Coconut oil may be one of the most misunderstood oils around. For years, we were cautioned against using it because of its high saturated fat content, but it turns out that the type of saturated fat in coconut oil actually is good for us. Coconut oil is primarily composed of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTS), which don't contribute to heart disease the way that long-chain triglycerides (LCTS) do think beef fat). Here are some of the ways coconut oil can help…

  • Weight management. Before European colonization, people from the tropical coastal areas of the Pacific were not overweight despite a diet rich in coconut. A study published in Lipids found that coconut oil supplementation reduced waist circumference and did not raise total cholesterol levels as did soybean oil supplementation.
  • Immune boost. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, a powerful anti-microbial that combats infections from both fungi and viruses. It also helps to combat pathogens in the digestive tract.
  • Skin conditions. Studies have shown that coconut oil can reduce the symptoms of dermatitis and dry skin--and it can help with psoriasis and eczema.

How to use it: Coconut oil can be substituted for most other oils. Look for virgin or extra-virgin coconut oil that is not processed with chemicals and contains no trans fat. Spread it on crackers ...use it in stir-fries or to sauté...or substitute it for butter or shortening in baking. Place it in a tub of warm water to liquefy it and drizzle it over salads. You can add it when cooking rice or pasta. It has a mild coconut flavor. You also can rub it into your skin to relieve dryness.

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