My recent obsession with coconut oil

I baked blueberry muffins for the gathering we had at Kallang Riverside Park with our batchmates and I’ve received some good feedback! I had initially thought of bringing “soft-yolk eggs” but…. that’s boring! My other excuse is because I’ve recently caught the baking bug!

 

blueberry muffin with coconut oil

blueberry muffin with coconut oil as fat substitute!

 

Anyway, the blueberry muffins, had healthier fat substitutes – instead of using butter, the recipe called for coconut oil instead!

Coconut oil is actually the oil extracted from the coco-nut. It actually comes in a white solid form if room temperature is below 24 deg C. But in sunny Singapore, it is rarely the case. Coconut oil becomes a clear liquid once it melts.

So, do you know the benefits of coconut oil? Apparently you can use it for EVERYTHING. From rubbing it on your skin and hair, you can even use it as a light deodorant, eat it and use it to wash your face with. Yes you read it right, WASH YOUR FACE IN COCONUT OIL!  I’ve read so many articles online, telling us about the 100 uses of coconut oil etc. and I’ve read some pretty bizarre ones!

People use coconut oil for a wide and large variety of things because, coconut oil does have wonderful properties. There are a gazillion articles on it out there on the interwebs, but after reading a number of the articles myself and asking around people who actually use it, I personally think that it’s great because:-

1. Coconut oil has more of the good fatty acids – medium chain tryglycerides (“MCTs”) which are easier to absorb or digest than long chain fatty acids (“LCFA”) which strain your digestive system more. LCFAs are also stored as fat in your body (harder to reach to burn as energy) whereas MCTs stored in your liver and is an easier to reach to burn as energy (this is linked to 2 below).

2. Coconut oil can help you lose weight (WHAT!) – the medium chain tryglycerides help to boost metabolism and reduces appetite (because of some scientific process where metabolising the MCTs gives you “ketones” which in turn, control appetite).

3. Coconut oil is antibacterial/antiviral – because of the lauric acid (which is approximately 50%) can kill various bacterial and viruses e.g. it can help prevent yeast infections!

4. IT Smells wonderful!!!

I have a friend who had started her own skincare business, making home-made skincare products (see www.ilovekatfood.com), where all if not most of her products have coconut oil in it. Not only are they delicious SMELLING, they actually ARE edible if you really wanted to chomp down on your lipbalm sticks (which I might or might not have tried myself (*ahem*)). The coconut oil in it would be really nourishing for your skin, hair and nails and would also be good for your body inside!!!

So… people who ate my muffins last Sunday, now you know about an ingredient that went in your muffin, and it has properties in it that are good for you!!!

But well, what’s the catch, you ask? There is always a catch – well, coconut oil is still a processed fat (i.e. extracted from the coconut) and is a saturated fat, which should be consumed in moderation. Even if you wanted to go on a diet to lose weight, I strongly advise against the consumption of large quantities of coconut oil alone. It is still a fat! Just remember your body will always still need the good old balanced diet of carbs, proteins, fats and fibre and vitamins, and the best sources of this is still through the consumption of a variety of whole foods.

If you do want to give coconut oil a go though, some general tips: look out for the non-hydrogenated options (no hydrogen added to solidify it) and the “virgin” and “pure” or “unrefined” coconut oil options. This means they are less chemically processed and more “whole” and generally better for you!

XOXO, Mel. (200hr weekend)