Uses for Coconut Oil in Cooking, Hair Care And Other Medicinal Applications.

by Peter Smith

In cooking coconut oil was once considered taboo by many in the food and health community because it contains a large amount of saturated fats. That position has changed. Now uses for it in cooking are emerging daily. At room temperature, coconut oil acquires a solid form and can replace butter in many recipes. When heated up, it becomes a liquid and is ideal oil for frying foods.

Using coconut oil in baked goods are limitless. In its solid form, it can replace butter and shortening in a wide variety of recipes. Amazingly, it can turn out flaky pie crusts, fluffy cake icings and crumbly scones. This has prompted a particular appeal to vegans who avoid the use of butter. It is also a satisfactory replacement for olive oil and can be used for pound cakes and the like.

Frying with coconut oil in lieu of other oils results in foods with a rich, almost nutty taste. Some people claim to be able to really taste the coconut when eating foods fried with it. Some items that fry well in coconut oil are fish, potatoes, batter-dipped vegetables and doughnuts. Some of the advantages of frying with coconut oil are that the oil drains away from foods more completely, resulting in crisper food that is less soggy. It also lasts longer than other oils and can be used over and over again in deep frying.

Because of its sweet taste, coconut oil is perfect for use in making candy. The sweetness mixes well with most baked goods and pastries, too. It can be drizzled on roasted vegetables for a unique flavor enhancement. Try it on toast rather as a substitute for butter. The tropical taste works well with most Thai and Indian recipes. Another use for it is in salad dressing. A blend of equal parts coconut oil and olive oil drizzled on greens is delectable. You can add some sea salt and red wine vinegar for flavor diversity. There is one thing to be careful of though. If the dressing is cold or the salad is cold, the oil in the dressing can solidify. It is best to combine small amounts and maintain it at room temperature. Virgin coconut oil is better than the refined varieties which can contain impurities. Those impurities require bleaching, deodorizing and refining to make the product acceptable for use. Cooking is simply one of a number of uses for coconut oil.

Non-cooking uses for Coconut Oil Uses vary and include many areas of personal and even industrial applications. Its versatility makes coconut highly adaptable and yet not many people are even aware of it. In tropical parts of the world, the value of it has been appreciated for hundreds of years and is an important part of the diet in that part of the world. The oil is a splendid moisturizer for dry and damaged hair. When applied directly to the hair and left for 15 minutes before shampooing, the hair has a luxuriant appearance. It can also be added to homemade shampoos, hair pomades and conditioning oil treatments. Another personal application for the oil is the treatment of skin. It works miracles for softening and healing dry and damaged skin. Coconut oil helps first by forming a protective barrier on skin that helps retain moisture. Secondly, it penetrates deeply to help keep connective tissues supple and firm. Because it is quickly absorbed into the skin, the oil helps minimize the appearance of fine skin lines and reduces the appearance of wrinkles. Lastly, coconut oil assists in the process of exfoliation which is the removal of dead skin cells from the outer layer of skin, leaving smoother skin behind.

Rubbing a small amount of coconut oil around the temple area of the head, for example, can help reduce stress. Massage the oil using small circular motions and let the aroma sooth your stress away. The saturated fats in the oil can help with the digestive process. It contains anti-bacterial properties which can help with controlling parasites and fungi which can cause digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome and indigestion. Coconut oil also helps the body absorb amino acids, minerals and vitamins more efficiently. When applied to scrapes and cuts, it forms a protective barrier that keeps potential infection down by shielding the wound from virus, bacteria and dust. It speeds the recovery of bruises because it helps repair damaged tissue. When added to the diet, coconut oil can help balance hormones and induce the thyroid, it increases your metabolic rate which in turn increases energy and can lead to weight loss.

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