So, what’s the skinny on coconut oil? Whether you’ve been paging through health magazines or cruising Pinterest, chances are good that you’re seeing more about coconut oil usage. Well, if you want to start using this oil in your menu planning, you’ve come to the right place because we’re sharing 6 kitchen techniques to use coconut oil.
For many years, health experts largely believed that this ingredient was bad for the body, likely contributing to an increased risk of heart disease. It’s believed that many of those older ideas were based on studies that used partially hydrogenated coconut oil, which would have contained highly unhealthy trans fats. Now, we know differently. It turns out that virgin coconut oil—product that has not been hydrogenated—may be a smart choice for people who want a clean-eating ingredient that has the potential for several health benefits.
Researchers are still investigating the benefits of coconut oil usage, but some of their findings have been promising. For example, coconut oil contains a particular type of saturated fat called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). This fat is metabolized quickly, so there is less time for the body to transform it into fat cells. At least one study also found that women who consumed about 2 tablespoons of coconut oil every day for 12 weeks had reduced their levels of abdominal fat, which is linked to heart disease. (Learn how to Lose Weight with Coconut Oil.) Coconut oil usage may also provide antioxidants that reduce the cell damage that leads to visible aging.
When you want to make food with coconut oil, it’s super important to choose the healthiest products. Reach for oil that has not been hydrogenated or refined. Oil that’s been refined is often processed with harsh solvents. Instead, get the best coconut oil for your health by reaching for brands labeled “virgin” or “extra-virgin.”
6 Kitchen Techniques to Use Coconut Oil:
1. Replace solid fats in baking. At Skinny Ms., we’ve been using unrefined coconut oil in our baking recipes, including Blueberry Lemon Scones and Zucchini Bread. Typically, you can substitute the oil for butter, shortening, or other fats using a 1:1 ratio. If the recipe calls for solid butter, use solid coconut oil. If the recipe calls for melted butter or liquid fat, melt the coconut oil in the microwave or on the stove before using.
2. Top popcorn. Healthy snacks help you avoid the cravings that lead to chip bags and cookie containers. Make a positive choice to snack healthy by making air-popped popcorn, and then drizzle a little coconut oil over the top.
3. Use as a dairy-free replacement for butter. If you can’t or don’t want to use butter to spread over bread, fry an egg, or whip up grilled cheese, reach for coconut oil instead.
4. Sauté food with coconut oil. Next time you stir-fry or sauté veggies, cook them with a little coconut oil instead of vegetable oil.
5. Drizzle it on food. Liven up a chicken breast or even lobster by topping it with a small amount of coconut oil. It’s also tasty over veggies.
6. Sass up your salad. When you need to know how to use coconut oil in your menus, simply reach for a batch of this homemade, coconut oil-based Basic Salad Dressing Recipe.
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