Often confused as a nut, coconut is a fruit that can be used for a range of functions. With so many benefits and uses, you should have at least one coconut product in your house. If you are thinking about purchasing coconut oil, it is essential you use organic unrefined coconut oil as this is extracted from the fresh meat rather than dried coconut. This method of collecting the oil from the fruit ensures all vitamins and antioxidants are preserved.
If you choose refined coconut oil, it has a high smoke point which is helpful for cooking but it has very little flavour. These coconut oils are mass-produced and use desiccated coconut instead of fresh. Then the oil is bleached and made flavourless to make it more conventional, but doing so turns the natural oil into an unhealthy trans fat. Avoiding refined coconut oils is a must and instead, buy organic unrefined coconut oil.
The obvious use for coconut oil is cooking, this type of oil is much healthier for you than vegetable oil as these can often be processed at high heats causing the oil to contain long chain fatty acids.
Below is a list of things you can use coconut oil for
- Add a tablespoon to smoothies
- Skin moisturiser
- Hair conditioner/oil
- Makeup remover
- Lip balm
- Shaving oil
- Insect repellent
- Nail cuticle oil
- Removes gum from hair or furniture
- Furniture polish
Like most plant-based oil, coconut oil does not contain cholesterol, instead, it contains medium chain triglycerides which have very good health benefits. These types of fatty acids are great a source of energy and the body can burn it much easier than other fatty acids. In addition to this, coconut oil also has many medicinal uses such as fighting inflammation, boosting immunity, clearing acne, aiding weightless and digestive support.
Pressing Coconut Oil at Home
If you are feeling adventurous you can always make your own oils in the comfort of your own home with the Counter Intelligence Oilpresso. This oil press will enable you to create natural cold pressed oils with low temperatures, which preserves the nutrition and fats a lot better than commercial oils.
Other Coconut Products
Coconut Water & Coconut Milk
Coconut water is produced in the centre of the fruit and this liquid helps nourish the coconut meat. Coconut water shouldn't be confused with coconut milk as this is made with hot water and shredded coconut meat which contains a high amount of fat. However, coconut water is low in calories and has a great source of minerals, vitamin C, antioxidants and fibre.
If you're wanting a drink to quickly restore hydration then coconut water can replenish electrolytes, which are usually lost when we exercise. Electrolytes are minerals which include, sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. These are all electrolytes that help the body maintain a good fluid balance, all of which are in coconut water. It's also not bad for a quick hangover fix!
Even though coconut milk has a high-fat content it can still be used as a great dairy substitute, however, the coconut in the UK is canned, which means a lot of nutrients is lost due to this process.
Coconut flour is a great healthy way to add a delicious flavour to your baked goods. Not only is it tasty but it's packed with fibre and is great for anyone who has diabetes or a gluten intolerant. The coconut flour lowers the glycemic index (the rate that food increases your blood sugar) in your baked goods. Coconut flour is just dried coconut meat grounded into a flour, which means it's great for anyone with a nut allergy.