Coconut oil is quickly becoming the top oil of choice as people are on the look out for healthier options. It is another superfood that is unique in the nutrients it provides; being full of natural fatty acids that boost the immune system and act as a natural antibiotic, helping to protect us against harmful bacteria and viruses. Amazingly, the consumption of coconut oil is beneficial for increasing metabolism, good cholesterol levels and improving thyroid, hormonal and neurological function. Coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid, these fats are more easily absorbed by the body than other fats and are more likely to be converted into energy and not stored as unwanted body fat.
How do I use it?
Coconut oil is one of the only oils actually suitable for cooking as it is stable at high temperatures, meaning that the nutrients are not destroyed when exposed to high temperatures during cooking. Coconut oil is also great to use raw in smoothies and protein shakes, to optimize the nutrient intake and give it a gorgeous creamy texture. It has also become very popular for its use in deserts because of its sweet taste and great texture.
Personally, I absolutely love using coconut oil for stir fries and to roast vegetables, especially The Little Green Spoon sweet potato fries - heaven! Taking a shot of coconut oil in the morning, mid morning or when you hit that afternoon slump is like a little magic trick! This helps to significantly reduce appetite, while keeping your metabolism up to speed. Take a heaped teaspoon of coconut oil and stir into boiled water or herbal tea and drink! Don't be afraid to ask for this if you get a tea in any healthy food shop, they will always have coconut oil to hand. Be sure that The Happy Pear, The Punnet Healthstore and Select Stores would be more than happy to receive such a request! Top superfoods like chia seeds, hemp and leafy green veggies should be consumed along side coconut oil to maximize their nutritional benefits.
Try out this superfood smoothie recipe:
1 heaped teaspoon of coconut oil
1 heaped teaspoon of chia seeds
1 scoop of hemp protein
200mls of coconut water
1 cup of kale of spinach
1 cup of blueberries
Squeeze of honey or agave to sweeten
Blend in a nutritbullet or food processor and enjoy chilled.
When you are buying coconut oil you are looking for 'cold pressed' 'virgin' and 'organic'. My favourite, good quality Irish brands are NUA and Dr. Coys, these are both available to buy in Nourish, The Punnet Health Store, Select Stores and The Happy Pear, you may also find that some supermarkets stock these products in their health food section.
Coconut oil is not just delicious but it can be used as a replacement for so many of our beauty products that are filled with chemicals.
These are my personal favourite beauty recipes:
1. Coconut oil and tea tree skin salve- for treatment of acne or small skin breakouts.
- Melt a tablespoon of coconut oil in a pan or in the microwave
- Add 1 or 2 drops of tea tree oil
- Mix together
- Place into small tub and store in the fridge
Use on problem areas of the skin when needed
2. Coconut and lavender body butter/ hand and foot cream
Add 1 cup of coconut oil, 1 teaspoon of vitamin E oil and a 4
drops of your favourite essential oil e.g. lavender into a mixing bowl
Mix using a high speed food mixer or food processor
Store in a glass jar at room temperature
The cream will melt when you rub it into your skin and keep you hydrated for ages!
Katie Parsons is a nutritionist and yogi. She has developed an approach to eating that works for her body and makes her feel great. Follow her tips and you'll have a pep in your step before you know it!