Why I think coconut oil is a super ingredient

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A true super food, coconut oil is one of the healthiest foods on earth.

Although I don’t consider it a supplement but more of a food, all in all I’d say it’s both.

The first question is of course: What does coconut oil do? Well here is a shortlist of some its benefits:

Anti-viral

Anti-fungal

Anti-bacterial

Increases HDL (good cholesterol) decreases LDL (bad cholesterol)

Increases metabolism

Helps decrease abdominal obesity

Decreases body fat

Protects foods when cooking (high flash point)

Improves skin

Improves digestion

Better hair

Improves concentration and brain function

So as you can see, coconut oil has quite a few benefits, from health and wellness to improving body composition.

For starters, studies reveal it as one of the only fats that has been shown to balance out cholesterol and decrease the bad LDL and increase good HDL cholesterol, so it won’t clog your arteries like people tell you.

It has also been shown to actually help speed up metabolism and increase weight loss.

This is mainly because it contains a high level of medium chain triglycerides.

These are only found in a few foods and normally in low levels. But coconut oil is very high in this type of fat and the body is able to break it down in the liver and use it has fuel rapidly instead of just storing it as fat. This in turn increases metabolism and decreases body fat.

Coconut oil also seems to improve concentration. It’s great when following a low carbohydrate diet, since you won’t lose concentration even though you are having less glucose for the brain than normal.

It has also been shown to help kill bacteria and fungal problems, so it can be very helpful for skin conditions and digestive issues as these are normally caused by excessive amounts of bad bacteria in the body. Putting coconut oil on the skin can help sooth rashes and bites on the skin.

It also kills bad bacteria in the gut, helping decrease digestive problems and other problems like yeast infections.

Unlike most oils, when you cook with coconut oil it does not get damaged by heat.

This means when you cook foods in it, the oil will actually help protect the foods and keep a lot more nutrients intact.

I always try to use a good quality organic virgin coconut oil.

Here is a family favourite recipe using coconut oil and coconut milk and my kids love it!

Coconut chicken (serves four )

Ingredients:

• 300ml coconut milk

• 2tbsp tomato puree

• 1tbsp (or to taste) dried crushed chili

• 2tbsp ground almonds

• 2tsp turmeric

• 2tsp garam masala

• 2tsp cumin

• 4 chicken breast fillets, cut into bite size pieces

• 2 onions, chopped

• 2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped

• 2tbsp coconut oil

• 4 tbsp fresh coriander

Method:

1. Mix the coconut milk with the tomato puree, chilli, almonds, turmeric, garam masala,cumin and 1tbsp water. Add the chicken and coat all of the pieces. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for at least one hour

2. Cook the onions and garlic in 1tsp of coconut oil until soft.

3. Remove the chicken from the marinade, add to the pan with the onion and cook for two mins, covered over a low heat. Add the marinade and the remaining oil and cook for 15-20 mins.

4. Stir in the fresh coriander and serve.

Nikki Caputa is a health and fitness coach who works one-to-one with clients and runs her own fitness camps where she trains groups.

Known as FAB Body Bootcamps, two are based in Fareham and one is in Portsmouth.

Nikki is also an ambassador for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.

Visit fabbodybootcamp.co.uk and challenge-fitness.co.uk.

Follow Nikki on Twitter @nikkifitmum1.