stable item can be used (nutritiously) in place of butter, shortening,
and cooking oil, and then pressed into duty as a health and beauty
One of my
favorite pantry items is my big jar of organic virgin coconut
oil, and the crazy thing is, I don't even like coconuts. If you
slip me a cookie that has those nasty little flakes of coconut
in them, I'll probably spit it out I really, emphatically
don't like coconut! I am stressing this point because coconut
oil has a place in the kitchen of even the most die-hard coconut
hater (like me!).
people who are seeking a healthier lifestyle make the mistake
of avoiding all fats. Sure, eating a bag of Doritoes covered in
cheese is terrible for you (in more ways than just the fat content!)
but certain fats
can be a healthy, and very necessary, part of your diet. In
fact, these "healthy fats" can actually aid
in weight loss, if that is your goal. Some examples of these
healthy fats would be those from nuts, avocados, seeds, certain
fish, and coconut oil. Consumption of these fats will improve
your hair, your skin, your immune system, and your organ function
when consumed in moderate quantities. As well, certain
nutrients are fat soluble and can only be properly used by your
body in the presence of fat. For example, Vitamins A, D, E,
and K should be taken when you eat a small amount of fat.
oils are not created equally. There are a few basic types of coconut
oil, and it's important to get the "right" kind for your needs
in order to reap the full benefits of your purchase.
need to decide between refined and unrefined. This relates to the
process of extracting the oil.
coconut oil is separated by heat. Refined coconut oil is more
heat-stable and can be used in cooking methods like frying. Many
people opt for refined coconut oil because it is flavorless and
odorless. The shelf life of a refined coconut oil, according to
the expiration dates is 18 months to 2 years. A refined coconut
oil loses some nutritional benefits but how much really depends
upon the refining process that is used.
Pressed: This is the traditional method of extracting coconut
oil. No chemicals are used in this method the oil is extracted
by a machine which physically presses out the oil, then is deodorized
by distilling it with steam. If you opt for a refined oil, look
for "expeller pressed" on the label.
The RBD (refining bleaching deodorizing) process often uses chemical
solvents like hexane to extract the oil. (Hexane
is a toxic chemical that can be used to dissolve adhesive, cement
and glue.) This process is generally performed on previously dried
coconut kernel called copra, which is often made from lower quality
or old coconuts.
coconut oil is also called virgin or extra-virgin
coconut oil. This oil has the light scent and flavor of coconut,
which disappears somewhat when used in cooking. This type of coconut
oil has the most nutritional benefits and the shelf life has been
documented as anywhere from 2-5 years, to "indefinite".
one health benefit of coconut oil is that about 50% of it is lauric
acid, an essential fatty acid that is only otherwise found naturally
in such high levels in human breast milk. The human body turns lauric
acid into monolaurin, which contains antiviral, antimicrobial, antiprotozoal
and antifungal properties, so basically, it boosts your immunity
in every possible way.
Research Center summarized the health benefits of coconut oil, based
on recent scientific studies. (Please follow the
link for further documentation.)
viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis
C, SARS, AIDS, and other illnesses.
bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract
infections, gum disease and cavities, pneumonia, and gonorrhea,
and other diseases.
fungi and yeasts that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete's
foot, thrush, diaper rash, and other infections.
or kills tapeworms, lice, giardia, and other parasites.
a nutritional source of quick energy.
energy and endurance, enhancing physical and athletic performance.
digestion and absorption of other nutrients including vitamins,
minerals, and amino acids.
insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose.
stress on pancreas and enzyme systems of the body.
symptoms associated with pancreatitis.
relieve symptoms and reduce health risks associated with
problems associated with malabsorption syndrome and cystic
calcium and magnesium absorption and supports the development
of strong bones and teeth.
protect against osteoporosis.
relieve symptoms associated with gallbladder disease.
symptoms associated with Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis,
and stomach ulcers.
digestion and bowel function.
pain and irritation caused by hemorrhoids.
tissue healing and repair.
and aids immune system function.
protect the body from breast, colon, and other cancers.
heart healthy; improves cholesterol ratio reducing risk
of heart disease.
arteries from injury that causes atherosclerosis and thus
protects against heart disease.
prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay.
as a protective antioxidant.
to protect the body from harmful free radicals that promote
premature aging and degenerative disease.
not deplete the body's antioxidant reserves like other oils
utilization of essential fatty acids and protects them from
relieve symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome.
symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (prostate
protect against kidney disease and bladder infections.
prevent liver disease.
lower in calories than all other fats.
loss of excess weight by increasing metabolic rate.
utilized by the body to produce energy in preference to
being stored as body fat like other dietary fats.
prevent obesity and overweight problems.
topically helps to form a chemical barrier on the skin to
ward of infection.
symptoms associated the psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.
the natural chemical balance of the skin.
skin and helps relieve dryness and flaking.
wrinkles, sagging skin, and age spots.
healthy looking hair and complexion.
protection from damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation
from the sun.
not form harmful by-products when heated to normal cooking
temperature like other vegetable oils do.
no harmful or discomforting side effects.
completely non-toxic to humans.
Coconut oil has
a melting point of 76F/24C. If it is stored above that temperature
it will be a liquid, and below it will be a solid. It doesn't harm
the coconut oil to be in the liquid state keep in mind that
coconuts originate from a tropical climate. The shelf life will be
extended if the product is stored in a cool, dark place, however,
if you store it in the refrigerator it will be rock hard. You can
soften it by placing the closed jar in a pan of hot water.
If you are
purchasing a large quantity of coconut oil (for example, a 1-5 gallon
bucket) use a sterilized, completely dry spoon or scoop and
dip out enough oil for regular use. I keep a 1 pint jar of coconut
oil in the bathroom and a quart jar in the kitchen.
elsewhere in the article, the shelf life declared by the coconut
oil companies ranges from 18 months-2 years for refined coconut
oil, and 2 years-4 years-beyond for virgin coconut oil.
How to use
Coconut Oil in the Kitchen
can serve many purposes in the kitchen. If you use virgin coconut
oil it will impart a very light coconut flavor to your cooking,
but it isn't really comparable to the flavor you get from adding
flaked coconut. I suggest you get a small jar to test it out before
investing in quantity, because there's nothing worse than making
a large investment in something that you find distasteful.
For the best
results, raise or lower the temperature of your coconut oil to reach
the consistency of the item you are replacing. For example, if you
are baking and the recipe calls for shortening, briefly chill the
coconut oil until it is a firm consistency. You can use coconut
oil in place of:
25% less coconut oil than the amount of butter called for)
the way coconut oil first made its way into my home the cosmetic
uses! When I was searching for a lotion and moisturizer that didn't
contain nasty parabens and petroleum products, while also being
safe on my daughter's extremely sensitive skin, I discovered coconut
oil. The pleasant scent is an added bonus. We use it in many different
that I can't personally confirm, but that I came across when researching
(because of the antimicrobial qualities)
(mix with baking soda)
cream for breast-feeding women (and non-toxic to baby, unlike
the commercial products)
lubricant (do not use with latex condoms)
repellent (mix with lavender or peppermint essential oil)
minor cuts and abrasions
In my own
stockpile, the only fats I have stored are organic virgin coconut
oil and organic olive oil, with the majority being coconut oil.
Because it is a nutritional gold mine, coconut oil is a very worthwhile
substitute for many of the fats commonly used in our kitchens. I
have limited storage space, also, so I like to store things that
can serve many uses.
try this multi-tasking superstar, you'll wonder how you got by
so long without it!
little coconut music to get you in the spirit of things!)