This is the secret weapon that's behind the massive health benefits of coconut oil. There is a few types of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) available, and all of them are saturated fats as well. Medium-chain fatty acids are what make saturated fats in coconut oil so health-promoting instead of life-threatening. Find out from the articles below on how these MCFAs can take your health to the next level.
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Do you know exactly how to use coconut oil for health benefits? Eating coconut oil is definitely on the list. But that benefits only your "internal". You need to take care of your "external" too so that you're strong and healthy both on the outside as well as the inside.
So first, let me share with you the 5 best ways to juice every last drop of goodness out of eating coconut oil. And then I'll show you 2 more great ways of using coconut oil that will kick your health to the next higher gear. Let's find out.
1. How best to eat coconut oil for health benefits
You can consume coconut oil straight by itself, add it raw to any food or beverages, cook your food with it, or take coconut oil capsules.
These are great ways to take coconut oil orally and reap its enormous health benefits. Not only that, you can consume coconut products that carry the powerful health properties of coconut oil.
Let's dive deeper into each of these ways of eating coconut oil so that you're armed with the powerful knowledge about boosting your health with coconut oil every single day.
1.1 Eating coconut oil straight from jar
Some of my friends simply love eating coconut oil straight from the jar first thing in the morning.
If you feel like taking coconut oil orally by itself in the morning like them, go ahead. It's worth noting that coconut oil can "bite" your throat if you drink it down straight. It's slightly acidic (~ pH 5). So, be careful.
Not only that, you must bear in mind that your stomach shouldn't be empty when you take coconut oil internally. Why?
Though it's a detox reaction stemming from coconut oil which actually benefits you by helping to clear up the clog in your colon, you wouldn't want to experience such adverse effect first thing in the morning.
Which means, if you like to take coconut oil straight from the jar, it would be safer to do it only after you've ingested some food, or you eat coconut oil with food. For example, take coconut oil only after your breakfast in the morning, or mix coconut oil into your breakfast.
Even when your stomach is not empty, taking too much coconut oil internally may still result in diarrhea and other stomach discomforts. How much coconut oil is too much? Not easy to define for individuals. But to give you an idea, it's like swallowing 2 tablespoons of coconut oil with a glass of soy milk. If this triggers a bad stomach reaction, then that's too much for your body to handle. Reduce to one or even half tablespoon the next time around. Learn from mistake and fine-tune for a safe coconut oil intake.
Actually, I recommend the latter because eating coconut oil with food can help to boost the efficiency of food digestion. This enables you to absorb more nutrients from the food for stronger health.
In fact, there are more health benefits in consuming coconut oil with food than just increasing your nutrient absorption. You'll find out soon enough.
1.2 Adding coconut oil raw to food and beverages
Heating coconut oil may destroy some of its health-promoting properties. So, if you simply add it raw to any food or beverages, you get the greatest health benefits out of it.
For instance, if you're having oatmeal or porridge in the morning, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of coconut oil raw before serving the cooked soft meal. Stir to mix well and there you go – a healthy coconut oil breakfast for you early in the morning.
You can also pour coconut oil raw over blanched vegetables like broccoli or bok choy. We do that pretty often at dinner, and it tastes really good.
If you add coconut oil when the cooked food is steaming hot, the rising steam in the cooked food may carry away some molecules of coconut oil with it into the air. To cut down the loss of coconut oil (more to the point, its health properties), wait a while for the cooked food to become less hot before adding coconut oil.
That's not all, you can add to your beverages as well.
Take me for instance. I always pour about 1 tablespoon of coconut oil over my warm multigrain drink or black soy milk in the morning every day. Same goes for smoothies or juices. A very convenient way to take more coconut oil orally for health benefits. Just be warned of a layer of grease floating on top if you add too much coconut oil and you never mix them well.
If you prefer, you can blend your fruits and greens together with coconut oil so that coconut oil completely merges with the smoothie, rather than adding after the smoothie is done. But if you add too much coconut oil, your blender might become oily which may not be easy to wash and clean later.
You can also stir coconut oil straight in warm water and drink it down too. That sounds a bit odd. It actually tastes a bit weird also if you're not used to drinking coconut oil like that. I do that sometimes right before my training session. It kind of enhances my energy level and training performance. Not bad.
Have you tried dipping fruits like banana, apple or papaya in coconut oil before? If you haven't, go try it. It's another good way to ingest coconut oil for health benefits.
How about using coconut oil as a dressing for your raw salad? We do that too at times in the morning. Keep in mind that if your add coconut oil to a chilled salad, coconut oil will turn into soft flakes instead of staying liquid.
That's because coconut oil starts to harden below 76 °F (24 °C). The lower the temperature, the harder it gets.
Speaking of that, I like chilling my vegan butter-flavored coconut oil till it solidifies a bit and becomes soft like snow. Then I spread it over my wholegrain bread with a butter knife. Yummy!
We also like spreading our favorite crunchy peanut butter on bread. Our peanut butter spread is very different from others. It contains plenty of coconut oil in it.
That's because we've transferred the entire peanut butter over to a glass jar and then "soaked it up" with the most natural preservative on earth – coconut oil. Yes, we use coconut oil to preserve food so the food can stay fresh longer.
Can you add coconut oil to cooked rice?
Why not? Your rice will smell fragrantly like fresh coconut if you use unrefined virgin coconut oil. And the good thing about this is, coconut oil helps to regulate the absorption of refined carbohydrate (from rice) into our bloodstream. This in turn, helps prevent a spike in blood glucose levels.
Want even better protection against diabetes? Then add coconut oil to cooked brown rice, like me.
Oh, one more thing I always do to get more intake of coconut oil. I bring it out wherever I go. I store it in a portable 100 ml glass bottle so I can add it raw to any food whenever I eat out.
So, that's how I eat coconut oil raw daily for health benefits. Let's move on to cooking with coconut oil so you get to take more coconut oil internally for better health, shall we?
1.3 Cooking with coconut oil
As said earlier, heating may damage coconut oil's beneficial nutrients. But not much as long as you keep the cooking temperature well below its smoke point, which is 350 °F (177 °C).
Virgin coconut oil, RBD coconut oil and pure coconut oil have about the same smoke point – 350 °F (177 °C). But food grade fractionated coconut oil may start to smoke as "early" as 320 °F (160 °C).
I know that some cooking methods require much higher heat than coconut oil's smoke point. If you allow coconut oil to fume at its smoke point, its healthful molecular structures will break up and fall apart. And you gain nothing at the end of your cooking session.
So, how to make sure coconut oil doesn't smoke during cooking.
Control the flame at low or medium-low heat regardless of whether you're sautéing, stir-frying or even frying with coconut oil. The trade-off is you need to do the cooking longer. (I take that as a patience practice.)
Another nifty trick I always use when cooking with coconut oil is I'll add just a teaspoon or so to say, stir-fry some mixed vegetables. And then after that I'll add a tablespoon of coconut oil raw just before serving the cooked veggies.
This enables me to gain more health benefits from eating coconut oil daily.
If you bake with coconut oil, you might worry that baking for example, bread at temperature higher than the oil's smoke point will break its health properties. Actually, it won't happen in most cases because the moisture in the food can help to keep the inside temperature below the smoke point of coconut oil.
Are you getting clearer and better on how to use coconut oil for cooking now? Good. Next, please.
1.4 Taking coconut oil capsules
Are you aware that you can ingest coconut oil via capsules?
So, how many coconut oil capsules should you take orally every day for health benefits?
One coconut oil capsule generally contains 1000 mg (i.e. 1 g) only. If you need 3 tablespoons of coconut oil to keep you strong and healthy, and one tablespoon holds 14 grams, which equates to 14 capsules, then you'll need to take 42 coconut oil capsules daily for health benefits.
Can you imagine yourself swallowing 42 capsules a day, every day? That's total madness!
And it's not cheap to consume coconut oil in capsules though because packing in the soft-gelled pills involves extra cost.
Another implicit disadvantage is that coconut oil may have turned rancid right within that little pill without you knowing. Unless you spare some time and effort to randomly sample them by cutting open some capsules to examine the quality of the oil.
If it doesn't smell like coconut but instead, smells like cheese or vomit or something disgusting, then the oil has turned bad. And taking it internally can cause more harm than good to your health.
Unless you're always on the move (like a road warrior) and so busy that you need coconut oil pills daily for great convenience (pop it anywhere, anytime), I suggest that you eat coconut oil from jar, along with food.
This way you can consume more coconut oil daily for greater health benefits and stronger protection against viruses, bacteria and other super germs without burning a deep hole in your pocket.
However, if you've decided after much thought that taking coconut oil capsules by mouth is the best option for you to gain its health benefits daily, then you should try not to take the pills internally when your stomach is empty, especially if you need to swallow 14 pills or more.
Eating coconut oil on an empty stomach may trigger diarrhea and other GI discomforts, remember?
Animal-derived gelatin that is generally used to make capsule may contain antibiotic and hormone residues. To make matters worse, some may even get contaminated with diseased animal tissues. Hence, it's best to buy coconut oil that is encapsulated in plant-derived pills if you need to take coconut oil capsules for everyday health protection.
1.5 Eating food that contains coconut oil's health properties
Do you know what you're actually ingesting every day when you say you're eating coconut oil for health benefits?
Medium-chain fatty acids. Yes, this is it!
We're after medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) for its potent capability in fighting malicious microbes, stopping damaging free-radical activities, providing quick energy and revving up sluggish metabolism.
And the good news is, you don't just find MCFAs in coconut oil. You can find them in other coconut products as well, such as coconut cream or coconut milk, coconut butter, coconut water, coconut meat or desiccated coconut etc.
Not all coconut products have MCFAs. Coconut sugar and coconut nectar do not have.
That said, now you have more ways to elevate your health and enhance your well-being.
You can pour coconut milk in your coffee, tea, or hot chocolate drink to replace dairy milk. You might want to use coconut cream instead. But it's thicker and taste more fiber-y in those beverages. So, adding coconut cream to curry would be more suitable (we do that, always).
Coconut oil actually goes quite well with coffee to form bulletproof coffee. But my advice is, don't drink this too often as making yourself too hyper every day can affect your sleep quality at night. I did lose my sleep a few times because of that. I'm scared now.
Coconut butter is actually made by blending pure coconut meat or desiccated coconut into a creamy butter-like texture food. It's also called coconut manna or coconut purée. How do you eat it? You can consume it straight by the spoonful or use it as a spread on bread.
So, these are the 5 ways to help you squeeze every single drop of health benefits out of coconut oil consumption. But how much coconut oil should you eat daily and when should you take it so that you're safe from any potential adverse reactions from ingesting coconut oil?
1.6 How much coconut oil should you eat daily for health benefits?
You should at least take 3 tablespoons of coconut oil orally per day. It's practically pointless if you're not consuming adequate coconut oil every day for health benefits.
In fact, it'll be more ideal if you can eat more than 3 tablespoons per day. It's actually safe and healthy to consume as much coconut oil as you can. I've heard of people taking 10 tablespoonfuls of coconut oil daily for health. Unbelievable, right?
7 tablespoons a day is my max. But for the most part I take only 3 to 5 tablespoons of coconut oil per day. And I always take with food or beverages.
Start with a small quantity like ½ or 1 TEAspoon of coconut oil first before attempting to consume by TABLEspoon.
For example, if you're starting off with 1 teaspoon per day, take it orally with your breakfast in the morning, and that's all for the day. Or you can split it 50-50 into twice a day – ½ teaspoon added to breakfast, the other half to lunch.
Continue with that amount for about 5–7 days. If everything goes well with your body (no diarrhea, nausea or other discomforts), up your coconut oil intake to 2 teaspoons per day and so on.
In essence, increase your coconut oil intake gradually until your body is able to adapt better to 3 or more tablespoons per day, without any unpleasant effects.
1.7 When should you take coconut oil, morning or night?
The best time for you to take coconut oil orally is in the morning and afternoon, and cut back on its quantity at night, preferably 3–4 hours before bed.
That's because eating coconut oil can generate thermogenic effect that increases your metabolism.
When metabolism increases, it raises your body temperature and may affect your sleep quality at night. Our body temperature needs to drop a bit for preparation of sleep before bedtime.
Even if you do doze off after a high dose of coconut oil internally during dinner in the evening, your sleep quality might not be that good as you'll probably only enter light sleep and get awakened easily in the middle of the night. You might sweat in your sleep too.
To give you an idea based on eating 3 tablespoons of coconut oil per day, you should consume 1½ tablespoon in the morning, 1 tablespoon at lunch, and ½ tablespoon at dinner. Or better, take 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in the morning and 1 in the afternoon. This allows your body to better prep for sleep at night.
You can of course, take coconut oil at night during dinner or even before bedtime, so long as it doesn't affect your sleep quality.
Keep in mind to avoid drinking coconut oil straight from the jar on an empty stomach. Unless you're dying for a cleansing detox, always consume coconut oil with food.
Did you notice that I suggest more coconut oil in the morning than for the rest of the day?
I recommend taking more coconut oil orally every morning if you're able to. We require lots of fuel to kick-start our morning after a long, restful sleep. Coconut oil benefits us (in this context) by converting quickly to energy to awaken our cells and fuel our body.
When your cells are empowered, they're able to break down and absorb nutrients from your morning meal more effectively and efficiently.
That's why I always take 1½ to 2 tablespoons of coconut oil first thing in the morning, with a nutrient-dense breakfast.
Another advantage in taking more coconut oil during the day, especially in the morning than at night is that, in case you get the runs from inadvertently ingesting too much coconut oil, you still have plenty of hours for the diarrhea effect to wear off before bedtime, so you can get a good night's sleep.
1.8 Which coconut oil should you eat for best health benefits?
However, this unrefined coconut oil will give off an odor that it naturally has. It smells like fresh coconut and it's aromatic to many of us but you may not like it.
If that's the case, then your next best alternative would be pure RBD coconut oil. It's a good quality refined coconut oil that has its natural coconut odor removed but yet get to preserve as much health properties as possible. On top of that, go with the organic one to free your body from additional toxic load.
How about fractionated coconut oil? Is it good for your health?
But if you want amazing health, use virgin or RBD coconut oil. They're also good for putting on your skin and oil pulling, which are the other 2 excellent ways to use coconut oil for health benefits I'm going to cover next.
2. Putting coconut oil on your skin
Eating coconut oil allows it to go right inside your body so that your cells can quickly and directly access to its abundant supply of anti-oxidative saturated fats, metabolism-boosting medium-chain fatty acids and powerful antimicrobials which are the keys to defending your body against health-detrimental germs. Right?
But if you use coconut oil externally as well, you'll gain even greater health benefits from it.
That's because by daubing coconut oil on your skin, you're actually protecting not just your skin (external) but preventing the super germs from gaining entry into your body (internal) via the pores of your skin.
"But our skin has already had its own natural protective layer", you might say.
True. But our skin is the largest organ of our body and hence, it has the largest surface area interacting with the surroundings.
Because of that, harmful germs can easily "stick" to our skin and colonize on it and then break through the barriers and enter our body to create havoc.
This is especially true when you're in places like hospitals or dirty streets where bacteria, viruses and other aggressive germs are easily "available" and in abundance.
Imagine your skin is attacked by an army of malicious germs and 10% of them succeed in storming into your body, the amount of coconut oil (say, 2 tablespoons per day) you have ingested may not suffice to fight them all off. 10% may sound little but it's huge enough to infest your body and take it down completely if your immunity gets very weak.
Don't forget that inside your body, particularly your liver itself already has plenty of viruses, parasites and bacteria to deal with.
So, after helping your liver to get rid of those nasty micro-bugs so that it (your liver) can continue to perform its functions without much glitches, what's left of coconut oil might appear too insignificant for that 10% of intrusive microbes that penetrate into your body via your skin.
What's even worse is that you can't take too much coconut oil orally or your bowels might become too loose (as said earlier).
Even if you spread the intake over a day, the max for most people in general is only about 4 tablespoons daily.
So, which part of your skin should you apply coconut oil to for daily protection?
Some coconut oil fans simply "bathe" in coconut oil from head to toe, so to speak. They do it once in the morning and once in the evening right after a hot shower or before bed, and literally sleep with coconut oil on their skin overnight.
But that may not be practical for most of us. Even I don't do that often. Only once in a blue moon. What I normally do is I'll apply to areas that are exposed to air and sunlight, such as my hands and legs, neck and face. Which I think is good enough for protection.
Of course, if you think you need stronger protection due to your polluted environment, by all means and apply from head to toe, like those coconut oil fans I talked about just now.
And when you apply, remember, each time just put a thin layer on your skin will do, and then re-apply as often as you deem necessary.
Slathering too much coconut oil on your skin in one go can easily saturate your skin and cause it to look oily instead of soft, smooth and supple. To fix that, wait till the first layer has absorbed before you apply the second layer and so on.
3. Coconut oil pulling
Oil pulling is a technique that you hold a tablespoon of any vegetable oil in your mouth and swish it for 15–20 minutes and then you spit it all out.
By doing so, it helps to reduce the number of bacteria, parasites and other germs that cling onto and grow on your teeth, gums, tongue or anywhere they can live on inside your mouth as long as there are food debris.
If you never do oil pulling, chances are you'll swallow those bacteria, parasites and other germs with the food into your stomach. And you know what's going to happen next.
Though our gastric acid can kill them, not all will be killed. Some will intelligently hang on to spots where the corrosive acid cannot reach, like your esophagus or anywhere along the food path and then conquer the area and wreck your tissues when the time is ripe.
So, oil pulling is vital to keep your mouth free of harmful microbes so as to reduce the germ load your body has to handle.
And if you use coconut oil for oil pulling, the cleansing effect will double since coconut oil does not simply "bundle" bacteria and other germs together for you to purge them out in a spit, it kills them without mercy as well.
To top it off, using coconut oil for oil pulling can also strengthen your gums so they won't bleed easily when you brush your teeth.
That's not all. Healthier gums can grip teeth more firmly so that your teeth will not fall off easily as you age. It's no surprise to still have a complete set of teeth holding steadily onto your gums even at the age of 90 (I've seen that).
So, to retain your beautiful smile and gain as much health benefits from coconut oil as possible, start coconut oil pulling today.
Oh, be sure to brush your teeth to remove any sticky food particles before pulling with coconut oil to boost the overall effectiveness of oil pulling.
So, that's how you can use coconut oil to the max and crank up your health. Any questions so far? If yes, drop them in the comment form below so that we can discuss further on how to make your health and life better with eating and using coconut oil.
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