Coconut oil used to have a bad rap because it’s a saturated fat.

It turns out that coconut oil can actually help you lose weight, especially those pesky (and particularly unhealthy) pounds in your stomach region.

Not only that, but studies suggest coconut oil can also help decrease inflammation, fight infection, and even protect the brain from the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

Coconut oil may be a saturated fat, but recent research shows that not all saturated fats are created equal. Strange as it seems, coconut oil improves the ratio of “good” to “bad” cholesterol in the bloodstream—the exact opposite of how most saturated fats affect the body. Coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs), which are more easily digested than other types of fat and so are not normally stored in fat tissue. Coconut oil is also rich in healthy antioxidants, particularly virgin coconut oil, which is produced without the use of heat or chemicals.

Using Coconuts to Create Meals That Heal

Key benefits to using coconut products include weight balance, athletic performance and enhancement, and immune balance.

Dried coconut: Fresh coconut is grated into coconut flakes (wide and flat) or shredded coconut (thin threads). Shop for coconut products that are sulfur free.

Coconut milk: Canned coconut milk is as thick as table cream, with 18 to 24% fat. Use it to add creaminess to soups and to give gourmet flare to your main dishes.

Coconut beverage: This delicious beverage goes great on cereal, in smoothies, or in any recipe that calls for milk. If you can’t find coconut beverage, you can thin down canned coconut milk by mixing four parts water to one part coconut milk in the blender.

Coconut water: Coconut water is the clear, low-fat, nutrient-rich liquid inside a green young coconut.

Coconut nectar: Coconut blossoms produce a highly nutrient-rich fluid that can be processed into syrup. It contains amino acids and is loaded with B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and iron.

Coconut sugar: Dehydrating coconut nectar into crystals makes it similar in taste and color to brown sugar, with a caramel flavor. Swap it for granulated sugar in recipes.

Coconut aminos soy-free seasoning sauce: Coconut aminos can be used anywhere you enjoy soy sauce, such as stir-fries, salads, and marinades.

Coconut flour: Try 100% certified organic coconut flour to replace flour in recipes. It is made from coconut meat (with the oils pressed out). It contains 40% dietary fiber and tastes absolutely delicious!

Coconut butter: Coconut butter is the whole meat of the coconut puréed into a creamy butter. Coconut meat is approximately 65% oil; the rest is protein and fiber, so it is not to be used in frying. Due to its buttery texture, it works well in baked goods or in raw-food desserts.

Coconut oil: Coconut oil is the oil that is extracted from the meat. Because the protein and fiber has been removed, it is the safest oil to use for cooking. Coconut oil is a saturated fat and is the least vulnerable of cooking oils to oxidation. Look for organic virgin coconut oil that is made without heat processing or solvents.

Coconut vinegar: Coconut vinegar is made by fermenting the coconut nectar. Try sprinkling a little into sparkling water as a refreshing beverage or use it in salads.

What is your favorite way to enjoy this tropical wonder? I think a fresh green coconut cut right in front of you with a machete and then scooping out the fresh jelly is one of nature’s greatest joyrides.


Coconut in health promotion and disease prevention

Virgin coconut oil supplementation prevents bone loss in osteoporosis

The application of medium-chain fatty acids: edible oil with a suppressing effect on body fat accumulation

Effect of dietary medium and long-chain triacylglycerols (MLCT) on accumulation of body fat in healthy humans

Enhanced thermogenesis and diminished deposition of fat in response to overfeeding with diet containing medium chain triglyceride

Nutritionist Julie Daniluk RHN hosts The Healthy Gourmet on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), a reality cooking show that looks at the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition. Her first bestselling book, Meals That Heal Inflammation, advises on allergy-free foods that both taste great and assist the body in the healing process. Julie has appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and is a resident expert for The Marilyn Denis Show and Reader’s Digest. Check out more amazing recipes, nutrition tips, and her Anti-Inflammatory Quick Start Program at and follow her on Facebook at Julie Daniluk Nutrition and on Twitter @juliedaniluk.

*Photo Credit: legends2k via Compfight cc