Ask Leyla: How can I use coconut oil in my cooking?

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| By Leyla Muedin MS, RD, CDN

Q: You tout the benefits of coconut oil, and how it’s more appropriate for high-heat cooking than some other oils—but I no longer fry foods. What other ways can I use it?

Ask Leyla: How can I use coconut oil in my cooking?A: There are many ways to use coconut oil in cooking but first I’m compelled to tell you about its benefits. Because it’s a medium chain triglyceride (MCT), it’s used for energy immediately by the liver, effectively inducing ketosis. Its structure makes it easier to burn rather than be stored as fat, making it beneficial for weight loss and maintenance.

Critical for brain health, coconut oil is used as part of a low carb, therapeutic nutrition regimen for Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, the lauric acid in coconut oil, which comprises about 50 percent of it, confers its benefits by changing to monolaurin in the body, a potent antiviral lending immune support during cold and flu season and herpes outbreaks.

Coconut oil imparts antimicrobial and antiprotozoal effects. It’s cooling to the gut, making it beneficial for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Decreased inflammatory markers and cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin-6 has been reported in the literature and coconut oil is also beneficial for those with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, effectively increasing insulin sensitivity.

Try adding a tablespoon or two of coconut oil to soups and stews. Add it to smoothies and your tea and coffee—making them Bulletproof! But don’t just limit yourself to coconut oil: Try coconut cream and coconut milk too.

To your health!

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