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Healthiest Foods: Coconut Oil

Mary Murray

   Though once discouraged for its relatively high calorie count and saturated fats, coconut oil has recently gained positive attention as some studies now indicate it might increase good cholesterol. However, always opt for virgin or refined coconut oil—never hydrogenated.

Benefits

  • Lauric Acid: This medium-chain fatty acid can improve levels of HDL, or "good," cholesterol. It is also good for the gut, according to Elyse Marrone, a registered dietitian nutritionist and past president of the Palm Beach Dietetic Association.
  • Beauty: A natural moisturizer, virgin coconut oil can be used as body lotion or on the scalp for hair health.
  • Energy: Coconut oil is "converted very quickly into energy, so for athletes it's a great fat," Marrone says.

How to Incorporate

   Coconut oil can be used in place of butter in vegan baking recipes. And, given its high smoke point, it works well for sautéing and cooking.

 Use a small amount of coconut oil to sauté vegetables.

Try This: Coconut Oil and Peanut Butter Chips, from Thrive Style

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp. softened coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp. peanut butter, or other nut butter
  • A drizzle of sweetener
  • Sea salt, to taste

Method

  1. Mix all ingredients together until smooth.
  2. Line a plate with wax paper. Pipe mixture in blobs onto the plate, and place in the freezer for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on how warm the mixture is. Enjoy anytime as an energizing snack.
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