Until recently a coconut oil diet was not considered a healthy food in the West, due to the fact that it is high in saturated fats.
Nutritionists now believe that it contains the right kind of saturated fats as it is high in medium chain fatty acids. These are not stored in the body but convert quickly to energy and help the body burn fat and suppress hunger.
In addition around 50% of these fatty acids are lauric acid whch is found in human breast milk and contains potent antibacterial properties.
Coconut products are gaining in popularity amongst chefs and celebrities; Miranda Kerr reportedly starts her day with green tea and coconut oil. Other uses for this versatile food include coconut milk, ice lollies, yoghurt, coconut oil, flakes and flour.
Coconut contains carbohydrates, fats, protein and minerals while coconut water is high in essential electrolytes making it a beneficial rehydration drink after exercise.
Yoghurt can be made from coconut milk and is ideal for people intolerant to dairy products; COYO is a popular dairy and sugar free coconut milk yoghurt which is now available in Tesco stores. Waitrose, Sainsburys and Ocado also stock a similar product.
Coconut blossom nectar is used to sweeten coconut ice cream making it a healthier option than normal ice cream. This is because the nectar is low on the glycemic index and lower in fructose than other syrups. You can also obtain the nectar in a crystallised form which is ideal for cooking and baking and has a rich butterscotch flavour.
Various spreads or butters are made from coconut flesh and there is even one that is combined with cacao to produce a healthy version of chocolate spread.
Use grated in curries, puddings and cakes. Use coconut oil for frying, roasting, baking and the spreads in place of butter.
Fish Curry Recipe
Heat the oil in a good sized pan and fry the seeds and cardamom for a few seconds then add the onion, garlic, ginger and chillies. Cook gently until soft then add the tomatoes, coconut, coconut milk, asafoetida and turmeric. Cook until the tomatoes are soft and the liquid reduced to leave a thickish sauce.
Meanwhile cook the fish in a little coconut oil for a minute or two skin side down.
Turn the fish over and remove the skin which will peel off easily. Roughly chop into bite size pieces. Add to the sauce. Place in a large warmed dish, sprinkle with chopped coriander or parsley and serve with warm pitta breads or nans.
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