Sunday, 28 September 2014

The Age of the Coconut

Nectar of the gods?

So who knew the humble coconut and all it derivatives would become the ‘it’ thing.  I must admit, I became a convert a couple of years ago, finding no better way to quench my thirst than to sip on chilled coconut water on a hot day.  Last summer my daughters and I took regular delight from madly hacking into a drinking coconut, thrusting three straws in its gaping wound, knowing full well fastest sipper gets the most coconut water.  As a side note I might add that I was wielding the knife not the kids, but my husband is that certain my haphazard knife skills are one day destined to equate to loss of digits, I’m sure he would almost prefer that it was the 7 year old doing the honours.

Managing to enjoy fresh coconut water with the added bonus of retaining all 10 fingers, I have since branched out further in my coconut consuming journey.   Coconut oil.  I know I’m not telling you anything new here, with all the hype, I’m sure you’re well aware that this medium-chain saturated fatty acid is said to be bursting with health benefits. Increasing evidence suggests that it can potentially help with weight loss, boost metabolism, lower cholesterol, aid digestion and support immunity among other things.  It’s got to be the virgin, additive free kind mind.  One example here of many such articles touting the benefits of this miracle stuff:  

I for one, have embraced coconut oil wholeheartedly, bringing it into my life in a number of different ways:

1)      Moisturising with it – I get very dry skin and sometimes I feel like my regular moisturiser just won’t cut it. That’s when I slather on the coconut oil. Works a treat.

2)      Baking with it. Baking needs fats and oils for texture and moistness.  I find coconut oil works beautifully in many cakes, muffins and biscuits.  Plus it’s better for you than butter.

3)      Frying with it – has a slightly higher smoke point than olive oil before the oxidisation process starts to occur, although it's not as high as rice bran oil or avocado oil. 

4)      Oil pulling – now this is an interesting concept and one I recently thought I would give a crack. This is based on an ancient Ayurvedic technique where you swish oil all around your mouth for 5-20 minutes to help remove any nasty mouth bacteria that contributes to plague and gum disease.  Be very careful not to inhale it (this is definitely not for children) and it must be spat into the bin not swallowed, not in sink. As a side note I did get top marks from my dental hygienist recently for excellent oral health so perhaps there is really is something in this oil pulling?

You may or may not buy into all the hype surrounding coconut oil.  For me? If it was good enough for the Ayurvedic Indians then it’s good enough for me.

*this story is the opinion of the author and is not health advice. Where necessary, ensure you seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional.