Thursday, November 26, 2009
looooooooooove when I find food that tastes like a treat, and is super
fantastic for your health. Coconut is one of those foods! Woohoo! Plus
doesn't this picture just conjure up memories of being on a relaxed
vacation in the Carribbean? Ahhhhh, sweet. And we do tend to think of
coconut as very sweet due to the highly sugar-fied version that we buy
at the grocery store. But really, natural coconut has a mildly sweet
and nutty flavour. So let's hit it, how is coconut so good for us? Let
me count the ways....
- youthful skin and hair; helps with skin problems like psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema
- stress relief
- maintaining cholesterol levels
- weight release
- strengthen immune system; antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant
- supports digestion
- supports metabolism and thyroid
- relief from kidney problems
- reduces high blood pressure and supports heart health
- helps manage blood sugar, good for diabetics
- dental care
- bone strength
In my books that qualifies as a SuperFood!
So what are the sources of coconut, and how does coconut do all that?
So, given all of that, how could a food so good for you have gotten such a bad reputation?
- Coconut oil
is a "medium chain fatty acid" (MCFA) and so while it is highly
saturated, it differs from the saturated fat from an animal source.
Your body will process it more like a carbohydrate than a fat, used as
a quick energy source rather than being stored as body fat. So in fact,
you can eat more coconut oil fat than other fats, and give a boost to
your thyroid and metabolic rate overall.
- Coconut oil and coconut milk
contain lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid which gives it
properties that are antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant. Killing
off stomach bacteria, it helps boost your immune system.
- Coconut milk
contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals, especially calcium,
potassium, chloride, Vit A and E. This makes it excellent for reducing
blood pressure, regulating blood sugar, and improving bone and dental
health. A dairy free option to milk products!
- Use coconut oil topically for a great skin soothing moisturizer, helping prevent sagging and wrinkles
- Coconut flour
is a great alternative to glutenous flours, containing loads of fibre
and even a source of protein, making it a great choice for those
seeking to release excess weight. It's ideal for baking!
- Coconut sugar
is a fantastic alternative to regular sugar, as it has a low GI (35 -
meaning, it doesn't affect your blood sugar negatively), making it an
ideal choice for hypoglycemics and those seeking to manage their weight
and energy levels. It is full of essential minerals as well!
- Coconut water
is a natural isotonic beverage. Think of it as a natural Gatorade! It
has the same electroytic balance as our own blood. This makes it a
great post-workout choice to replenish all those electrolytes you
sweated out! AND, it can help raise your metabolism, promote weight
release, boost your immune system, detoxify and fight viruses, cleanse
the digestive tract, etc!
Well, I already address the concern about it being a saturated fat
(first bullet above, re: Med-chain fatty acid). The other concerns that
have been raised about coconut oil come mainly from some flawed studies
that were done over four decades ago, that were based on HYDROGENATED
Hydrogenated oils of any sort are TRANS-FATTY
ACIDS. You know those "trans-fats" that are literally poison to your
cells? It doesn't matter if the oil is olive oil, flax oil, vegetable
oils... no matter the oil, if it's hydrogenated, it's a trans-fat,
which means their original molecular composition has been altered in
such a way that they mimic and replace natural essential fats that make
up your cellular membranes, causing them to close off their receptivity
to vitamins and minerals while trapping in cellular wastes and toxins.
Hydrogenated oils from any source are one of the most harmful
substances for your health in all ways, and should be avoided. The
studies done so many years ago that found coconut oil to be deemed
dangerous for your health were actually based on studies of
hydrogenated coconut oil. This is not a fair representation of the
effects of non-hydrogenated virgin or extra-virgin coconut oil.
Convinced yet? OK one more plug: It's soooo yummy!
Here's some ways to use coconut products everyday:
- use it for stir frying or frying anything on the stove top
- use it in place of butter in all your baking
- use coconut spread on toast
- put a tbsp in your smoothies, or use coconut milk as a base for your smoothies
the nasty microwave popcorn. Go old school, and believe me, it only
takes about 5 minutes to make popcorn on the stove: Use 1 tbsp coconut
oil, let it heat up and melt, and then add 3 Tbsp organic popcorn
kernals, put the cover on the pot, and shake-a-shake Jiffy-pop style
until you don't hear any more poppin' goin' on. Sprinkle with sea salt,
cinnamon, or brewer's yeast (for a great vegetarian source of B12 with
a somewhat "cheese-like" flavour).
- get one-serving tetrapacks of coconut water (make sure it's chilled, much tastier that way) and drink after your workouts
- use coconut milk to make a curry-dish
- bake with coconut flour and coconut sugar
And here's a recipe for a Coconutty Apple Crisp
you can make for your holiday dinner get togethers!
Shirley's Wellness Cafe
The Nourishing Gourmet