Small Plates

By Rena Unger | June 7, 2011

Photo: Mira Zaki

If you have heard the hype on coconut oil, believe it! It’s true that all fats are not equal. Coconut oil is one of the most unique and beneficial sources of fat, widely recommended for high daily consumption.

But fat makes you fat, right? Actually, it depends on the fat and in this case, coconut oil is no ordinary fat! Coconut oil is comprised of medium-chain fatty acids or MCFAs. MCFAs are shorter length than long-chain fatty acids or LCFAs. This makes them easier to breakdown and metabolize into energy very quickly vs. LCFAs which are often stored in the body as fat for later use. In the 1930’s Dr. Weston A Price discovered that cultures consuming a diet rich in coconut oil experienced great dental and overall health, as well as maintained healthy body weight – all despite consuming a high fat diet!

Photo: Mira Zaki

Coconut oil also receives a lot of attention for its high concentration of lauric acid, which supersedes that of almost all plant sources. Lauric acid contributes to optimal brain function which comes as no surprise considering the human brain is 60% fat. Think of the brain power we are losing to low-fat diets! Lauric acid also contributes to a highly functioning immune system with its astonishing anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties.  Coconut oil closely mirrors the immune system-building properties that are found in mother’s milk which helps to develop our immunity from day one.

Coconut oil is lower in calories than most fats and has a richer taste than butter. Need more reasons to incorporate this power food into your diet? Check out these incredible health benefits:

*Fat is essential for the digestion and absorption of vitamins A, D, E & K

*Helps with the absorption of calcium and magnesium

*Regulates and supports healthy hormone production and function

*Metabolism booster that strengthens thyroid function, promoting weight loss and the release of toxins

*Protects the digestive system against viruses, yeast, parasites and pathogens

*Heals bacterial conditions including bladder infections, pneumonia, ear and throat infections, urinary tract infections, meningitis, gonorrhea, cavities and food poisoning

*Battles yeast conditions including Candida, ring worm, athletes foots, thrush, jock itch, vaginal yeast and diaper rash

*Wards off parasites including lice and tapeworms

*Kills virus including mononucleosis, influenza, hepatitis C, measles, herpes and AIDS

*Supports, relieves and reduced risks associated with diabetes by regulating blood sugar and lessening hypoglycemia

*Heals and prevents heart disease, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, stoke, osteoporosis, pancreatitis, gallbladder, liver disease, kidney disease,  crohn’s, stomach ulcers, cystic fibrosis, cronic fatigue, epileptic seizures, hemorrhoids, inflammation, breast and colon cancer, periodontal disease, premature aging and many degenerative diseases

*Promotes loss of excess weight, strong bones and teeth

It’s not just for cooking either:

*One of the best face and body moisturizers on the planet! Just a little bit goes a long way in taking years off. Don’t be surprised when people ask you if you found the fountain of youth!

*Treats psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, dry & flakey skin, dandruff, skin/wound infections, protects against wrinkles, heals scars (even old ones), sagging skin, age spots and is a great exfoliant

*Great for your hair! Add a few tablespoons and wash out after 10 minutes. For a deeper conditioning leave the oil in overnight and wash out in the morning. Surprisingly, your hair will NOT be greasy, just shiny and healthy!

Photo: Mira Zaki

Coconut oil remains stable at room temperature, and stands up well to high heat. It is a superior oil for deep frying, pan frying, baking, and sauteing; you name it! Health professionals worldwide even recommend enjoying this oil on its own, by the spoonful to reap all the benefits – up to 6 tablespoons a day depending on your needs and condition. As always if you have questions on how to incorporate this oil into your diet, consult your doctor or holistic health care professional. When selecting coconut oil, it’s important to choose virgin organic coconut oil to be certain it is pure and you are getting all of the benefits.

Eat well, heal well!

Rena Unger – Holistic Nutrition Chef & Culinary Educator

If you would like to reach out to Rena Unger personally please click here.

  • 1/2 cup popping corn
  • 5 tbsp virgin coconut oil,
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground all spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt


1. Heat 2 tbsp of coconut oil in a heavy bottom pot with 4 kernels and cover with a lid. When the kernels pop add the 1/2 cup of popping corn.

2. Mix the remaining 3 tbsp of coconut oil with the spices and salt, set aside.

3. When the popping slows down turn off the heat. Remove the cover and transfer corn to a large bowl. Mix hot popcorn with spiced oil until evenly distributed.

Salt to taste and serve.

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