• 17Dec

    My latest health food craze is non other than the much talked about and debated coconut oil.

    I am a great fan of the coconut and I like everything about the coconut from the water to the coconut milk, the flesh to the oil.  All my favorite desserts have elements of coconut in them.  I am nuts over coconuts! 😀

    Here are some of the ways on how I savour coconut oil…

    I drizzle some extra virgin coconut oil into my hot cup of Hershey’s cocoa with milk or milk coffee.

     

    I drizzle coconut oil onto my toast and slather maple syrup on it. Yums!

    I also add coconut oil into curries and desserts like red bean soup.

    Food For Though

    Coconut oil has a multitude of health benefits, which include but are not limited to skin care, hair care, improving digestion and immunity against a host of infections and diseases.

    Coconut oil was considered a bane for the human body due to its high saturated fat content until the last decade (2000s) when people began to question the claims of the propaganda. Let’s look into some more details of how coconut oil works in our body.

    Coconut oil is used for diabetes, heart disease, chronic fatigue, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Alzheimer’s disease, thyroid conditions, energy, and boosting the immune system. Ironically, despite coconut oil’s high calorie and saturated fat content, some people use it to lose weight and lower cholesterol.

    Coconut oil is sometimes applied to the skin as a moisturizer and to treat a skin condition called psoriasis.

    Coconut Oil Health Benefits

    1. The Lauric Acid in Coconut Oil Can Kill Bacteria, Viruses and Fungi, Helping to Stave Off Infections
    Studies have show that intake of coconut oil can help our bodies mount resistance to both viruses and bacteria that can cause illness. Even more, it also can help to fight off yeast, fungus and candida.

    2. Thyroid and Blood-sugar control
    Coconut oil can also positively affect our hormones for thyroid and blood-sugar control. People who take coconut oil also tend to have improvements in how they handle blood sugar since coconut can help improve insulin use within the body.

    Coconut oil can boost thyroid function helping to increase metabolism, energy and endurance. It increases digestion and helps to absorb fat-soluble vitamins.

    3. Reduces cholesterol
    Coconut oil has a saturated fat called lauric acid, a type of MCT. It has been shown that lauric acid increases the good HDL cholesterol in the blood to help improve cholesterol ratio levels.  Coconut oil lowers cholesterol by promoting its conversion to pregnenolone, a molecule that is a precursor to many of the hormones our bodies need. Coconut can help restore normal thyroid function. When the thyroid does not function optimally, it can contribute to higher levels of bad cholesterol.

    4. Coconut Oil Can Increase Your Energy Expenditure, Helping You Burn More Fat
    The medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil can increase energy expenditure compared to the same amount of calories from longer chain fats. One study found that 15-30 grams of MCTs per day increased 24 hour energy expenditure by 5%, totalling about 120 calories per day.

    Bottom Line: The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil have been shown to increase 24 hour energy expenditure by as much as 5%, potentially leading to significant weight loss over the long term.

    5. Coconut Oil Can Improve Blood Cholesterol Levels and May Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease
    Coconut oil is loaded with saturated fats, which actually do not harm the blood lipid profile like previously thought.

    Saturated fats raise HDL (the good) cholesterol and change the LDL cholesterol to a benign subtype.

    In one study in 40 women, coconut oil reduced Total and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL compared to soybean oil.

    There are also rat studies showing that coconut oil reduces triglycerides, total and LDL cholesterol, increases HDL and improves blood coagulation factors and antioxidant status.

    This improvement in cardiovascular risk factors should theoretically lead to a reduced risk of heart disease over the long term.

    Bottom Line: Studies in both humans and rats show that coconut oil improves important risk factors like Total, LDL and HDL cholesterol, which may translate to a reduced risk of heart disease.

    6. Hair conditioner
    Coconut oil is a creamy solid at room temperature, and turns to liquid when heated to 76°F. While in the shower, melt your coconut oil by running the jar under the warm water. Then, after shampooing, apply a generous amount of the oil to wet strands and twist hair into a bun. Let it sit for at least five minutes before rinsing to add moisture and shine back into limp locks.

     

    coconuts-Coconut-oil-on-spoon

    7. Body oil
    As a solid, coconut oil’s creamy texture makes it the perfect light moisturizer to slather all over. Apply a quarter sized amount right after you get out of the shower so it can sink into your warm skin. The light tropical scent that lingers after it’s applied. Add in a few drops of peppermint or lavender oil for a massage mix. For me, I mix coconut oil with melaleuca oil and slather on my hands and feet each night. I use this concoction for body massage too.

    8. Lip balm
    Chapped lips don’t stand a chance against ultra-hydrating coconut oil. Scoop some into a spare contact lens holder and throw it in your purse so you can dab it on with your finger throughout the day.

    9. Under-eye cream
    The skin under your eyes is thin and delicate, making it prone to fine lines, puffiness, and dark circles. If you hate the idea of dropping big bucks on expensive eye cream, then sub in coconut oil. Just rub a pinch in between fingers to warm it up before patting it underneath your eyes.

    10. Frizz fighter
    Rub a pea size amount of coconut oil between your fingers to warm it up, and then apply it to the bottom couple inches of your hair for all day frizz protection. If you have thicker, coarser hair, apply the coconut oil from mid-shaft to ends for added frizz control. Bonus: It also leaves hair extra shiny and soft!

    11. Makeup remover
    Just a teaspoon (or less) can take off a day’s worth of makeup with ease, no matter the staying power.
    Massage a dollop of warmed, liquified coconut oil straight onto skin and watch as makeup melts away, then rinse with warm water.

    12. Shaving cream
    Ran out of shaving cream? Coconut oil to the rescue! Just warm the jar under the water and smooth onto legs before shaving. Your razor will glide smoothly, allowing for a super-close shave, and your legs will be moisturized from the oil in the process.

    Lastly, just because we think there are some health benefits doesn’t mean you can use a whole jar of coconut oil to cook.  Key is moderation and do not lose sight of portion control.

     

     

     

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  • 14Mar

    As I was enjoying my packet of fresh coconut meat after gulping down the coconut water just now, I was wondering whether coconut meat/flesh is an empty calorie food or otherwise .  I have heard and read so much on the health benefits of extra virgin coconut oil, which is now touted as a super food.   In the past, coconut oil and coconut meat had been reputed as a ‘bad food’.  But in recent years,  there has been so much hype on the myriad of health benefits of  coconut oil and coconut products.

     

    Spooning

     

    Coconut is one of those foods that seems to ping-pong between the ‘good food’ and ‘bad food’ list.  Coconut and the products derived from it like coconut meat have been for years wrongly deemed as an unhealthy type of food because of its long known high saturated fat content. However, a growing body of recent studies have shown that the type of fats present in coconut meat are in fact medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). When you eat coconut meat, the MCTs it contains are transported from the intestinal tract to the liver and immediately transformed into fuel. This then means there is very little MCTs left to circulate and deposit in fat tissues in the body

    Meat from young coconuts or (a.k.a green coconuts) is very creamy and gelatinous. It looks and feels like jelly because you can eat it with a spoon. This is the type that is often fed to babies as they are weaned from their mothers’ breast. Young coconut meat spoils more quickly than mature meat. This is why it’s rare to find it outside of tropical locales. However, for those of you living in the States, they can be found in some stores during the summer months.

    Meat from mature coconuts is white, much harder and has a slightly sweet and nutty taste. As the coconut matures, the quantity of oil in the meat increases too.   Mature meat has high levels of fiber and oil which help it function like a probiotic. Probiotics are very beneficial for the digestive system because they feed the good bacteria in the intestines.

    Fresh meat from coconuts is considered a functional food. By eating it you accomplish two important things for your body. You feed the body a high quality food source.   It functions in specific ways once inside the body (i.e. feeds the good bacteria in the intestines).

    A few of the health benefits that can result by consuming fresh meat consistently are:

    • It helps to regulate digestion and elimination.
    • It assists in weight loss.
    • It’s a powerful germ fighter.

    Almost half the weight of fresh meat comes from water. It also contains less sugar than meat from other fruits like oranges or apples.

    The mineral levels of iron, phosphorous and zinc are high.
    While coconuts and coconut liquids are full of saturated fats, not all of it is bad for you. Much of the saturated fat content is lauric acid. This beneficial saturated fat can actually help boost your high-density lipoprotein, the “good” cholesterol that reduces your risk of heart disease. HDL cholesterol tends to bring LDL molecule levels down, by transporting them to your liver for deconstruction and removal. But the maximum amount of lauric acid from coconuts you can have before it stops being beneficial is unknown, the Harvard School of Public Health warns. Because too much saturated fat in general is harmful for heart health, don’t go overboard on your servings of coconut products.

    So once again, the rule is take everything in moderation! 🙂

     

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  • 23Mar

    Of late, there has been so much hype on the health benefits of coconut oil. The other day, a friend gave us a bottle of expensive pure coconut oil and my mil used it for the first time to stir-fry some green leafy veggie (the leaves of sweet potato to be exact). For someone who is nuts over coconuts, I was really surprised that my first bite onto the veggie stir-fried with coconut oil made my tummy churn! The taste of the nutty oil was overpowering and it just did not go well with the sweet potato leaves veggie. Since it was only my first try, I guess I would require  lots of exposure to coconut oil in order for me to acquire the taste. Coming from someone who can never get enough of coconut water and coconut meat, I was puzzled that I found the smell of the coconut oil too strong and pungent for my liking. If I could gulp down a cup of fresh coconut milk and then have freshly grated coconut meat sandwich for breakfast, why do I find the taste of coconut oil so revolting?

    Never mind about how chockfull of nutrients and beneficial coconut oil is,  everyone else in the family just cannot tolerate food cooked with coconut oil.

    Food For Thought:

    Conventional thought used to consider fats like coconut oil to be unhealthy and contribute to heart disease. We now know that this isn’t true. In fact, coconut oil is actually a heart healthy food that can keep your body running smoother in a few different ways.

    What are the health benefits of coconut oil?
    Studies have show that intake of coconut oil can help our bodies mount resistance to both viruses and bacteria that can cause illness. Even more, it also can help to fight off yeast, fungus and candida.

    Coconut oil can also positively affect our hormones for thyroid and blood sugar control. People who take coconut oil also tend to have improvements in how they handle blood sugar since coconut can help improve insulin use within the body. Coconut oil can boost thyroid function helping to increase metabolism, energy and endurance. It increases digestion and helps to absorb fat-soluble vitamins.

    Can coconut oil reduce cholesterol?
    Coconut oil has a saturated fat called lauric acid, a type of MCT. It has been shown that lauric acid increases the good HDL cholesterol in the blood to help improve cholesterol ratio levels. Coconut oil lowers cholesterol by promoting its conversion to pregnenolone, a molecule that is a precursor to many of the hormones our bodies need. Coconut can help restore normal thyroid function. When the thyroid does not function optimally, it can contribute to higher levels of bad cholesterol.

    How does coconut help keep weight balanced?
    Coconut fats have special fats called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). It has been shown that breaking down these types of healthy fats in the liver leads to efficient burning of energy. One 2009 study found that women who consumed 30 milliliters (about 2 tablespoons) of coconut oil daily for 12 weeks not only did not gain more weight, but actually had lowered amounts of abdominal fat, a type of fat that is difficult to lose, and contributes to more heart problems.

    Is it true coconut can help with aging?
    The oils found in the coconut have a positive antioxidant action in the body. This means they help our body stop the damage to other healthy fats and tissues in our body. Oxidation is considered a major contributor to cardiovascular problems and skin aging. Coconut oil can actually help our bodies reduce the need for antioxidant intake.

    Is coconut oil good for my skin and hair?
    We tell our patients that from the time of infancy through the senior years, coconut oil is a wonderful moisturizer for skin and hair. It has good amounts of the antioxidant vitamin E, which is very protective. If you are using on the skin regularly, it is best to try to find an organic coconut oil, to reduce the absorption of toxins and pesticides through your skin.

    We even recommend new parents massage infants with coconut oil after a bath. One 2005 study of 120 babies showed that a coconut oil massage is safe and has health benefits.

    How can I use coconut oil?
    Coconut oil works in both baked goods like zucchini and banana bread and with vegetables. It is especially tasteful when paired with bitter greens like kale. You can use it as part of the onion and garlic sauté, where it offers a surprisingly different and pleasant full-bodied taste. It is also a wonderful addition to oatmeal to make it even creamier, while staying healthy.

    Coconut oil can withstand the heat – making it a better cooking option.

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About Me

I am a WFHM with 3 beautiful girls - Alycia, Sherilyn and Cassandra. I quit the job that I love to stay home with my 3 angels as that's what I've always wanted to do. I am a health freak, fitness freak and a clean freak too. I love to eat and live healthily and I want my kids and hubby to do the same too. Apart from being obsessed with good health, I am obsessed with fashion! I own an online store that sells ladies and kids clothing. Check out my online store at Old & New Stuff For Sale

I always believe that your health is your wealth and if you have good health, that's the best gift you can ever ask for from God.

Do check out my other blogs Health Freak Mommy and Health Freak Mommy’s Journal too!

I have been writing product reviews, food reviews / restaurant reviews and product advertorials since 2007. Please email Shireen at shireenyong@gmail.com to inquire if you are interested to place an advertorial or review in this blog.

Thank you!

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