While some people try to stay away from foods that are high in fat, there are many foods that contain healthy fats. These fats are actually necessary for optimal bodily functions. Coconut milk, coconut oil and other coconut products fall under the category as “healthy fats.” However, make sure to buy the whole milk variety with no additives or sugars in it.
The benefits of coconut products:
- Provides calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iodine and many trace minerals.
- The coconut contains up to 60 percent fat and this fat is 92 percent saturated. But this is no reason to avoid coconut products. The principle fatty acid in coconut milk, lauric acid, is a medium-chain 12-carbon saturated fatty acid that has potent antiviral, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties.
- Protects us against viruses, yeasts, parasites and other pathogens in the gut.
- In vitro it will inactivate the HIV virus as well as the measles virus, herpes simplex virus-1, vesicular stomatitis virus, visna virus and cytomegalovirus.
- Coconut oil is our best source of lauric acid and is now being used to treat both AIDS and candida because of its antipathogenic effects in the gut.
- When absorbed, the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil give quick energy.
- Because coconut oil is so highly saturated, it is highly resistant to rancidity.
- The medium-chain fatty acids strengthen the immune system. Perhaps this is the reason that Thailand, where coconut holds prominent place in the national cuisine, has the lowest cancer rate of the fifty countries surveyed by the National Cancer Institute.
Uses of coconut products:
Coconut oil: Use coconut oil in cookie recipes and other baked goods in replace of other oils or butter. It can be used for sauteing as long as the temperatures are not too high. Buy only food grade coconut oil that has not been hydrogenated. The highest quality tastes like coconut. It is white semisolid in cool weather and creamy-colored oil in hot weather. Use in salad dressings, on toast instead of butter, in hot cereal, or even stir it into your tea or hot drinks.
Creamed coconut: “Artisana” makes a brand of coconut butter that is delicious. Look for it is your local health food store. Also try the refrigerated section of Asian and Indian markets. Creamed coconut is made of finely ground coconut meat with all of its valuable oil. Use in broth, soups, sauces, curries or just spread on toast for a treat. Mix with raw cocoa and agave nectar to make a very yummy dessert.
Canned whole coconut milk: Look for brands with no additives and buy whole coconut milk. Add to broth, soups, curries, sauces, smoothies, and other blended drinks or drizzle on fruit salad for a treat. Also use part coconut milk when making rice to make coconut rice.
Desiccated coconut meat: Buy unsweetened desiccated coconut meat instead of sweetened shredded coconut which is loaded with sugar and not good for you. Use to make cookies, desserts or top on fruit or cereal.
Resource: Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon