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The hairy hunk we’re all lusting after: Coconuts – the new superfood

Published on February 21, 2014,

The Mail Online recently carried an article in praise of a food much loved in low-carb high fat circles – the coconut… 

Image courtesy of zole4 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of zole4 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

…It has been said that if you were marooned on a desert island, a coconut would be all you need for survival. ‘Coconuts are a perfect example of a natural, real food,’ says nutritionist Zoë Harcombe. ‘They contain all the macronutrients – carbohydrate, fat and protein. As well as being absolutely delicious and full of natural fat, coconuts are a rich source of minerals, including copper, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and selenium.’

Coconut oil first caught our attention back in 2008 when Jennifer Aniston was spotted wheeling a supermarket trolley full of the then little used substance. Despite boasting a saturated-fat content of 87 per cent, it is actually said to aid weight loss: ‘Many models add it to their diet because it helps to metabolise fat, meaning that you burn more calories,’ says celebrity trainer and founder of Bodyism James Duigan.

Sarah Wilson, author of the bestselling I Quit Sugar, explains: ‘Coconut oil contains short- and medium-chain saturated fat. But it is good saturated fat – it’s the artificially adjusted trans fats you want to avoid, such as hydrogenated vegetable oil. Coconut oil is mostly made up of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), which produce a whole host of health benefits. MCFAs go directly to your liver, where they are immediately converted into energy, rather than being stored as fat, and help to stimulate your body’s metabolism.

They also increase the activity of the thyroid, leading to weight loss.’ A bonus is that while being naturally sweet, coconut oil contains no fructose – a simple sugar quickly absorbed by the body resulting in an instant sugar rush, currently demonised by health experts.

Opt for coconut oil when cooking and baking in place of butter (it is one of the few oils that remain ‘healthy’ and do not oxidise when heated). James Duigan recommends taking four teaspoons of coconut oil every day, adding it to smoothies or tea. Sarah Wilson eats hers straight from the jar: ‘It fills me up immediately and kills my sugar cravings.’

Coconut oil is also rich in lauric acid, a saturated fat that enhances the immune system through its antiviral and antibacterial effects, so can be used to ease skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis when applied directly; those who suffer from yeast infections or thrush may benefit from a more coconut-rich diet because of its antibacterial qualities. And as author of Grain Brain Dr David Perlmutter says, ‘It is also a superfood for the brain, reducing inflammation and stimulating the growth of new brain cells.’

…But what about coconut itself? … ‘It has an excellent ratio of fats to protein, providing long-lasting, slow-release energy that will get you through to dinner time,’ says nutritionist Petronella Ravenshear.

Like coconut oil, coconut milk and cream (always opt for unsweetened versions) are high in saturated fat at about 16 per cent but can prove a lifesaver for those who don’t eat dairy, and will make dishes deliciously creamy. ‘We’ve got used to the idea that for food to be good for us it’s got to taste horrible, but coconut does the double duty of tasting good and being nutritious,’ says Petronella.

So the unassuming coconut is now taking its rightful place as the darling of the foodie brigade. ‘I love coconut in any shape or size,’ says wellbeing expert Calgary Avansino. ‘Don’t be put off by its richness; it’s 100 per cent healthy.’ They may not be much to look at, but coconuts are your best food friends. So work these hairy wonders into your diet and reap the health benefits – if you can manage to crack them open, that is.

More at: The hairy hunk we’re all lusting after: Coconuts – the new superfood

Low Carb Paleo Coconut Pancakes

Published on October 4, 2013,

Regular pancakes – made with sugar and flour – are one of those items that most of us would have to sacrifice on a low carb diet but here’s a fabulous alternative version made with coconut flour, cream cheese and a pinch of stevia from Laura at Fit Chick’s Kitchen…

Coconut Pancakes - www.fitchickskitchen.wordpress.com

Coconut Pancakes – www.fitchickskitchen.wordpress.com

INGREDIENTS

3 eggs, separated
1 tbsp coconut oil (or butter or ghee), melted
2 tbsp cream cheese
pinch of stevia
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp coconut flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

In a bowl with egg yolks, add remaining ingredients.
Using a hand mixer, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form.
Mix egg yolk mixture combines and no lumps.
Fold in egg whites.
Warm oiled skillet on medium low heat.
Pour battre into pan. I made 2 large pancakes. You could also make 4 smaller ones if desired.
Top with your favourite toppings.
*I like Greek yogurt and peaches. :)

Makes 2 large pancakes

Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 2
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 237.4
  • Total Fat: 18.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 296.5 mg
  • Sodium: 335.2 mg
  • Total Carbs: 8.9 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 5.5 g
  • Protein: 10.6 g

More at:  Coconut Pancakes

See loads more great low carb and paleo recipes at Fit Chick's Kitchen 150

Paleo Guide to Coconut Oil and Its Benefits From Luscious Hair to a Healthier Heart

Published on September 11, 2013,

Coconut oil is a product that defies all expectations – it’s very high in saturated fat, and yet it’s also credited with a long list of  health benefits ranging from more better skin and more luscious hair to a healthier heart - and that’s why this apparently near-miracle oil is so popular among Paleo dieters. This is from PaleoDietPlusPlus.com…

paleo-guide-to-coconut-oil-3If you’re still not convinced about all the wonderful benefits that coconut oil can provide, then read on. I’ll discuss everything you need to know about it—from its nutritional makeup to how it can keep you looking and feeling great.

A Nutritional Overview of Coconut Oil

Coconuts have long been prized for their sweet flesh and tasty juice; however, the oil from a coconut is arguably the healthiest component of the entire fruit. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature and has been found to have amazing antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. It’s also known to be a natural and powerful antioxidant.

Lauric acid is tied to the health of our immune system, and coconut oil contains tons of the stuff. Our bodies convert this fatty acid into monolaurin which is then used to stave off disease and bacterial infection. This means that if you’re suffering from anything from the flu to intestinal parasites, then try adding a little coconut oil into your diet. The medical benefits of this fantastic substance are so powerful that humans have been using it to treat illness for thousands of years before we even knew what lauric acid was!

Many people are put off by coconut oil’s 90% saturated fat content. This is a perfectly understandable concern to the uninitiated; however, it’s important to realize that dealing with a food that’s naturally high in fat is not the same as dealing with processed foods that have been pumped full of extra fat. For one, almost half of coconut oil’s saturated fats are lauric acid, and as you’ll recall, this stuff is just too good to pass up since it works wonders for your immune system. Plus, the saturated fats in coconut oil are classified as “medium chain tryglycerides.” Without getting into a lot of detail, this simply means that these fats are broken down and used as energy much more quickly than other kinds of fat, so there’s less chance for your body to convert coconut oil into excess fat stores.

While it should now be obvious that coconut oil has lots of nutritional benefits to offer your body, always keep in mind that moderation is key. Even good saturated fats, like those found in coconut oil, should be limited to no more than the daily recommended 20 grams.

What Can Coconut Oil Do for You?

It would probably take an entire book to describe all the fantastic benefits of coconut oil, but here are a few of the most common reasons people decide to include it in their lives.

Hair Care

Coconut oil is one of the best all-natural ways to give your hair a sleek and shiny look. The nutrients it provides ensure that you’re not losing protein, which is one of the main reasons that people experience dull or unflattering hair.

The best way to experience these great benefits is to gently massage coconut oil into your scalp daily after showering or bathing. Incorporating the oil into your cookingwill help your hair as well but not as much as the direct topical application of it.

Heart Disease

It may seem counter intuitive that a food product so high in saturated fat could do anything to benefit your heart, but it’s true! The saturated fat you find in coconut oilis actually part of the family of fatty acids that helps to increase your good (HDL) cholesterol while ensure that your bad (LDL) cholesterol stays in check.

Healthy Skin

When applied topically, coconut oil is a fantastic way to keep your skin hydrated and healthy, so if yours is dry or flaky, this is a natural way to keep it looking great. Often times, people will use this as a safer alternative to mineral oil skin treatments, since it can often cause unwanted side effects. Coconut oil has also shown promise in fighting wrinkles and other signs of aging (like saggy skin) as well as more serious skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis.

Weight Loss

Coconut oil can sometimes seem like a paradox—especially since this high-fat food is a great way to help keep your weight under control. However, the fatty acids in it are burned off as energy very quickly, and this means that they don’t have time to be converted into abdominal fat stores. This quick-burning energy also gives your metabolism a boost, so that your body can eliminate fat even more quickly!

As with all good things, too much coconut oil in your diet can be harmful to your health. Yes, the fats it contains are of the healthy variety, but even those should be limited and make up only a relatively small percent of your diet.

What Kind of Coconut Oil Is Right For You?

There are currently three popular kinds of coconut oil on the market, and each one has its own particular benefits, depending on what you’re going to be using it for.  Use this list to help you determine which type is right for you and your own situation.

  • Pure Coconut Oil: This type of oil is extracted from the dried meat of a coconut and contains no other additives. It is the oldest and most common form of coconut oil, and is typically used for hair and skin health.
  • Virgin Coconut Oil: This oil is derived from the milk of the coconut and not the flesh. It’s extracted at a very low temperature to ensure that it contains the highest levels of medium chain tryglycerides possible. Virgin coconut oil is best used for weight loss.
  • Refined Coconut Oil: This coconut oil has been chemically refined, bleached, and deodorized. This type of oil is perfect for all-purpose cooking, but it does not have nearly as much nutritional value as virgin coconut oil.

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Paleo Guide to Vegetable Oils

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More at:  Paleo Guide to Coconut Oil

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