Crazy for Coconuts
Coconut oil, as I mentioned in Monday’s article, has a myriad of health and practicality benefits, including a natural resistance to oxidation at high temperatures and the unique ability to eliminate harmful bacterial and fungal growth in your digestive system. Unfortunately, even though we have known about coconut oil for years, its healthy qualities and beneficial uses have been neglected due to the saturated fat label it has been tied to.
As research on the health impacts of different fats progresses though, we are discovering that the level of saturation is not the only factor to consider. Coconut oil, unlike the vast majority of other fats that are long chains of fatty acids, is composed of medium length chains of fatty acids. This is a crucial distinguishing factor because the body responds and metabolizes fats (fatty acid chains) differently depending on size.
While long chain fatty acids (on average 90% of the fats we eat) require longer and more intensive digestion processes and are less soluble within the body, medium chain fatty acids are more water soluble, require less energy for breakdown, are more rapidly diffused from the small intestine into the bloodstream where they are quickly metabolized instead of being deposited as fat and supply more rapid energy for the body. Coconut oil, because of its’ medium chain fatty acid composition, is not linked to high cholesterol levels and heart disease like other saturated fats have been.
Coconut oil, just in case you are not yet convinced to give it a try, can:
- Help kill fungi, yeast, bad bacteria, parasites and infections
- Boost energy and endurance levels without packing on fat stores
- Improve the body’s sugar management system
- Improve the absorption of vitamins and minerals
- Improve digestion
- Reduce inflammation
- Function as a free radical fighting antioxidant
- Relieve stress on the liver and kidney function
- Help weight management and weight loss regimens
- Improve skin health and reduce signs of aging when applied topically
Get more coconut oil in your diet by using it as your everyday oil in cooking as well as fresh preparations. I suggest buying organic virgin coconut oil in order to get the most health benefits, more sustainable source and least processed product. Wilderness Family Naturals is my favorite coconut oil source.
The vibrant pink stalks of fresh spring rhubarb I received in my farm box this week provided the perfect excuse for some time spent in the kitchen developing new recipes for tempting and deceptively healthy baked goods made with coconut oil.
Coconut Rhubarb Bread
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/3 cup coconut oil
½ cup coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon, plus ½ tsp topping
1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
1 cup fresh rhubarb, diced
½ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan and set aside. Combine the sugar, coconut oil, egg, coconut milk, vanilla and salt. Whisk until smooth and well combined (in a standing mixer or by hand). In a separate bowl combine the baking soda, cinnamon and flour. Whisk until combined. Toss chopped rhubarb in flour mixture until coated. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and mix until just combined. Fold in the chopped walnuts. Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean. Cool before turning bread out of pan. Enjoy and keep wrapped tightly at room temperature to preserve freshness.