Do you know how exactly 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 take your health to the next higher level. 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 eat coconut oil 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 them so that you're armed with the right knowledge about boosting your health with coconut oil and its nutritional properties.
1.1 Eating coconut oil straight from the jar
Some of my friends simply love eating coconut oil straight from the jar. A few of them even drink it down like water, literally.
If you feel like taking coconut oil by itself 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 by the spoonful. Why?
Because consuming coconut oil straight on an empty stomach may cause diarrhea or other gastrointestinal (GI) discomforts like nausea or abdominal cramps. This has happened to many people when nothing else is inside their stomach except coconut oil.
Though it's a detox reaction coming 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.
Unless you desperately need coconut oil for a constipation relief, never ever take coconut oil on an empty stomach.
Which means, you can either drink coconut oil straight by itself after ingesting some food, or you eat coconut oil with food.
I recommend the latter because taking coconut oil along with food can help to boost the efficiency of food digestion so that you can 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 coconut oil.
For instance, if you're having oatmeal or porridge as breakfast, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of coconut oil raw before serving the cooked soft meal. Stir to mix well and there you have it – a healthy coconut oil meal for you early in the morning.
You can also pour coconut oil raw over blanched vegetables like broccoli. We do that pretty often for dinner.
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 onto my warm multigrain drink or black soy milk in the morning. Same goes for smoothies or juices. A very convenient way to take more coconut oil 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 well.
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. 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 buttery 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. This peanut butter spread is different. It contains lots of coconut oil in it. That's because we soak 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.
So, that's how I eat coconut oil raw for health benefits. Let's move on to cooking with coconut oil, shall we?
1.3 Cooking with coconut oil
Cooking may ruin coconut oil's beneficial nutrients, but not much as long as you keep the temperature well below its smoke point, which is 350 °F (177 °C).
I know that some cooking methods require much higher heat than coconut oil's smoke point. If you allow coconut oil to reach its smoke point and it smokes, its health-beneficial properties will 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. 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 coconut oil.
If you bake with coconut oil, you might worry that baking say, bread at temperatures 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 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 additional cost.
Another implicit disadvantage is that coconut oil may have turned rancid right within that little bolus 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 ingesting it 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 for great convenience (pop it anywhere, anytime), I suggest that you eat coconut oil from jar.
This way you can consume more coconut oil 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 is the best option for you, then you should make sure you don't take the pills on an empty stomach, especially if you're swallowing 14 pills or more. Ingesting coconut oil on an empty stomach may trigger diarrhea and other GI discomforts, remember?
1.5 Eating food that contains coconut oil's health properties
Do you know what you're actually taking in 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 free-radial activities, providing quick energy and boosting 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.
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.
You can pour coconut milk in your coffee, tea, or hot chocolate drink instead of using dairy milk. You can also use coconut cream. But it's thicker and taste more fiber-y. So, adding coconut cream to curry would be more suitable.
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 it by itself or use it as a spread on bread.
1.6 How much coconut oil should you eat daily for health benefits?
You should at least consume 3 tablespoons of coconut oil per day. It's practically pointless if you're not eating enough coconut oil every day for health benefits.
In fact, it'll be more ideal if you can ingest more than 3 tablespoons per day. It's actually safe and healthy to consume as much coconut oil as you can. I've heard about people taking 10 tablespoonfuls of coconut oil daily. Unbelievable, right?
7 tablespoons a day is my max. But for the most part I take only 3 to 5 tablespoons per day.
If you're just getting started, don't ingest that kind of amount like us. You're in for the bad side effects of coconut oil that many people have experienced as a newbie.
Start with a small quantity like ½ or 1 TEAspoon first before attempting to consume by TABLEspoonful.
For example, if you're starting off with 1 teaspoon per day, just take it one time with your breakfast in the morning. Or you can split it 50-50 into 2 times a day – ½ teaspoon added to breakfast, the other half to lunch. And that's all for the day.
Continue with that amount for about 5–7 days. If everything goes fine with your body (no diarrhea, nausea or other discomforts), up your coconut oil intake to 2 teaspoons per day and so on.
In short, increase your coconut oil intake gradually until your body is able to adapt better to 3 or more tablespoons per day, without unpleasant effects.
1.7 When should you eat coconut oil, morning or night?
The best time for you to take coconut oil is in the morning and afternoon, and cut back on its quantity at night, preferably 3–4 hours before bed. That's because coconut oil can generate thermogenic effect that increases your metabolism.
When metabolism increases, it raises your overall 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 during dinner at night, 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.
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 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 directly 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.
2. Applying coconut oil to 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-damaging germs.
But if you can "bathe" in coconut oil as well, so to speak, you'll gain even greater health benefits from it.
That's because by daubing coconut oil on your skin from head to toe, 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 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 or your bowels might become too loose (as said earlier) and you'll have to keep running to your "lovely toilet" multiple times within couple of hours.
Even if you spread the intake over a day, the max for most people in general is only about 4 tablespoons daily.
That's why besides ingesting it, you should also apply coconut oil to your skin every day to make sure you're harvesting more benefits from coconut oil.
And when you apply, remember, 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
Heard of 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 residues.
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 attack you 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 be even stronger 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. Stronger 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 have witnessed that with my bare eyes).
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 or residues before pulling with coconut oil to boost the overall effectiveness of oil pulling.
Bonus: Which coconut oil should you eat for best health benefits?
We're focusing on eating coconut oil to make you healthier, right? So, it makes perfect sense for you to use the best coconut oil that offers the greatest health benefits.
In that case, choose virgin coconut oil.
It's the best among the various types of coconut oil because it is cold pressed and goes through as minimum processing as possible. Hence, it gets to retain most of its beneficial properties.
However, this unrefined coconut oil will give off an odor that is naturally present in it. 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 type of 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 this good for your health?
Although it's regarded as another type of refined coconut oil, fractionated coconut oil is no match for virgin (and even RBD) when it comes to promoting health and immunity. This is due to the fact that fractionated coconut oil contains only 2 beneficial medium-chain saturated fats, which have limited capability in fighting malicious microbes.
But fractionated coconut oil is good for weight loss though. So, if you just want to lose weight, use (food grade) fractionated coconut oil. But if you want amazing health, use virgin or RBD coconut oil.
So, that's how you can use coconut oil to the max and take your health to the next level. 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 coconut oil.
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