Dec 31, 2015

Coconut Oil—Hype or Healthy?



Coconut oil is one of the few foods that can be classified as a “superfood.” Its unique combination of fatty acids can have profound positive effects on health. This includes fat loss, better brain function and various other amazing benefits.

Coconut oil is one of the richest sources of saturated fat, with almost 90% of the fatty acids in it being saturated. New data is showing that saturated fat is actually harmless. Studies that include hundreds of thousands of people prove that the whole “artery-clogging” idea was a myth.

Coconut oil contains a lot of healthy triglycerides, which have a therapeutic effect on several brain disorders like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s.

In addition, the triglycerides in coconut oil have been shown to increase your energy expenditure by as much as 5%, potentially leading to significant weight loss over the long term. It has also been shown to reduce hunger.

The fatty acids in coconut oil can potentially help to prevent infections. New studies also show that coconut oil improves important factors like LDL and HDL cholesterol, which may translate to a reduced risk of heart disease.

Coconut oil can be applied to your skin as well and studies have shown it to be effective as a skin moisturizer. It can even be used as a mild form of sunscreen and as mouthwash.

Coconut oil can successfully substitute for margarine or oil in many recipes. Keep it refrigerated if your recipe calls for solid shortening or margarine; microwave for 50 seconds if you are subbing for oil.

Coconut oil will impart a mild flavor to most foods but often it is masked by other ingredients.

You can also play up the coconut flavor by using it in a recipe that features coconut as well.

 




These bars are easy to make and such a treat!

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup coconut oil, at room temperature (liquid)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
3/4 cup lemon custard or lemon curd

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish with baking spray. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream coconut oil and sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and coconut extract. Mix well. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the flour mixture. Mix until combined, the dough will be crumbly. Stir in the 3/4 cup coconut flakes.

Gently press half of dough into bottom of prepared baking dish. Evenly spread the lemon curd over dough. Sprinkle remaining dough over the top, making sure you cover the entire bars. Press gently to form the top layer. Sprinkle the additional coconut over the bars.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Cool completely and cut into squares.



Pump up the coconut flavor and benefits with this tasty fish dish!

1 lb flounder or tilapia

1 egg

1 cup flour

2/3 cup shredded coconut

3/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 cup coconut oil

4 lemon wedges

 

Cut fish into 2 inch pieces or fingers.  Pat dry with a paper towel.

Whisk egg in large shallow bowl.  In a large bowl, combine flour, coconut, salt and pepper. 

Heat 2 tablespoons of the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. 

Add half of the fish to the egg and toss to coat, and use a fork or slotted spoon to transfer pieces to the coconut flour mixture.

Dredge fish pieces until they are well coated.  Transfer fish to skillet and cook 2 to 4 minutes per side. Crust should be a light golden brown. Add coconut oil to skillet as needed to finish frying all the fish pieces. Serve with lemon wedges.

 

 

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