Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Many of you have probably noticed that I use coconut oil in a lot of my recipes. As a lady who used to buy fat-free things, I now realize that fats are essential to a healthy diet. They also make things taste lovely and leave me feeling full and satisfied after a meal. I love my healthy fats – nuts, avocado, salmon, chia and hemp seeds… bring em’ on! As for oils, coconut oil is one of my favorite oils. It is free of cholesterol and trans fat, contains only 1% Omega-6 and is rich in medium-chain “good fats” that doctors recommend. It’s a nutritious baking oil, as well as, a delicious butter substitute on bread, vegetables, or popcorn. I like adding a bit of coconut oil to smoothies or oats for a bit of healthy fat to keep me feeling full or using it instead of olive oil for roasting and stir-frying.

I’ve talked about some of its great benefits before and how I’ve been using it for my skin for years, so I thought it was about time I wrote a little post about why it’s so great for cooking and eating.

During my training at IIN, I learned about the benefits of coconut oil including it’s ability to:

  • Boost energy
  • Promote a lean body and aid in weight loss <– Because of the medium chain of fatty acids, the oil is easily digested and immediately burned as energy by your liver–unlike the longer chains present in other oils which take longer to digest and therefore are often stored as fat
  • Slow down the digestion of food, which helps you feel fuller and prevent blood sugar fluctuations after a meal
  • Remove stress from the pancreas, which increases metabolism
  • Support a healthy immune system and improve heart health
  • Help your body fight bacteria, fungi or parasites that can cause indigestion <– This is caused by the anti-microbial properties of the saturated fats

A couple notes about coconut oil:

  • Extra virgin coconut oil is what you need to look for when buying coconut oil. Hydrogenated coconut oil, which is found in some packaged foods, is not healthy as it’s been put through a process that takes the nutritional benefit out of any heart-healthy oil. I’ve purchased several different brands of coconut oil before, but Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is my favorite. It’s cold pressed which means it’s not refined, deodorized or bleached. You can find coconut oil at most grocery stores now, but your local health food store will definitely carry it.
  • Coconut oil is a saturated fat so it’s solid when at room temperature.
  • It can be stored in either it’s liquid or solid form, and it can be liquified easily by applying low level heat. It’s easier to measure the oil for recipes when it’s in a liquid state so I like to heat it up by placing the jar in a cup of hot water.
  • It’s also helpful to remember that coconut oil does have a lot of calories of if you’re watching your calorie intake be aware of that. It has around 130 calories for 1 Tablespoon of oil. As with any healthy fat, you don’t want to go overboard. 🙂
  • Coconut oil is great for skin care as well! It can be used on your skin as moisturizer and in/on your hair and scalp to prevent dry hair and dandruff. Check out my all natural face cream.

Here are some of my favorite recipes that include coconut oil:

Do you use coconut oil? What’s your favorite recipe with coconut oil?

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  1. I love coconut oil! I use it in place of whatever oil is called for in recipes where I think it would be good. One of my favorites is a banana bread it’s super yummy and it makes the bread richer and it tastes so much better then the vegetable oil. I also put a tsp of it in my coffee…it tastes really good plus gives me extra energy! I’ve read that your suppose to mix it up in a blender but I don’t and because of that it doesn’t look very appealing…it still taste good and does what I want. ????

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  3. hi
    my question might seem stupid , but i need to be sure .
    which coconut oil is for cooking , do you mean the coconut oil ,that becomes solid when it is kept in cold place , the same coconut oil that is used for hair ,body & face .
    and is used for eczema
    thank you.

    • Yup. I use the same coconut oil that I use cooking for my skin and hair. I do have a separate container for them though. This makes it easier so I don’t have to run to the bathroom to get a Tablespoon of coconut oil for recipes. 🙂

  4. Hi Brittany, I’m a fellow IIN alum and I’m practically your neighbor in Charlottesville, VA! I’m glad to find your blog and I’m loving what you’re doing here!
    I just bought some coconut oil from the farmer’s market and I’m excited to try a no-sugar protein bar with them ASAP. We’ll see how it goes!! Have a great day, Marya.

  5. I LOVE coconut oil…thanks for reassuring me in my decision for adding this healthy fat to, well, almost all of my cooking! One of my favorite ways of using it is by making popcorn on the stovetop. A light but surprisingly filling snack!

  6. This is a very helpful post! I have come to really looove coconut, and have wanted to try cooking with coconut oil time and again. I just need to go buy some! I was unsure of how coconut oil compared to other oils, but it seems as if its a pretty good pick.

  7. I just bought coconut oil for the first time about a year ago – and I love it! I love the taste it adds to baking and stirfries.

    One of my favourite ways to use it: I use it to coat the pan when I make scrambled eggs – it gives them a slightly sweet taste that I love.

    Though I may have to try those homemade Luna Bars – I love them but they’re too pricey most of the time!

  8. This is probably a stupid question, but here goes: my husband does not like coconut, but I’ve seen a lot about coconut oil and I’m interested in trying it. Does it give your food a strong coconut taste?

    • I don’t think the coconut flavor is very strong but I’m sure it might be different for someone that doesn’t like coconut. I’ve heard that adding a little salt to the dish will help with weakening the coconut flavor. I would try it and see how it goes. 🙂

  9. I’ve been obsessed with all things coconut this summer, including coconut oil. You inspired me to try sauteeing zucchini in coconut oil this week. Oh my gosh, it is delicious! I suspect it will be a new go-to zucchini preparation. Thanks!

  10. I started using coconut oil when I went vegan, (I guess because I was getting into all those “Crazy” things at that point haha) and I still use it when I have it on hand, although it’s so expensive that I don’t use it ALL the time! I do love it in Asian stir-fry dishes in particular!

    I’m sorry I bailed on our run this morning 😉 Balliceaux went quite late!

  11. Thanks for linking up my coconut & coconut oil recipes and love this post – I love the stuff and it’s so versatile. As the weather cools off & my oil solidifies at room temp, I want to start baking with it more and creaming it into sugar instead of butter….hopefully the experiments will pan out!

  12. hmmm, I posted a comment but not sure where it went! I love cooking with coconut oil.. I absolutely love the flavor it gives to stir fry’s. I also thought about putting it in my hair, so I am glad you posted about this to remind me.. the blonde highlights and flat iron and totally weakening & breaking my hair.. boo. I tweeted this also.. great post on the benefits!

  13. I absolutely love coconut oil. It gives such a good flavor to stir-fry’s! I honestly have not used it for my hair, but this morning I was very tempted as my flat iron has caused some breakage to the ends of my hair.. plus all the blonde highlights I do. I am glad I saw this post pop up on FB to remind me 🙂

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