Guide to Adding Coconut Oil to Your Diet

By now, you are probably aware of some of the health benefits of coconut oil, when used on the outside of your body. You know many people use it to get soft and shiny hair, have tried coconut oil pulling for white teeth and fresh breath, and might prefer coconut oil for the many different beauty and skin benefits.

However, as a functional medicine Los Angeles, we are here to remind you not to forget about the large impact it can have on your health as well. This is not when you use it on your skin or hair, but when you actually ingest it. Adding coconut oil to your diet is good for you, and luckily, very easy to do.

Why You Should Add Coconut Oil to Your Diet

Before talking about the different ways to add it to your diet, you might want to know exactly why this is so important. First of all, you should know that coconut oil is not a fatty and unhealthy oil like vegetable oil and sometimes canola oil, depending on how it is used. It can handle higher temperatures, but it is considered a healthy fat no matter how you use it.

When you add more coconut oil to your diet, it can help you feel fuller faster and for longer, which is going to help with weight loss. It also helps with weight loss by replacing unhealthy cooking oils and butter, as well as increasing fat loss overall. In addition to the weight loss benefits, more coconut oil in your diet means natural antibacterial properties, improved brain function, and better digestion. You may also notice that you have better energy when you have coconut oil and it can even lower your blood pressure and decrease your risk for heart disease.

Knowing all of this from our functional medicine Studio City, you now understand why you should try to add more coconut to your diet. Here are some different ideas for how to do that.

1. Add it to Your Drinks

A super easy way to get more coconut oil into your diet is by adding it to drinks. You can add it to hot or cold drinks, though adding it to hot drinks is a little easier. Because coconut oil comes in a solid form, it needs to be melted before you can mix it in with anything. However, if you are using it with something that is already going to be heated up, like a hot drink, then you don’t need to melt it first. This makes it a little easier to use, particularly with hot drinks like coffee or hot chocolate.

The following includes some different ways to add coconut oil to your hot drinks.

  • Spiced Coconut Latte
    This first hot drink recipe is a coffee latte drink that also includes some spices. While this is perfect in the fall or winter, it doesn’t have to be a seasonal drink. You can enjoy it any time of year, particularly when you want to warm up with something healthy and delicious. This latte will help with digestion and boost your metabolism, which is always a plus!For the spiced coconut latte, you will need to start with coffee that is brewed, preferably an organic variety. You will then mix in some coconut oil, along with grass-fed butter, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and vanilla extract. This gives you one super delicious latte.
  • Coconut Oil Creamer
    If you drink coffee regularly, but you don’t want to have to mix a fancy latte every morning, then creamer might be a better option for you. You can start with any type of coffee you want, then mix in a tablespoon or so of coconut oil creamer into the cup. It is as simple as that! To make your own creamer, combine raw honey with coconut oil, pure vanilla extract, and some cinnamon or cocoa powder. Whisk them together into a smooth consistency and save in a container until you are ready to use it. This can also be used in hot cocoa or tea.
  • Fruit Smoothie With Coconut
    You can also use coconut oil in cold drinks, preferably those that will be blended, like a smoothie. You can melt the coconut oil and then blend it right in with the other ingredients, making it a super easy way to add coconut oil to your diet. You can make any type of smoothie you want, as coconut oil used in small quantities does not have a powerful flavor. It adds a little texture and a lot of nutrition to any type of smoothie you enjoy. If you prefer juicing, add it to your juice at the end, then mix well.

2. Cook With Coconut Oil

The next way you can add coconut oil to your diet is actually one of the most common and popular methods to go with. This involves actually cooking with the coconut oil, whereas you replace some other forms of oil or butter and add in coconut oil instead. For the most part, your dish is not going to taste heavily like coconut from the oil, but it adds some extra health benefits to your meals.

  • Replace Your Cooking Oil
    Naturally, a super simple way to cook with coconut oil is simply by replacing other types of oil with it. Keep a container of coconut oil in your cupboard so that it is easy to grab when oil is needed for a dish. You don’t want to replace all your oil with it, as some oils like almond and olive oil are good for you. However, the ones that are less healthy and often contain toxic ingredients, such as vegetable or corn oil, should be replaced with coconut oil. This is really simple to do when cooking on the stove because you usually add the oil first, which allows the solid form of coconut oil to melt quickly.
  • Stir Fry With Coconut Oil
    A more specific way to use coconut oil in your cooking is by making stir fry with it. While coconut oil can technically be used for all temperatures, it is better for medium-temperature cooking, going up to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. It is really ideal for making stir fry, which also happens to be a really healthy dish. You are going to get the nutritional benefits of the oil, plus all the added vitamins and minerals from your veggies. Plus, it adds a bit of tropical flavor to your stir-fry.Choose any type of stir fry, but preferably one with lots of veggies. This can be a vegetable stir fry or one that has a protein source like fish or chicken. Just add a tablespoon or two of coconut oil into the stir fry pan, heating it up until it melts. You can then add in your vegetables and cook until soft. This works for fresh or frozen vegetables. Serve it with rice and you have a super healthy meal.
  • Breakfast Foods
    Don’t rule out making delicious breakfast foods with coconut oil! For example, you can use it to make yummy and healthy fried eggs. Add the normal amount of oil you would to the pan of coconut oil and let it melt. Crack a few eggs onto the pan and cook them like you normally would. Not only is this healthy, but it adds a fun flavor your family will certainly enjoy.
  • Pancakes
    Coconut is perfect for making pancakes in a much healthier way. Not only can you make them by replacing other oil with coconut oil, but you can even use coconut flour and reduce the carbs a bit. Aside from these ingredients, add other typical pancake ingredients like sugar, baking powder, salt, milk, and eggs. Just make sure you melt the oil before adding it to the pancake mixture and pouring it onto the pan.

3. Use Coconut Oil For Flavoring

Another way you can use coconut oil in your food and get more of it into your diet is by using it for flavoring. This is when you aren’t just relying on the coconut oil for the nutritional benefits it provides you, but also thinking about the flavor it can add to the different dishes.

You can really use coconut oil to flavor just about anything, as long as you melt it first to a liquid consistency and it is on a food that absorbs the oil. Always remember this is a type of oil, so don’t just put it on anything. Here are some ideas to help get you started:

  • Popcorn
    Using coconut oil to flavor your popcorn not only can be done after you have made it, but you can actually cook the popcorn right in the coconut oil. This allows you to avoid any artificial ingredients in the microwave bag of popcorn and gives you a fresh taste you can’t beat. This is actually really easy to do. You just need to heat up some coconut oil in a deep pot or pan and melt it, then remove the pot from the heat. Add popcorn kernels and put it back on the heat, then turn it off when everything has finished popping.
  • Oatmeal
    Another food that can be flavored with the help of coconut oil is oatmeal. This allows you to make your favorite type of oatmeal and add a tropical and nutty flavor with the coconut oil. All you need to do is make your oatmeal with a little less water than normal, then add a little bit of coconut oil to it.

4. Bake With Coconut Oil

You already know that you can cook with coconut oil, but don’t forget about all the baking opportunities available to you. There are actually many different ways to use coconut oil in your baking, allowing you to replace oil or butter in certain recipes. While you do need to be aware of the flavor coconut oil can provide for your baked dishes, for the most part, you can use it easily.

One of the more important things to remember when you are baking with coconut oil is that when it is mixed with cold ingredients in the batter, the coconut oil solidifies. This is similar to having butter in a recipe. So you should try to use only room temperature ingredients when combining coconut oil with ingredients for a baked dish. Here are some different options where you bake with coconut oil.

  • Banana Bread
    If you enjoy banana bread, you will love adding coconut oil to the recipe. This only requires about 10 minutes of prep and a little under an hour to bake the bread. You can get up early to have warm banana bread ready for breakfast for your family, or simply make it a snack or treat when you have leftover bananas that are over-ripened and you don’t want to waste them.
    For a simple banana bread, combine bananas with cinnamon, baking soda, salt, vanilla extract, eggs, coconut oil, and honey or maple syrup. To make it as healthy as possible, try to use organic bananas that are mashed and raw or organic honey. Cage-free eggs are always a better option when baking. You will also need flour, though for banana bread, whole wheat flour is usually preferred.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
    You can also make your favorite chocolate chip cookies, but replace the butter and oil in the recipe with coconut oil instead. One thing to note here is that when blending the ingredients, you actually want to keep the oil in its solid form. It is similar to when you add butter to cookie dough mix and blend it in; you don’t melt the butter, but cut it into small cubes and mix it in. You will use a lot of standard chocolate chip cookie ingredients like sugar, brown sugar, coconut oil, egg, vanilla extract, baking soda, salt, and flour

5. Make Healthier Fried Foods

We mentioned in a previous section that coconut oil can be used for cooking, but that it is better for medium-temperature cooking. However, you can still use it for high-temperature cooking like frying, you just need to understand how it differs from oil like vegetable or canola oil. There is a good amount of saturated fat in coconut oil, making it a good option for frying.

The flavor of coconut oil will alter your fried foods and give them a bit of a nutty flavor, so keep this in mind when deciding what you want to fry with it. You will lose quite a bit of the coconut flavor, but depending on how much is used, you should be aware of how the taste might change. With frying with coconut oil, less is more, so just use as much as you think is needed for your frying purposes.

There are many different things you can fry by using coconut oil, though you might want to test a small amount of sweet foods like donuts or crepes before you make a large batch. Better foods to fry with coconut oil are:

    • Chicken or beef
    • Duck And lamb
    • All types of fish
    • Vegetables
    • Eggs
    • Add it to Soup and Chili

Let’s get a little more involved in cooking with coconut oil. Adding coconut oil to your diet is not a difficult process, but you might not be completely aware of how to add it to some of your favorite dishes. If it is cold out or you just want some comfort food, then soup or chili is perfect. Not only that, these are ideal for using coconut oil because the soup or chili is cooked hot, which makes it really easy to melt the coconut oil right in the pot or slow cooker.

Here are some examples of soup and chili recipes that you can make with coconut oil. Keep in mind you can experiment on your own, altering these recipe ideas or adding the coconut oil to your favorite recipe.

  • Broccoli Cheese Soup
    This is a really good soup recipe when you want something healthy and filling, but also fulfills those comfort food urges. The broccoli cheese soup is easy to make and is really easy to do with coconut oil. A typical broccoli cheese coup will ask for about ¼ cup or so of butter, depending on the amount of soup you are trying to make. Cut this amount of butter in half or whatever your recipe asks for, then use the other half as coconut oil. This makes it super easy. Other ingredients might include chicken stock, cream, flour, onion, broccoli, and carrots. Of course, you also want to add the cheese to the soup.
  • Spicy Coconut Butternut Squash Soup
    For something a little different, you can try this spicy and flavorful soup. It provides something a little different, but also healthy with vegetables and coconut oil. You can enjoy this soup in the fall or winter when butternut squash is in season, or other times of the year when you just want some warm comfort food. It requires typical soup ingredients like chicken stock, butternut squash, onion, ginger, and spices. Then you can use coconut oil instead of canola oil, along with coconut milk for the cream. Add some spicy with a red curry paste.

7. Eat it Directly From the Spoon

This might not sound like the most appealing option, but you should know that coconut oil is safe to take straight. It can definitely be easier to add it to your dishes, such as making soup or baking cookies that have coconut oil in them. But if you really want to have more coconut oil in your diet for the purpose of being healthier, then consider taking it by the spoonful.

You should first taste a small amount of coconut oil plain so that you are familiar with the taste of it. However, if you have ever done coconut oil pulling to clean your teeth and freshen your breath, then you are already aware of the taste. The texture can be a little off-putting, so some people prefer warming it up and melting it than drinking it really fast. Others are okay with taking a spoonful of solid coconut oil and letting it melt in their mouth before swallowing it.

If you want to try taking coconut oil from the spoonful, then you should try to do it about 20 minutes before a meal. This is ideal because coconut oil can actually help you feel fuller for a longer period of time, which is going to increase your metabolism, increase your energy, and decrease the overall amount of food that you eat. Then you also get all of the other health benefits of adding coconut oil to your diet.

8. Tips For Storing Your Coconut Oil

By this point, you are aware of the different methods used to add coconut oil to your diet. This information is useful when you want to benefit from having more coconut oil in your life, without just using it on your skin or hair. Now we want to discuss ways to store the coconut oil so that it remains fresh for you on a regular basis.

  • Keep the Coconut Oil Fresh
    The first thing you need to know about storing your coconut oil is that while it stays fresh for a long time, the shelf life won’t last forever. However, by storing it properly and at the right temperature, you are able to have it for as long as the use-by date says on the container, but most likely you will go through the container of coconut oil without having to replace it.
    Most coconut oil will be in solid form, with a container that should be left at room temperature or in a cold and dark place. It is not uncommon to store it in the same place as other cooking or baking ingredients, such as a pantry with other cooking oils. You may also have a container in the bathroom or bedroom if you also use it for your skin and hair, which is also fine. Unlike other oil, it doesn’t need to always be left in a cool place, but you should avoid the refrigerator as it makes an even harder consistency.
    If you want the coconut oil to be a little softer and closer to a liquid without having to warm it up, you can keep it in an area of your home that is a little warmer. Just make sure it is not left in direct sunlight, as this can cause it to spoil prematurely.
  • Combine it With Other Oils
    Another way to keep the coconut oil in more of a liquid consistency is by combining it with other oils. If you have ever seen a container of coconut oil as a clear liquid, then it is not pure coconut oil. It is mixed with something else, allowing the properties of the other ingredients to keep the actual coconut oil melted and a liquid. So if you want your coconut oil to be liquid at all times, you will need to mix it with an oil like olive oil or almond oil. Of course, this also means the other oil goes into your dishes every time it is used.
  • Pay Attention to the Date
    While coconut oil does last a long time, usually with a much longer shelf life than other types of cooking oil, it is not going to last forever. It is important to keep this in mind when you are starting to add it to your diet more often. You don’t want the oil to spoil and keep using it, only to find out much later the reason your food has been tasting bad is simply because you let the oil sit in your kitchen for too long.

We hope this blog helps you learn more about coconut oil. And if you are in need of functional medicine Burbank, please do not hesitate to connect with us at Functional Medicine Los Angeles!

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