Superfood Spotlight #2: Coconut!

This next superfood is one that is near and dear to my heart….coconut!

Prior to making the transition to real food I wasn’t including much coconut in my diet (although it was my favorite frozen yogurt flavor at Yogurtland- my addiction for years, wow I'm glad those days are behind me).

Now I cannot imagine living without it and incorporate it daily. 

There are countless variations of coconut products- coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut flour, coconut chips, shredded coconut, coconut flakes, and the list goes on and on. 

What are some of the benefits to coconut? It’s high in fiber, naturally sweet but low-carb, gluten & grain-free and super versatile- it goes great with both sweet and savory dishes. 

The powerhouse of the pack is surely coconut oil.

If you’re not currently cooking with coconut oil- I urge you to run out the store today and pick yourself up a jar! A tip for those who aren’t fans of the coconut flavor- you can purchase the refined variation that will yield a far less coconuty flavor. 

So why is coconut oil so GREAT?

Firstly it’s great for medium to high heat cooking due to it’s saturated fat content which means it’s stable and far less likely to break down & oxidize when exposed to air, light and heat. (1)

Unlike it’s counterpart canola oil…a highly processed and inflammatory oil that I recommend tossing immediately if you have a bottle in your cupboard. And while you’re at it, ditch any “vegetable oils” you have hanging around in clear, plastic jars- they’re damaged and can wreak major havoc on your system by causing inflammation (the root of disease & dis-ease!) Swap those- for coconut oil!

Coconut oil is great when you’re roasting veggies, sautéing greens or ground meat, for a fat source in smoothies, atop sweet potatoes & squash, baking and so much more. 

The unique quality of coconut oil over other healthy fats is that it contains MCT’s which stands for medium chain triglycerides. MCT’s are beneficial for fat burning and metabolism! This is why you may have heard of MCT oil being used in bulletproof coffee. You’ll reap quick mental energy from them as well. Due to the health benefits, this is one of the many reasons I recommend my clients include coconut oil in the morning- not only will you be satisfied, but you’ll rev up your metabolism and have sustained energy for hours. Who wouldn't want that!?

Another great quality of coconut oil is that it’s anti-bacteria and anti-fungal. So if you’re sick or looking to boost your immunity, make sure to up your coconut oil consumption.

And don’t forget coconut oil is also great for hair, skin and nails. This is why you’ll often see personal care products containing coconut oil- or DIY toothpastes, deodorants and body lotions with coconut oil as well. 

Unless you’re not in favor of the coconut taste like I alluded to above, purchase “organic” and “unrefined” coconut oil- you can find it anywhere these days, even target! 

What are my other favorite coconut uses? I always have coconut flour on hand and use it quite often especially in my protein bowl cake and paleo pancakes recipes!

It’s fibrous, dense & absorbent so a little goes a long way (make sure you’re aware you can’t sub coconut flour 1:1 for regular flour- whoops!) I recommend keeping a bag of coconut flour in the house, and it’s very reasonably priced too!

Coconut milk is a great option for a coffee creamer substitute or as the base of a smoothie and full-fat coconut milk (the kind found in a can) is awesome for savory cooking (like currys & soups) and baking!

I also keep coconut flakes or shredded coconut around for topping smoothie bowls, to eat with a handful of berries or to simply snack on right from the bag. Since they’re high in healthy fat they’re a great filling snack. I’ll usually pick these up from the bulk section of whole foods!

So tell me, what’s your favorite coconut products? Are you cooking with coconut oil, baking with coconut flour or snacking on actual coconut?? If so I want to hear! Comment below :)