Jul 14, 2012

Virgin Coconut Oil- Delicious Health Benefits. You had me at "Coconut"

I started cooking with virgin coconut oil years ago when I read an article about its versatility in cooking. Depending on the recipe and the flavor profile I'm going for, I use coconut oil either in place of, in addition to or in conjunction with other oils and butter. It imparts a subtle, sweet, almost nutty coconut essence to foods, creating an intriguing flavor that can be difficult to identify, but that is unmistakably delicious.

Coconut oil is solid up to its 76°melting point and can be used in solid or liquid form. I use it in recipes for quick breads, cookies and cakes as well as a cooking medium on the griddle for french toast and pancakes and for frying coconut shrimp and plantains, for example.
In recent years I have learned that virgin coconut oil has many proven health benefits as well as many other uses beyond the kitchen. Coconut oil got a bad rap 20-30 years ago, most memorably for its use on movie theatre popcorn, however, extensive research has since proven that "...the (saturated) fat in coconut oil is unique and different from most all other fats." "The type of saturated fats in [virgin] coconut oil is easily absorbed by the body and used for energy. Here are some more benefits of coconut oil or fats:
  1. Helps with Digestion by coating the membrane of the digestion tract.
  2. Antiviral and antimicrobial. Has lauric acid which converts to monolaurin which helps the body fight against viruses.
  3. Speeds up Metabolism. As a triacylglyercol oil it goes to the liver and is converted to energy which speeds up the metabolism. Also, more bile is produced which breaks down fat.
  4. Good for Skin and Hair. Treats eczema, dandruff, and dermatitis. Mix 4 tbsp of coconut oil with a quart jar warm water and pour over hair and scalp. Leave it for 24 hours then rinse. You’ll notice a huge difference in how moisturized your scalp and hair look and feel.
  5. Poison Antidote for aluminum phosphide poisonings. This is found a lot as an ingredient in pest control."  Dr. Natalie Pennington, Oxygen Magazine, May 2012
Beyond the health benefits and culinary uses cited above coconut oil can be used as:
One of my favorite recipes in which to use coconut oil is banana bread. The subtle coconut flavor pairs brilliantly with bananas and walnuts. I used half butter and half coconut oil in this batch because 1/4 cup was all I had. Time to re-order on Amazon.

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup virgin coconut oil (solid or liquid)
2 farm fresh eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/ 1/2 cups flour
3 large, very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom and sides of a loaf pan with coconut oil.Combine sugar and coconut  oil in a large bowl or stand mixer & mix until light and fluffy. Stir in eggs and vanilla.
 Add flour, baking powder and baking soda and stir by hand until just combined. 
Fold in bananas and walnuts. Do not overmix batter.
 Pour into prepared loaf pan. Bake for approximately 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Additional reading (resources, research & uses):
Health Benefits of Coconut Oil, use of Lauric Acid in the Body and Composition of Coconut Oil
Research on Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has been described as the healthiest oil on earth
80 uses for coconut oil


  1. I would love to try this as a substitue in my baked goods! I love to bake! :) liked you and mother earth on FB as well. Thanks!

  2. I would love to try this in my baking recipies! :)

    1. Congratulations Chrissy! You have won the subscription to Mother Earth News! Please email me with your shipping address within 48 hours: Kathy@The-Chicken-Chick.com

  3. We use coconut oil in everything that we used to use other oils in!

  4. I'm gonna bake with it! :)

  5. Martha Waugh7/16/12, 10:20 PM

    I've used coconut oil in home made hand lotion, but never for cooking. Thanks for the advice.

  6. Is it bad to say that I've never heard of coconut oil before today?!?! Definitely looking into it since I am going for a healthier approach in my diet!!!

  7. I bought my first Coconut Oil when I moved my mother in with my husband & I. She has advanced alzhiemers & from all the magazine articles & talk shows singing the praises I thought we had nothing to lose & a hope that mom would improve. Unfortunately, we weren't able to continue taking care of her, she was just too far advanced....but the health benefits of Coconut Oil is amazing & it tastes great in baked items as well as being used as an oil for stir frying, sautee', pan seared chicken breasts to just name a few. :) Hope to win the subscription to Mother Earth News...I normally buy a copy at the newstand just haven't had the extra money to buy a year subscription....or too lazy to fill out the form ?? LOL

  8. I use coconut oil for cooking, homemade deodorant, lotions and much more.

  9. I'd love to try your banana bread recipe! I'm always looking for tasty, healthy things for the family to snack on - and especially things to bring to family gatherings! :)

    The magazine subscription would be wonderful! If love to be able to have regular access to the magazine. I haven't been splurging too much on anything because our "extra" money has been beefing up our chicken coop and run.

  10. Esther Widgren7/21/12, 1:47 PM

    My coconut oil jar is empty! Need to go shopping soon :-)

  11. Oh my... If the bread is as good as the batter they will be fantastic! I'm a big fan of raw cookie dough and cake batter and this is one of the yummiest I've ever eaten! Can't wait to try one when they come out of the oven! (I made muffins instead of bread because I like to freeze them for a quick easy breakfast)

  12.  I would like to suggest TROPICAL TRADITIONS for your Coconut Oil instead of Amazon. I wouldn't buy mine anywhere else! IT'S THE BEST!!!

  13. Kathy, I just got a 78 oz jar of Nutiva @ Costco last week! Hopefully they carry it near you as well!!

  14. TheChickenChick12/19/12, 10:31 PM

    Great info, Molli! I'll have to check it out because I'm just about to run out of my current jar!

  15. Robin Fallot1/9/14, 10:09 AM

    I just got some coconut oil yesterday and used it last night when cooking venison burger, didn't take much and really added to flavor, also didn't stick to pan. Excited to try other recipes.

  16. Have you tried oil pulling with coconut oil yet? Check it out! I just started using it and I'm anxious to see if my dentist can tell a difference in the health of my gums.

  17. Jacki Morrow10/12/14, 1:04 AM

    I like to add some dried berries and chocolate chips to my banana bread as well, 1/4 cup or so each. It's easy to get overpowering with the chocolate. Dried pineapple is good too.