Tweaklet #48 – Coconut Oil

In the last few years, there has been a growing interest in coconut oil. It’s no longer found just in Asian supermarkets, it’s in every supermarket!

But there’s still a lot of confusion about coconut oil and whether it’s actually good for you. We are still often told that it raises cholesterol. So let’s explore.

Yes, coconut oil is largely composed of saturated fat but it behaves very differently in the body to other types. Recent studies show that coconut oil does not adversely affect LDL, or what we think of as bad cholesterol, whatsoever, and it’s the only saturated fat that significantly increases the good HDL cholesterol.

There are currently over 1500 studies proving that when used in moderation, coconut oil is very healthy food.

Here are some interesting things I’ve learned about coconut oil – it is a natural anti-microbial, which helps to kill bad viruses,  bacteria…, Fungi, yeast and parasites. This is great news for gut health because it helps to weed out unwanted organisms and allow healthy bacteria to flourish.

Plus the type of fat that coconut oil is means it is readily burned as energy and not stored, so it promotes weight loss by increasing the burning of calories.

I love using coconut oil. It adds a slight nutty rich flavour and it has a higher smoke point so it’s great to use in Asian stir-fries and just for medium heat pan-frying generally. It goes equally well in sweet dishes and you can make delicious bliss balls and other sweet treats. You can add coconut oil to smoothies, to oatmeal, to tea and coffee, to homemade mayonnaise and to scrambled egg.

In winter coconut oil goes rather solid and in summer is completely liquid. If you find it annoying to shave off chunks of it in winter, then here’s a tip from The Coconut Mama .com who suggests freezing portions in an ice tray and popping one out as you need it. Thanks, Coconut Mama!

And a big shout out to Dr Michael Murray at Doctor Murray.com, whose up to date knowledge and research on coconut oil is invaluable.

As always look for the best quality coconut oil you can find. It isn’t all about price and you will find good quality brands that don’t cost a fortune.

And that’s it fellow Tweakleters! Another tiny food tweak to get us thinking more about how we can use coconut oil.

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Tweaklet #37 – Fermented Foods

If you’ve been tuning into Tweaklets for a while, you know I often talk about gut health and what a difference a healthy gut makes to our overall health.

Well, today I have another good way to improve our digestion, boost our immunity and help with our weight, which is by eating fermented foods. Those familiar with the concept of fermented foods will cheer and those new too it will shudder. Food that’s been fermented?

I know I get it, I shuddered too!

Fermented foods contain a whole lot of good bacteria (otherwise known as probiotics)….. and research suggests that these mighty microbes help look after our gut.

Here are some fermented foods you can have fun making.

Sauerkraut… t’s not just something you have with German sausage, it’s been around for thousands of years. All it is, is cabbage and salt. Choose a good quality sea salt and add it to your cabbage and then massage the cabbage very well until breaks down and releases all its liquid. Then you simply put it in a well-sealed jar, put it in a dark place in the cupboard and leave for a couple of weeks. It’s delicious and versatile and so good for your gut!

If you like spicy food then try kim chi, the Korean equivalent of sauerkraut. There are many different recipes for this that range from simply adding chilli to a sauerkraut recipe, to the more authentic style that includes adding Asian radish, ginger, green onions, nori, and garlic.  It’s a really interesting process to watch and learn.

Other top fermented foods included Kefir – a fermented yoghurt drink….. Kombucha – a tangy fermented tea. …….Miso – a fermented paste made from barley, rice or soybeans which can be used as a soup or dressing………Tempeh, which is similar to tofu but fermented………and yoghurt.

Fermented food is all about boosting our gut and digestive function and that means better immunity and all-round better health!

So take a look at some recipes and see if one of them appeals to you. Just don’t do what I did and forget about some jars of sauerkraut I made, only to find them a VERY long time later in the back of the cupboard.

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