Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How to Eat Coconut Oil for Health Benefits by Laura Ng

If I ask you to recommend a recipe using coconut cream, you probably thought of curry. What if I change it to coconut oil, what recipe comes to your mind then? Indeed, both provide similar nutritional and health benefits but coconut oil provides stronger health benefits due to its concentrated healthful components.

This nourishing fat protects you against heart disease (yes, contrary to what we're led to believe), diabetes, cancers, liver and kidney diseases, osteoporosis, dental decay and skin infections, viruses, yeast and fungi. It does wonders to your skin and hair too. And an excellent tool to help you lose that excess body fat.

Let's take a look at how you can eat coconut oil to reap its full health benefits. You'll be amazed at how you can apply it to your daily health needs.

Raw Coconut Oil Diets for Natural Health Benefits

Salad Dressing - Dribble virgin coconut oil over your favorite salads to enhance the aroma and texture. But when you serve chilled salads, it's best to mix coconut oil with olive oil to help lower coconut oil's melting point so it won't solidify easily when in contact with chilled salads.

Spread - I love to spread 2 to 3 tablespoons of the flavorful coconut oil on two slices of wholemeal bread with a generous sprinkle of ground flaxseeds. It's a simple yet appetizing spread with high nutritional values.

Cooking with Coconut Oil to Reap Health Benefits

Sauteing, Stir-frying and Deep-frying - Coconut oil can withstand cooking temperature of up to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) without breaking down into toxic substances or releasing free radicals due to its very stable saturated fat structure. Basically, you can cook anything and in any way you want with this healthful oil as long as you don't overheat it.

No matter what kind of oil, once overheated (beyond its smoke point), will produce toxic by-products that can cause cancers. How do you know if you've overheated the oil? Look out for this telltale sign - it starts to smoke.

Also, foods deep-fried in it don't absorb as much oil as in other vegetable oils. So, you don't have to worry about ingesting excessive coconut oil that may turn into your fat deposits and leave an oily aftertaste when reaping its health benefits.

Baking - Substitute butter, vegetable oil and shortening with coconut oil in baking as it adds sweet-smelling coconut fragrance to baked goods. As a guide, use 3/4 cup of coconut oil to replace 1 cup of shortening. Don't worry about setting the oven temperature at slightly above its smoke point. The moisture in the food will keep the inside temperature well below 212 degrees F (100 degrees C).

Adding Coconut Oil to Beverages

You can simply mix it in your hot beverages, be it tea, coffee, hot chocolate or hot soup. Though it doesn't mix well and floats on surface, it won't taste oily or leave an oily aftertaste in your mouth. In fact, I enjoy the rich coconut flavor in my drink very much.

Eating Coconut on Its Own for Health Benefits

I recommend a daily dosage of 3 - 4 tablespoons of coconut oil for greater health benefits for adults when you prefer to eat the oil on its own. But it'll be fine if you keep to just 1 or 2 tablespoons daily.

I'm merely giving you some ideas over here to help you maximize the health benefits of coconut oil. You can in fact, generate more ideas when you explore coconut oil cookbooks and recipes, create your own recipes, and learn from your friends.