One of our favourite products and a staple here in the Funch kitchen is coconut oil.
As a cooking oil it is fantastic, but that’s not where the benefits end!
Some of the uses beyond the kitchen for coconut oil are amazing! Our reasons for loving coconut oil:
- Coconut oil is natural (we prefer the organic brands)
- Coconut oil is stable
- Coconut oil has strong health benefits
- Coconut oil tastes delicious
What does a stable oil mean?
Coconut oil is considered stable because it is able to withstand high temperatures without breaking down.
This means that coconut oil maintains its health benefits and does not go rancid or ‘oxidise’ (like some other oils) even when it reaches very high temperatures, which are commonly achieved when it is used for cooking.
When oil becomes oxidised it not only smells and tastes bad, but also can be pretty damaging to your body on a cellular level.
Oils most susceptible to oxidisation are polyunsaturated oils (like corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil).
Here is a bit of technical background about coconut oil
Coconut oil is the oil extracted from the kernel or meat of the mature coconut (by crushing and pressing ‘without’ the use of excessive heat or solvents).
Coconut oil is a saturated fat (90% saturated fat) and there is a lot of contradictory evidence out there on the subject of ‘saturated fats’ but, without getting too scientific, it’s important to know that coconut oil is made up of medium chain fatty acids (MCFA’s), hence the saying ‘all saturated fats are not created equal’.
Some saturated fats are ‘created’ through the man made process of hydrogenation, which has been linked to a host of health problems.
However, back to the MCFA’s. What does this mean? MCFA’s are a “healthy” form of saturated fats; they are smaller fat molecules that are metabolised in the liver (putting less strain on your digestive system), immediately being converted to energy (fuel for the brain and muscle function) rather than being stored as fat. Actually very little is ever stored as fat.
Another interesting fact – A high percentage of the saturated fat in mother’s milk is in the form of MCFA’s. Just saying…
Health benefits associated with coconut oil
Where to start. There are so many. Here are some of the more documented, but medical and health professionals are constantly reporting more health benefits from using coconut oil:
- Controls weight: Coconut oil has proven to reduce abdominal weight, and it’s easy to digest.
- Eases digestion: Poor digestion or tummy bloating seems to be a common problem these days, coconut oil has been found to benefit digestive disorders. It also improves nutrient absorption.
- Boosts metabolism: Researchers have found that people that incorporate coconut oil in their diet will burn more kilojoules than those who don’t.
- Stops sugar cravings. An immediate source of energy: Like carbohydrates coconut oil delivers quick energy to your body, but does not produce an insulin spike in your bloodstream – saving you from that ‘afternoon energy slump’, when we often reach for a sweet treat as a ‘pick me up’.
- Promotes healing and tissue repair.
- Improves heart health and reduces health risks associated with diabetes.
- Supports immune system.
- Enhances physical performance
- Is anti-viral and anti-fungal: 50% of the fat found in coconut oil is a fat rarely found in nature, called Lauric Acid. Lauric Acid (also present in breast milk) has unique health promoting properties.
What to look for and where to find it?
Coconut oil is sold in all health food shops, some specialist grocers and most supermarkets including both Coles and Woolworths.
Usually you will find coconut oil within the Asian cooking ingredients or in the health food aisle, of the supermarket.
It is in a jar, hard (like butter) and white. Don’t look for a liquid, it’s only a liquid when either stored at warm temperatures (generally above 25C) or heated. It turns clear when transformed into its liquid state. Coconut oil can continue to be used safely after having melted then hardened (i.e; during Summer).
Coconut oil should be stored in the pantry (or on hand by the stove away from direct sunlight), for up to 2 years.
Some of our favourite uses for coconut oil:
- Funch Organic Protein Power Balls – It adds to their abundant nutritional value, is energy boosting, and gives them a great depth of flavour. It also helps the power balls to keep their shape and texture.
- Stir fries – its high smoke point and subtle coconut flavour are a perfect match for Asian cuisine.
- Baking sweet treats – great for banana bread, cookies, muffins, slices and truffles.
- Cooking eggs – whichever way you prefer your eggs they will never stick with this oil.
- Baking vegetables – Toss sweet potato, pumpkin or potatoes in melted coconut oil before baking. The oil really adds to the flavour and helps make the outside nice and crunchy!
- Smoothies – Add a tablespoon to your smoothies to add creamy texture and add a host of nutrients and a dose of healthy fats.
- Mayonnaise – Make your mayo with a mix of coconut oil and olive oil, this will give you a great dose of both saturated and monounsaturated fats.
- Eye make up remover – Maybe a little surprising is the cosmetic uses for coconut oil. It is an excellent eye-make up remover that has also been reported to help remove wrinkles and help restore elasticity in the skin.
- Natural treatment for headlice.
- Hair & body moisturiser – Another cosmetic use for coconut oil! It can be used to give dry skin a moisurising boost and is also touted to be an effective hair treatment for a very wide variety of hair issues.