June 8, 2013

The Coconut Oil Boom.

Photo: Chiot’s Run via lifespa.com

I believe the first time I ever heard of coconut oil was way back in the Hawaiian Tropic suntanning days.

To be slathered in that smell of coconut oil and glistening in the sun certainly turned heads on beaches far and wide. Back then, there was never a mention of any of the sun maladies that are plaguing us these days. Coconut oil was just awesome to smell and wear. Now, it’s considered a great thing to eat and use for a multitude of purposes.

Poor olive oil. It had its heyday for so many decades, and still continues to be prominent in cooking, salad dressings, bread dipping sauces and whatnot. Coconut oil, on the other hand, is touted as more than just a skin enhancement. The nutritional benefits of cooking, eating, wound healing and blood sugar stabilizing is proving more to us now than ever before.

Coconut oil is arguably the most nutritious of all the oils. It is 90 percent saturated fat, and has antimicrobial, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. The juice, meat and oil all have benefits that can be useful in many areas of wellness.

With its medium-chain fatty acids, coconut oil is easily digested and sent right to the liver for energy production. This can increase the metabolism and give an instant source of energy, which aids in athletic performance. Most of the medium chain fatty acids (MCFA’s) are the highly beneficial lauric acid, found in 40 percent of coconut oil. Lauric acid is found in abundance in human breast milk, and converts to a substance called monolaurin in the body. Monolaurin has been known to help with viral infections and disease. Because of this quality, coconut oil is touted as an excellent food source for healing of many illnesses.

Here are some wonderful and healthy ways to use coconut oil:

1. Cooking.

A few tablespoons in a pan (I tend to go overboard here!) will give your stir fry dish a mild taste and aroma, and will contribute to the nutritional properties that coconut oil can provide. Plus, the saturated fat of the oil tends to burn at a lower temperature, and can increase the quality of the dish. Adding coconut oil to any baked good, in lieu of butter or other oils (olive, canola, sunflower) will also be more than helpful in keeping the liver balanced, and blood sugar levels in control.

2. Smoothies.

With the cleanse phenomenon being in the limelight as summer rolls in and fresher eating is on the menu, coconut oil added to any fruit or vegetable smoothie makes for a wonderful addition to the beverage-both nutritionally and tastefully.

3. Skin conditioner.

This goes back to the Hawaiian Tropic days! Use coconut oil as an after-shower moisturizer, lip balm, face cream, shaving lotion, shower soap, etc. You just can’t go wrong with this delicious smelling and hydrating oil on the body. Look for it as a primary ingredient in any natural, GMO-free product you can find.

4. Massage oil.

Instead of the traditional oils used in massage, try substituting coconut oil for a pleasure-inducing experience. Not only will you have visions of beaches and tropical environs, but your body will appreciate the overall conditioning.

5. Hair conditioner.

Any coconut oil product used on the scalp will aid in relief of dandruff and eczema, both on hair and skin. Either purchase an organic product with coconut oil as the base, or use it straight from the jar. Again, it’s that smell and texture that gets the senses going every time.

6. Snack.

Eat it on just about everything that is deemed a snack. Crackers, fruit, baked goods, and my favorite, many Tablespoons dipped into the jar and consumed right then and there. So good.

This coconut oil boom that is gracing our presence at the moment is welcomed on all levels. Many countries who depend on this oil for their food and other skin products have shown just how much of a health boost coconut oil can give. Their heart disease rate is lower by using this saturated fat. Also, coconut oil has also been linked to weight loss. We need this saturated fat for cell function and growth. We are blessed to have given rise and attention and use to the many benefits that coconut oil provides.

I believe we have not seen the last of this magical substance. Thankfully, this is just the beginning.


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Ed: Brianna Bemel

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