When it comes to anything tropical, my general response is, "sign me up!" These nutrient-rich, healthy fats are no exception. Cacao Butter, Palm Oil, and Coconut Oil are tropical oils that are lovely to cook with and are outstanding for the health of your body and your skin. They're like a tropical vacation right in your own kitchen or bathroom!
Try all 3!
I cook with Sunfood brand cacao butter because it's made from non-GMO, certified organic heirloom cacao beans. Most other cacao butters are exposed to temperatures as high as 300ºF during processing, but their cacao butter’s temperature is never allowed to reach over 118°F, preserving delicate enzymes and nutrients. No chemicals or solvents are used at any point during the process either.
Cacao butter is lovely to eat, but is also heavenly on the skin! The shea butter used in any homemade beauty or personal care recipe can likely be substituted with cacao butter. It's a velvety moisturizer that's rich in antioxidants and has been known to soothe dermatological conditions. Its melting point is at your body temperature, so it turns from solid to liquid when applied to the skin.
Many items from MadeOn: Skin Care contain cacao butter.
They're absolutely awesome!
Look for their "Au Chocolat" skin bars, hard lotion, lip balms, and even cocoa butter wafers to make-it-yourself!
What is palm oil?
Palm oil is extracted from the flesh of the plum-sized palm fruit. Refined palm oil is about 50% saturated fat, 39% monounsaturated fat, and only around 11% polyunsaturated fat, making it stable for cooking (and storage) and is semi-solid at room temperature. It can be used as a primary cooking oil. Palm oil is one of the most heavily consumed dietary oils in the world - except in the US. However, it's becoming more common and is now often seen at regular grocery stores.
Red palm oil, the highest quality palm oil, is rich in vitamin E, is heart-healthy, and good for the immune system (scientific study). Its red color comes from the healthy carotenoid pigments it contains (the plant source of vitamin A). Virgin Palm Oil is one of the richest natural plant sources of carotenoids with concentration of 500–700 ppm. It has 15 times more carotenoids than carrots and 300 times more than tomatoes. Vitamins A and E are also very lovely for the skin due to their potent antioxidant properties (read my article "Be Beautiful with Antioxidants").
Palm oil can be found in a non-hydrogenated (non-trans fat) shortening, which is wonderful in baked goods and in my recipe for vanilla frosting. YUM! (It's white in color, not red.) Both palm oil shortening & cacao butter are used in my delicious recipe for Wonderful White Chocolate, too.
The source of palm oil can be of concern to those who are passionate about sustainable agriculture. Tropical Traditions offers a Palm Oil Shortening that comes from Eco-friendly Sustainable Farms. They say "'Tropical Traditions Palm Shortening comes from small scale family farms in South America. These farmers are certified by ProForest, which ensures that they meet strict social, environmental and technical criteria. With regard to environmental criteria, the assessments are carried out at the landscape and operational level at both the farms and processing facilities. These assessments cover environmental impact on the soil, water, air, biodiversity and local communities. The lands the farmers use are not lands that were deforested. The lands used to grow the palm fruit are lands previously used for agricultural purposes (cattle, rice, banana)."
What is coconut oil?
Coconut oil is probably the most common tropical oil used in the US today and is one of the best cooking oils you can use. It is the oil extracted from coconut meat. It has been a staple cooking oil for thousands of years in tropical climates. As a cooking oil, its chemical structure is kept in tact and therefore is resistant to oxidation, even when used in higher cooking temperatures, unlike most vegetable oils. I, myself, often use it as a dairy-free substitute for butter.
There are hundred of uses for coconut oil!
Not only is coconut oil spectacular in cooking, it's also wonderfully healthy for the skin and hair. It's found in natural lotions, deodorant, creams, massage oils, sunscreen, hair oils, bug repellent, and more! (Click on "Skin Care Products" tab)
Many people use it for dental health and in the oil-pulling method, too.
Research shows that the medium chain fatty acids (MCT oil) found in coconut oil can boost the body’s metabolism, raise body temperatures, and help provide greater energy which can lead to weight loss. Coconut oil is also rich in lauric acid, a nutrient that supports the body’s immune system. Coconut oil has amazing anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties.
While the use of coconut oil does not purport to treat or cure any specific disease or condition, many people have reported marvelous health benefits after using coconut oil, some of which include:
- improves Alzheimer's disease
- improves Type 1 & 2 diabetes
- improves many skin diseases
- provides peak performance energy and endurance
- kills candida fungus
- helps with hypothyroidism
- conditions and strengthens hair
- weight loss
Recent studies show that the traditionally-made (less refined) coconut oils have the highest amounts of antioxidants. That's why...
Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil
This is the ONLY brand I buy because their quality is unsurpassed and I'm very comfortable with their traditional farming practices and manufacturing processes.
Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is "top of the line" and absolutely heavenly.
If you want a lighter flavor, try the organic "expeller pressed" (which is my favorite) or the "100% pure coconut oil". They're both great if you don't want a coco-nutty taste.
Have more questions? Read Tropical Traditions' FAQ page. It details the differing qualities in all their varities of coconut oil.
BONUS! If you order by clicking on any of my links to Tropical Traditions, and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past (brand new customer with a first-time order), you will receive this FREE book on Virgin Coconut Oil!
This book is packed with testimonies and solid research revealing the health benefits of coconut oil, and includes over 85 recipes showing how people can incorporate coconut into their diet. (Retail Price: $25.00)
Gotta love that!
Hi Jenny, i didn't know coconut was so good for you! I think I'll make some muffins with banana,coconut and pecans.love,mom
The muffins sound healthy & delicious, mom!
Hi, Jenny, I like all the info in this mailinng. I have started to try to use coconut oil for cooking, ex. on the stove to grease the pan for making pancakes, etc. I have noticed it made my pancakes stick to the pan, even non stick pans, Maybe I am using the wrong kind. I was using olive oil for all of my frying but read that olive oil looses its health benefits when heated. What kind of oil works for you to say fry fish in a pan, make pancakes, brown meat before baking, etc. I have been trying to eliminate using vegetable oils like shortening, margarine and other non healthy oils from our diet. I use lard to make pie crust now like our grandparents did because our bodies can digest and break it down easier than vegetable oils. They say real butter is healthier but just limit our consumption of both or things made with them because high fat foods are noanning on sending out a New Year letter with family pictures from both weddings.
Olive oil is actually fine to cook with as long as it doesn't reach the smoke point. The fatty acids are quite resistant to heating. I wrote an article all about olive oil here: http://www.aunaturalenutrition.com/blog/oven-roasted-veggies-everything-olive-oil
I'm not sure how to help your problem with sticking to the pan other than to suggest you just use more oil or butter. ;-)
Thanks for being a loyal reader & I'm looking forward to your letter!
Jenny Yelle, MHNE Holistic Wellness Educator
Hello lovelies! Thanks for visiting Au Naturale Nutrition and sharing my passion for holistic living and whole foods. I love to help my readers take a natural approach to beauty and aging gracefully. Radiate beautiful health!
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