in.
  • Popcorn: Cook your popcorn on the stovetop with some coconut oil instead of going for the unhealthy, microwaveable option.
  • Oatmeal: To make your oatmeal even creamier and delicious, add in some coconut oil for taste.

On Your Body!

woman brushing hairAdditionally, coconut oil can be used for many other body treatments. It is a natural moisturizer and is often considered a miracle fix for dry skin and hair. Here are a few alternative uses for coconut oil:

  • Lip Balm: By mixing coconut oil, shea butter and beeswax, you can create an all natural lip balm that will keep your lips shiny and smooth.
  • Toothpaste: Coconut oil and baking soda create a healthy, organic toothpaste option that keeps your teeth and gums clean.
  • Body Scrub: If your skin needs a little exfoliation, coconut oil and sugar make an excellent body scrub option.
  • Shaving Lotion: For a close, clean shave, coconut oil moisturizes your skin and is a healthier option than shaving creams found in the grocery store.
  • Hair Conditioner: From time to time, your hair needs a little extra care. Leave in some coconut oil overnight for a deep conditioning treatment that will leave your hair silky and smooth.

Coconut oil is extremely dense in nutrients and is good for both in and outside your body. It is a great way to include healthy fats in your diet as well as keep your body in glowing form.

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