Trendy superfood has benefits in the kitchen and all over the body

Last updated: April 08. 2014 5:23PM - 2651 Views
By Sara Pokorny spokorny@civitasmedia.com



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FOR YOUR RECIPE BOX

Times Leader readers shared some recipes that include coconut oil and have proved personally beneficial.

COCONUT OIL SUNBURN LOTION

Recipe by Mariann Owens of Kingston

Ingredients:

½ cup cocoa butter

¼ cup coconut oil

1 teaspoon almond oil

15 drops lavender or chamomile oil

DIRECTIONS:

Put cocoa butter, coconut oil and almond oil in saucepan over medium heat. Stir until butter is melted.

Pour into a jar and allow to soft-set. Stir in essential oils, then allow to cool completely before using.

COCONUT OIL EXFOLIANT

Recipe by Joan E. Kuzma, 49, of Shavertown, who uses the oil not only to exfoliate but moisturize post-shower and said it helps to minimize stretch marks.

Ingredients:

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ cup coconut oil

Optional: 1 tablespoon fruit zest or 1 teaspoon citrus essential oil to add a soothing scent

Directions:

Mix together well and apply with hands.

FUDGE WITH COCONUT OIL

Diane Nunziata, 38, of Lehman Township loves a healthier treat now and then and found a tasty one in this recipe from www.gwens-nest.com.

Ingredients:

½ cup extra virgin coconut oil

½ cup butter, softened

½ cup natural peanut butter

Up to ½ cup raw honey, to taste

Up to ½ cup cocoa powder , to taste

Directions:

Put peanut butter, butter and coconut oil into an 8-by-8 or 9-by-9-inch glass dish and whisk with fork to blend.

Add honey to desired sweetness, then add cocoa to desired level of chocolate flavor. Mix all well with fork.

Refrigerate until firm, then cut into small squares and enjoy.



For about $10 a jar, you can buy a product at your local grocery store that will not only be handy — and tasty — in the kitchen but could help with psoriasis, hair, teeth and skincare and might even lead to weight loss.


It’s official: People are nuts for coconut oil.


It’s not a new product by any means, but lately it seems the stars and others in the loop can’t stop talking about it, “Divergent” star Shailene Woodley and “Goop” creator Gwyneth Paltrow among them. The number of benefits touted is enough to make your head spin, so we’ll start you off simply: Just make sure that whatever type of coconut oil you buy, it’s organic and unrefined. Also know that it switches from solid to liquid form easily depending on the temperature. From there, the possibilities are endless.


From speaking to locals, it seems the best method for dealing with coconut oil is to become a “two-jar household” – dedicating one for cooking and one for beauty.


“I use it every day as my face and body moisturizer,” said area native Amanda Booth, 27, now a model in Los Angeles who keeps dual jars in her home. “I rub it in between my hands to melt it and put it right on. You can also use it in your hair as a treatment, but you have to be sure to wash it with a non-hydrating shampoo, otherwise it could really weigh down the hair.


“I also love a tablespoon in oatmeal with cinnamon,” she continued. “It gives it a good texture, and it’s a tasty way for me to get some extra fats in my diet.”


Extra fats?


The words may give some pause but actually are part of the benefits. Coconut oil is a rich source of saturated fat; however, this isn’t the type of artery-clogging fat about which we are often warned. According to authoritynutrition.com, the fatty acids in coconut oil are Medium Chain Triglycerides, or MCTs, which are metabolized differently and go right to the liver, where they are used as a source of energy.


It also was found that 15 to 30 grams of MCTs per day increased energy expenditure by 5 percent — about 120 calories per day — meaning coconut oil may aid in weight loss over an extended period of time.


If using coconut oil as nutritional intake still might not sound right for you, consider the droves of readers willing to testify to how it has helped them in other ways.


Debra Kellerman, 48, of Bear Creek Township, has dealt with psoriasis on her hands but found that applying coconut oil to them straight from the jar not only moisturizes her skin but leaves no annoying residue.


“I also noticed that when my hands feel itchy, after coming into contact with a irritant , I wash them and use the coconut oil and the itchiness disappears, which stops the psoriasis from flaring up,” Kellerman said. “Dry patches are nearly eliminated, and the new skin is protected.”


“Oil pulling” also is becoming a trend. That means you swish coconut oil around the mouth for 20 minutes to achieve health and beauty benefits.


“Because of a prescription I’m on, my gums are extremely sensitive, and the oil definitely helps,” said Carisa Homschek, 28, of Pittston. “I oil pull right when I get up, as I wash my face and put my makeup on. I’ve been doing it three weeks now, and it’s really calmed my gums down.”


“I have noticed a white smile as well as less build-up behind my teeth,” said Julie Terrana, 28, of Wyoming, who has been oil pulling four to five days a week for a month now. “I think it’s a great alternative to mouthwash because it doesn’t burn, and it leaves a clean, gentle taste in your mouth.”


Slap it on your skin, swish it through your teeth, toss it in a pan — behold your next superfood. Oh, and a bonus? Coconut oil smells delicious.


 
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