Cooking with Virgin Coconut Oil

Virgin Coconut oil is used regularly in tropical areas where coconuts are abundant, but did you ever think about using it even if you don’t live in the tropics?

If you’ve never seen or heard of using it, you’re not alone. It was used frequently a few decades ago until research at the time said it was one of the worst oils we can use. That has since changed, and now we can once again find it on grocery shelves and in restaurants. Depending on where you live, it might be pricey, but you’ll find the health benefits are worth the added costs.

Virgin Coconut oil is abundant with health benefits, including good for you saturated fats.  At one time it was thought to raise cholesterol levels, recent research has found this to be untrue. It is about 50 percent lauric acid, something that can only be found in one other source: breast milk. It is good for your hair and skin and lowers stress levels and even lowers cholesterol. In addition it is also good for the immune system, and prevents diseases like no other fat can.

So what can you use it for? Practically anything, and you might be surprised to know that coconuts aren’t just for desserts.  Some suggestions:

Use in place of butter in desserts such as brownies and cookies and you’ll never know the difference. In fact, many vegan recipes use coconut oil as the primary fat source.

Use in stir-fries for a mild tropical flavor.

Coconut milk is great in smoothies, or even as a substitute for cream in your coffee.

Shredded coconut is also a good source of the oil, and in addition to desserts can be sprinkled on salads and stir-fries. Stick to unsweetened versions for the best health benefits.

Virgin Coconut oil makes a great salad dressing, especially for Asian or Tropical salads and those containing fruit. Use fruit juice such as pineapple or orange instead of vinegar for a unique and healthy twist on regular vinaigrettes.

Keep in mind that it does have a mild coconut flavor so you probably don’t want to use it in everything. Just think about the overall flavor of the dish you are making, and go from there. If you’re making Italian for example, a good olive oil is a much better choice. And remember that just because something is good for you doesn’t mean it’s the only thing you should be using. An important part of a healthy diet is that it is balanced, and that means a little of everything in moderation, including super healthy things like coconut oil.

Have you ever used coconut oil? If so, what do you use it for?

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