For years coconut oil got a bad rap due to its high saturated fat content. Research shows, however, that coconut's saturated fat is primarily comprised of medium-chain fatty acids, which are quickly digested for fuel rather than stored as body fat. In fact, it can actually boost your metabolism!
Healthy, Healing Benefits
Coconut oil and coconut butter have an abundance of healthy, healing benefits including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Many cultures worldwide have used them as medicine for centuries.
Consuming coconut oil and coconut butter can:
- Increase metabolism, energy and endurance
- Reduce heart disease risk and improve cholesterol
- Support thyroid function
- Strengthen the immune system
- Prevent bacterial, viral and fungal infections
- Improve digestion (e.g., IBS) and nutrient absorption
- Help control diabetes
- Rejuvenate skin and slow aging
- And much more
Endless Ways to Enjoy
Stable at high temperatures, coconut oil is great for cooking and baking (organic cold-pressed virgin oil is best). I also dig the sweet, creamy taste of coconut butter, which is made from whole coconut flesh pureed into a spread.
You can use coconut butter just as you would an animal or nut butter (it's great for those with a dairy or nut intolerance). Spread it on toast, scones, crackers or sliced fruit. Add it to smoothies, roasted squash, soup or hot cereal. Mix it with fresh fruit, cacao nibs or dark chocolate for a decadent dessert. Or just savor a spoonful straight from the jar!
Go for Homemade
You can buy coconut butter at your local health food store or online. However, it's cheaper to make your own and it whips up in just 10 minutes. Plus, it makes a great gift.
Here's a yummy recipe infused with the aromatic flavors of sweet cinnamon and rich vanilla.
Raw Coconut Butter
- 3 to 4 cups shredded unsweetened raw coconut
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Note: Do not use low-fat, sweetened or processed coconut. Organic is best.
Using a food processor, blend coconut for 8 to 10 minutes or until it starts to form a smooth paste. Stop the processor occasionally and scrape down the sides with a spatula. At first it will appear that nothing is happening, but the consistency will eventually change.
Add cinnamon and vanilla and continue blending until smooth. It will have the creamy consistency of nut butter.
Store in a glass jar in the cupboard. Do not refrigerate.
The butter will harden in cooler temperatures. Soften it by setting the jar in a bowl of warm water, or placing it on a warm stovetop. The oil may separate over time. Just mix it well before using.
Recipe from The Naked Foods Cookbook.