health benefits of coconut oil and a recipe of coconut oil dark chocolate ganache
Coconut oil is one of the healthiest dietary fats that has been used for skin care, hair care and for making many types of medicated salves, creams and lotions apart from cooking. All over in the coastal India and other south-east Asian countries, coconut has been the preferred cooking medium for everyday food. Other parts of India rarely used coconut oil as a cooking medium but it was used extensively for the everyday skin and hair care regime, the rich content of Lauric acid in coconut oil helps fight infections and inflammations.
Unfortunately, coconut oil has been demonized for being harmful for heart health along with all the other saturated fats which is absolutely wrong, the fact well supported by modern research. All the natural saturated fats including ghee and butter are good for the body in many ways.
Coconut oil is different from other saturated fats in a way that is composed of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) that are metabolized differently compared to ghee or other saturated fats. MCTs readily diffuse through the intestinal membrane, reach the bloodstream and then are processed by the liver to convert into energy almost instantly, resulting into ketones rather than converting to storage fats.
Ketones are used for energy by brain, heart and muscles improving alertness and cognitive function. Ketones also help suppress the hunger hormone (ghrelin) and enhance the satiety hormone (leptin), managing your hunger patterns better in a natural way.
Coconut oil is not stored in the body as fatty tissues but helps burn fats better due to the way it is metabolized, making one feel more energetic along with boosting immunity, joint lubrication and limiting sugar cravings.
Coconut oil does not require bile or pancreatic enzymes for its digestion because of its unique composition, that is MCTs. Also, MCTs can pass the blood brain barrier easily and supply instant energy to the brain without being dependent on glucose, the reason why coconut oil is considered good for Alzheimer's disease and control of sugar cravings as mentioned above.
There are four types of MCTs in coconut oil, namely Caproic acid, Caprylic acid, Capric acid and Lauric acid. Together, these MCTs help increase the desired HDL cholesterol and boost immunity along with providing energy via ketones. Lauric acid, which makes up over 40% of the coconut oil fat is antibacterial, antiviral and works against many other microbial pathogens and improves gut flora as well.
Clearly, there are enough reasons to start using coconut oil in everyday foods even if you are not used to coconut oil as a cooking medium. Using it as a skin moisturizer will give you an idea of its potency, try applying a thin coat just after bath on wet skin and see how wonderfully it works. Ensure you get very good quality organic virgin coconut oil to get the benefits though.
I used to make my own coconut oil till a decade ago when my daughter had skin problems due to prolonged confinement to bed. The homemade coconut oil did wonders to her dry flaky skin and Blepharitis of the eye lashes, the reason I would make a batch of coconut oil almost every month.
Recently I had to create a few recipes using coconut oil for a high tea menu I was curating for the launch of Organic India products and I was reminded of a coconut oil chocolate ganache that I had made once with my home made coconut oil. The coconut oil recently introduced by Organic India was so good that I could use it just like my home made version.
The chocolate ganache with coconut oil was used to coat amaranth laddus, a mildly sweetened snack that everyone loved at the launch event. In fact when we made the warm dark chocolate and coconut oil ganache in the back kitchen it made a sensational round of tasting for many of us, licking the spoons and fingers even before it was coated over the amaranth laddus.
I am sharing the recipe here so that you can also recreate at home and indulge yourself. I tried it with organic cocoa powder and organic dark chocolate (52%) both so I am giving both recipes.
100 ml coconut oil ( I used Organic India coconut oil)
100 ml honey (I use honey from Organic India but you can use any good honey)
50 gm or 3 tbsp organic unsweetened cocoa powder
100 ml coconut oil
150 gm dark chocolate (52% or around 60%)
Put all the ingredients in a glass mixing bowl and heat it over a double boiler. If you don't have a double boiler you can boil water in a saucepan and use a mixing bowl large enough to sit snugly over the sauce pan so the ingredients of ganache melt slowly over the regulated heat.
Start whipping the ingredients as soon as you see the coconut oil melting, the unsweetened cocoa powder takes a little vigorous whipping to get assimilated into the ganache but once incorporated it tastes really good. It will be easier to mix if you are using dark chocolate chips or a bar broken into shards.
The ganache is ready once it looks creamy and luscious. Now coat the amaranth laddus or your favourite biscotti with this and let them cool. The rich taste of coconut enriches the dark chocolate in a very intriguing way. If you don't like coconut oil chocolate ganache it means the coconut oil you used in not good quality.
This coconut oil by Organic India is so good that I feel like going to the kitchen and eat a spoonful of pure solid coconut oil on its own right now as I type this blogpost. I never imagined I will be able to eat coconut oil like this but it has happened due the good quality coconut oil I could get.