We’ve all heard of Super Foods. They can help lower our cholesterol, reduce our risk of heart disease and cancer, help us maintain a healthy weight and can even improve our mood. Pomegranates, blueberries, spinach and nuts are popular choices we read about regularly. But there is one super food that rarely gets the attention it deserves. Coconut.
The great thing about coconut is that are so many delicious ways to incorporate it into our diets – some that allow us to experience the yummy tastes and smells of coconut and others that allow us to digest all of the wonderful health benefits without the taste or texture.
I’ve written about coconut in various forms in the past so rather than rehashing old information I will simply link to past posts. (This will either be really helpful or really annoying – hopefully the latter.)
As I’ve discovered the many benefits of coconut I’ve been working to incorporate more into our diets. Here are a few ways we do that:
- Coconut Flour – I haven’t talked much about this, but coconut flour is one of the healthiest flour options out there. It’s gluten free and higher in dietary fiber than any other flour. The breakdown of coconut flour is 14% coconut oil (see the Coconut Oil Challenge below), 58% dietary fiber and 28% water, protein and carbohydrates. Coconut flour can easily be substituted as a flour replacement in baked goods. To start out, I found that switching half the flour in a recipe to coconut flour was a good way to test the recipe and the final product with my family.
- Coconut Water – I recently wrote about coconut water but the important point to note here is that it’s a natural energy drink free of cholesterol.
- Shredded Coconut (the meat) – Again, it’s all about the fiber. Coconut dietary fiber has all the health benefits of other more common dietary fibers. It lowers the risk of heart disease, helps prevent cancer, improves digestive function, helps regular blood sugar, etc.
- Coconut Oil – I’ve replaced all other oils in the house with coconut oil. It’s all I cook with. I keep the expeller pressed version on hand which has been steam deodorized to remove the taste and smell of coconut. We cook eggs in it, put it in smoothies, use it to marinate/tenderize meat, cook our veggies in it and I use it in any recipe that calls for vegetable oil or some other oil. When we first started using coconut oil I noticed that my energy and metabolism seemed to increase and I felt great! About six months ago I learned that coconut oil could also be used as a moisturizer and eventually as a natural sunscreen (if you’re eating it regularly and using it as a moisturizer for six months to a year). I’m working toward this and planning to test it myself as soon as the sun comes back! Here’s a tip…I use the expeller pressed for cooking and I keep a jar of the Virgin Coconut Oil in my bathroom to use as a moisturizer. I like the coconutty smelly for skincare and prefer the tasteless oil for cooking because it’s more versatile.
Now it’s time to Take the Coconut Oil Challenge! This was first introduced by Dr. Jana Joshu, founder of the Middle Tennessee Center for Alternative Medicine, at the Women’s Wellness Weekend. It’s a great idea so I got her permission to duplicate the challenge here for all of you. Here’s how you can participate via your blog or the comments section.
- Weigh yourself and note your start weight. (You don’t have to share it if you’re uncomfortable. Just note it so you can share weight loss/gain at the end.)
- Take a picture of yourself without makeup.
- Purchase a jar of coconut oil and work to incorporate about 4 tablespoons a day into your diet. Here are some recipes to get you started. (Dr. Jana and I both use Tropical Traditions b/c it’s handmade, organic and has not been altered using chemicals or other processes. If you enter the code 5994919 you will receive a free copy of the book Virgin Coconut Oil – How it has changed people’s lives and how it can change yours.)
- Use your coconut oil to moisturize your face 1-2 times a day. I use mine in the morning and at night.
- After 30 days, weigh yourself again, take another photo without your makeup and share your results in the comments, on our Facebook Fan page or in your own blog post, which you can link back to here.
Please leave us a note in the comments section and let us know if you are taking the challenge. You can also become a fan of Broccoli Cupcake on Facebook where we’ll be discussing the challenge throughout the month and sharing tips, recipes and results. If you write a post about your experience, share the challenge, etc, please link up below via MckLinky.