Superfood Spotlight: Coconut Oil

What you need to know: Coconut oil is the oil taken from the meat of a coconut, and it is revered for its far-reaching health benefits. It is composed of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), saturated fat that can help to lower cholesterol and balance HDL-to-LDL ratios. MCTs can also improve energy and aid in weight loss. Unlike other fats, MCTs are sent directly to the liver for use, giving the body a burst of energy, rather than being stored as fat. Coconut oil is also nature’s richest source of lauric acid (a type of MCT), which is abundant in breast milk and has strong anti-infective properties. Studies indicate that lauric acid may be effective against H. pylori, MRSA, and even influenza.

Why you should try it: Classified as a “functional food,” coconut oil provides many health benefits beyond its nutritional content. Coconut oil contains anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties, making it excellent for immune system stimulation. It can help our body’s defense against both viruses and bacteria, as well as yeast, fungus and Candida. Coconut oil also has the ability to affect hormones, and has also been shown to stimulate the thyroid while balancing blood sugar. As a result, it increases metabolism – meaning the simple act of increasing your dietary fat intake via coconut oil can help you to reach your weight goals.

Let’s get together: Using coconut oil is one of the easiest things to do due to its versatility. Throw a tablespoon into your smoothies and coffee, saute or roast your vegetables in it, bake your cookies, breads and cakes with it, and top your favorite grain dishes with a spoonful. Coconut oil is the best oil to use when cooking with high heat, because it has a higher smoke point. Want to take this superfood beyond the kitchen? Coconut oil is a go-to moisturizer that’s perfect for softening skin after a shower or a bath, plus oil pulling first thing in the morning has been touted as one of the healthiest habits you can adopt. Want to get sassy? Coconut oil is an ideal non-toxic massage oil that not only feels good but smells great too! Always look for organic, unrefined, extra-virgin coconut oil. This helps to ensure that it is not heated, refined, deodorized or exposed to chemicals. One of our favorites is Artisana’s Raw Coconut Oil.

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