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How to Use Coconut Oil in Cooking for Health

Updated on July 31, 2012
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Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.


Most of us have heard of and probably used vegetable oil, canola oil, olive oil, and peanut oil. There are a few others you can easily find on the grocery shelves, but how many of us really think of coconut oil?

This is an exotic flavor to most especially in the States. It is reserved for foreign dishes and the like. The truth is that coconut oil could and probably should be a part of your diet. It is easily used in the kitchen and as a plethora of health benefits.

Health Benefits

To fully give coconut oil the credit it deserves with all the reported uses for your health, a book or two would have to be written. That is not what is being done here. Instead, I am going to list a few benefits to give you an idea of just how much coconut oil can do for you.

  • Saturated Fat - Yes, I did say saturated fat which is supposed to be horrible for your health. But if you listen to the research, you'll discover that like many things you shouldn't stereotype. All saturated fats are not bad. Some, such as coconut oil, can actually be beneficial and help your cholesterol numbers. So don't let the fact that it is a saturated fat get in the way of enjoying coconut oil.
  • Diabetes - You should avoid all oils as a diabetic, right? Maybe not. Studies, both professional and personal, are showing that coconut oil might actually help to regulate the blood sugar and help burn fat. Talk to your doctor about this and see how you can help your diabetes with coconut oil.
  • Body Repair - Most people don't realize that their body is being repaired every minute of every day. In fact, every second is new cell growth and tissue repair in your body.There are many natural products that can help the body repair's quality and the speed it can be done at. Coconut oil is one of those.
  • Infection Fighter - When viruses and foreign objects like germs get into the body, the body begins attacking them. They fight them off. This means the body needs strong warriors including white blood cells and the ability to rebound from attacks. Coconut helps strengthen the body to fight infections. This doesn't mean you won't get one, but you can overcome it faster with fewer side effects.
  • Immune System Booster - This goes along the same lines as the infection fighter. Coconut not only fights the infection that enters the body, but it can help strengthen the barrier that prevents the attacker from entering in the first place. This means you are stronger and have more energy.
  • Increases Energy - A strong immune system means you have the energy you need to function throughout the day. When you are weak and tired all the time, your body cannot fight the viruses and your immune system is week. These all go hand in hand with the coconut oil helping when it is a regular part of your diet.
  • Improves Digestion - Your digestive system is very important for your health. That is how the needed nutrients you consume are absorbed into the body. Coconut oil helps the digestive track work better and more efficient.
  • Great Taste - If you don't like the taste of coconut, you might be looking at this bullet point in horror. If you do like, you are probably wondering how this has to do with health. Actually, how food tastes has a lot to do with your health. If you don't like how it tastes, you won't eat it. Coconut oil gives a rich flavor that is wonderful and encourages you to eat some foods you rarely did before.

Coconut Oil in Solid State
Coconut Oil in Solid State | Source

What To Look For

Now that you know how beneficial coconut oil can be, do you have to crack open a coconut to get it? Well, you can if you want to do a lot of unnecessary hard work. It's better to buy it straight out as oil.

You can find coconut oil as a liquid or a solid. The solid is the more common way because it is easier to store and less messy if it spills. There is not much difference in how you use them. The solid can become a liquid easily by heating it. If you want to sauté vegetables in the oil, take some solid coconut oil and put it in the skillet. The heat will melt it for you very quickly.

There are many different brands which I won't discuss here but which you need to research and see how others have found them to work for them. Not all coconut oil is the same. Not all companies are the same.

The best kind is the virgin or extra virgin coconut oil. This means there has been less processing done to the oil which makes it purer with more nutrients that are beneficial to you.

Using It In Cooking

So, you know why you should use it. You know what to look for in purchasing it. Now, how do you use this stuff? It's easier than you might think.

  • Replace any oil - You use oil in many ways. You sauté foods in oil. You bake with oil. You roast meat with oil. Instead of using the oils you have been using, try coconut oil.This can be done in breads, cakes, cookies, frying foods, sauteing foods, and so much more. Just keep in mind that it will have a coconut flavor which can be a really good thing.
  • Replace any butter - Butter is an oil, but most people don't fully realize this. I use butter in frying eggs, making French Toast, omelets, and cooking fresh vegetables. I can use coconut oil for any of that and have a unique, great tasting dish.
  • As a spread - You put butter on toast and bread, right? Use coconut oil in its solid form. Yes, you can do that and have great tasting snacks.

See, how easy it is to use coconut oil in your cooking for healthier foods. Your body will thank you as you give it the benefits of coconut oil.

Where do you see more uses for coconut oil in your cooking?

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    • profile image

      Kristyne 4 years ago

      I love coconut oil . I use for


    • Helena Ricketts profile image

      Helena Ricketts 5 years ago from Indiana

      I had no idea that coconut oil was so useful! I'm saving this as a reference for later. Great info, thanks!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon

      I love coconut oil though my doctor was arguing with me about how it is loaded with fat, yada yada yada - oh well~ I keep using it - I also give it to my dogs as it is more easily digestible than fish oil which we were giving them. It has also helped my long hair malamute with his itching and his allergies - so there must be something to it, eh?

      Great subject and a delicious one at that - we put a tad in the wok when we are doing stirfry and I've used it in a dressing on an Asian coleslaw - wow!