Coconut Oil: Why it’s So Common in Asia, Its Uses and Benefits

I cut my hair now and then. In fact, it was only a few months ago that I cut my hair into a medium, shoulder length. Last week, I met up with a university friend of mine, and she was surprised at how fast my hair has grown back. She wanted to know my secret. I never thought about it much, but ever since my meeting, I had realized that it did grow at lightning speed.

Then it struck me on the secret of my hair growth. I suppose it could be my little secret, but here in Butterkicap, we are all about sharing, sharing and sharing. The secret to Regina’s fast hair growth is… coconut oil!

Credit: peterpaul.com.ph

 

As you all have known already, coconut oil is an edible extract from the meat of coconut (state the obvious!). We’re lucky to be living in a country surrounded by the “tree of life.” Which explains why you see it almost everywhere you go – social media to the supermarket.

The thing is, it has always been there since we were kids. Somehow, we must have taken it for granted until recently. All of a sudden, it became an “it” thing these days. The supposedly underrated coconut oil became a somewhat exclusive, upscale product.

Are you ready to go loco for coco? It’s about time you do! We all know that coconut oil acts a natural skin conditioner. It deeply penetrates the skin, providing some sun protection. Moreover, it also contains antibacterial properties which help strengthen our immune system. Talk about how tiring it is living at a fast pace.

Don’t worry about consuming coconut oil because it can be easily digested to protect insulin resistance and helps regulate blood levels. You must have heard everyone telling you to avoid oil because it is prone to high level of cholesterol. There is an exception to that. Coconut oil actually prevents heart attack and stroke. It may even cure heart disease. Surprising, right?

As much as you love to use it on your skin and hair, we’re all here for that one reason. I’m pretty sure you are here reading the post looking for something more. To be precise, you’re looking for something more delicious that can fulfill your stomach. I would have done the same if I were you. And no, I didn’t forget that because I’m going to talk about it right here, right now.

 

Let’s Go Shopping for Some Coconut Oil

Credit: theartisangatherer.com

Let’s begin with how best to choose and buy your coconut oil. There’s refined and unrefined, which one should you choose? First of all, consider the recipes you’ll be making with your coconut oil and whether or not you like coconut. If you love the aroma and flavour of coconut, unrefined coconut oil, or also known as virgin coconut oil is perfect for you. Basically, it’s the purest grade with the most benefits.

Ff you’re not the biggest fan of coconut, refined coconut oil is what you should go with. It may not be the purest, but it is still an excellent source of most beneficial fatty acids. If you are prone to allergy, this oil has a less potential of triggering them. Even better, it can withstand a higher smoke point of 230 degrees Celsius which allows you to cook at a higher temperature. The last step is to choose the extraction method. Raw foodies will definitely favour raw coconut oil. The oil which can’t be heated above 35 degrees Celsius is made from freshly pressed coconut milk, chilled and separated by a special centrifugal force. It retains all of the nutrients and expects it to be the most expensive out there.

On the other hand, cold pressed, and expeller pressed coconut oil is processed in a heat controlled environment. The only difference is that while cold pressed is processed at a temperature not exceeding 48 degrees; expeller has a typically higher temperature of 100 degrees. Depending on your preference of subtle or pronounced aroma and flavor, just remember this: the higher the heat, the more nutty, toasted coconut flavor will it be.

 

Cooking 101 with Coconut Oil

Credit: naturallivingideas.com

Olive oil may be great for drizzling on your salad, but when it comes to cooking your veggies, coconut oil may be the one you need. Toss your favourite vegetables with a tablespoon of coconut oil and then roast until lightly browned for a crisp texture and a subtle caramelized flavour. Perhaps, sauté your ideal protein and vegetables for a no hassle dinner. My personal favourite way to use coconut oil is for baking!

The flavour profile of coconut oil adds sweetness and aroma with a hint of nuttiness to my baked goods. It works great as a substitute in many recipes that call for butter. If the recipe calls for cooking oil or canola oil, it is time for coconut oil to steal the spotlight and shine. Oh, the measurement and condition for substituting coconut oil stay the same – 1:1 of melted, chilled or room temperature. Is it oven baked sweet potato chips o clock? Because writing this just makes me crave for it.

Last but not least, refined coconut oil is the guide if you are going to the direction of pan frying. Preheat the oil in the pan at a temperature of 175 – 200 degrees Celsius for a fantastic crisp and crunchy result. Upgrade your favourite fried chicken to the next level of goodness. Or perhaps, pour it over your popcorn and sprinkle lightly with salt to accompany your movie night.

 

Can You Handle Coconut Oil?  

Although coconut is shelf stable, it can go wrong. You wouldn’t want to go there though. Similar to any other oils out there, you will always want to store it in a cool, dark place out of the direct sunlight. If you live in a tropical climate, your coconut oil may be in the liquid state because it has a melting point of 25 degrees Celsius. Avoid placing them next to the oven, microwave or stove.

The temperature fluctuations will cause the oil to melt and re-solidify, promoting a faster degradation. Always seal it real tight to keep those moulds from growing. If your once beautiful, crystal white coconut oil turns into a chunky pale yellow, like a curdled milk, it’s a sign to toss them away.

 

 

Coconut oil is undoubtedly a nutritional powerhouse, but like any other ingredients, too much is never good. To reap all the excellent benefits, it is always best to stick to the serving size which is typically one tablespoon at every meal. Moderation — whether it’s putting coconut oil on a cake or using it to pop a popcorn — is always the key.

Subscribe and sign up for an oil change in your life (and Butterkicap too!). Let us move on to a healthier, happier life with coconut. Share it with your family, friends and loved ones. Comment below on your favorite way to use coconut oil or perhaps your killer recipe. I’m nut for coconut. Are you?

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Regina Wiriadinata
Regina Wiriadinata

Hello there, pleasure to meat you.. oops, I mean meet. Hunger tends to get the best of me, which happens almost 24/7. You can probably find me at a gelateria, holding triple scoops of gelato in a cone. Please donut talk about my diet because I always end up with a slice of cake at the end of the day.

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