Ron Burgundy isn’t the only thing making a comeback this year. Coconut oil is back in the spotlight too. For a long time, coconut oil has been cursed with a bad reputation (its high saturated fat content made it a victim of the low-fat craze), but recently its image has improved.
So why the shift? Simply put, not all saturated fats have the same impact on our bodies. While some, like those found in red meat and dairy, can have a negative impact on your cholesterol levels and heart health, researchers have found that the saturated fats in coconut oil don’t do the same damage.
In fact, it’s the healthy fats in coconut oil that are now giving it a wholesome reputation. It’s been shown to:
- Fight off viruses and bacteria
- Lower cholesterol, increase energy and improve digestion
- Reduce abdominal fat and hunger
- Moisturize your skin and hair when applied directly to it
If you’ve never used coconut oil before, you should know that there are two types. Virgin coconut oil tastes and smells like actual coconut, offers loads of antioxidants and is great for baking. If coconut is not your flavor-of-choice, try refined or expeller-pressed coconut oil, which is perfect for higher-heat cooking on the stove. At room temperature, coconut oil is a solid, so you’ll need to melt it before using it for baking and cooking. If you’re using it to moisturize your skin or hair, you can skip that step since it softens in your hand.
So what’s the best way to use coconut oil? There are literally hundreds of ways, but here are a few of our favorites:
- Use it to replace vegetable oils, butter or shortening when baking brownies, cookies and any other sort of sweet treats.
- Toss your favorite winter vegetables, like butternut squash or beets, with coconut oil and your favorite seasoning and roast in the oven until golden brown.
- Place a little coconut oil on to a damp washcloth and you have a natural makeup remover.
- Rub coconut oil in damp hair and allow it to sit for 30 minutes for soft, shiny hair.
- Add a tablespoon of coconut oil to your morning coffee instead of creamer. It will transport you to Hawaii, helping you escape wintry Michigan for a moment (at least in your mind).
Photo credit: Chiot’s Run