This vegan-themed issue couldn’t pass without a special mention for the coconut, writes fitness industry expert Cheryl Hersey.
Our modern day obsession for coconut products coincides with the rise of clean living and eating. Coconut oil is the storecupboard ingredient of the moment and sales of this butter substitute have risen from £1 million to over £16 million in the last three years. But it’s not just coconut oil we are cooking with; you can now buy coconut flour and coconut palm sugar for a truly coco-nutty baking experience.
This makes life a lot easier for dairy, soya and gluten intolerants but we’re all buying into the coco-madness and when we’re not cooking with coconuts, we’re drinking coconut water or putting the oil on our face, skin and hair. What’s interesting though, is when you start looking into the health benefits of coconut oil there’s very little strong research to back up its assumed magical powers.
Natural coconut oil is made of 90 per cent saturated fat, that’s almost 30% more than butter. But we now understand that not all saturated fats are made equal. The fat in coconut – called lauric acid – is said to have a number of health-promoting qualities, it is believed to be easier for the body to convert into energy as well as helping to improve levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol. Anything else you may have heard about this miracle food, like claims it boosts weight loss, curbs hangovers and prevents Alzheimer’s disease are, so far, largely unproven.
Research or not, if like me you’re firmly in the coconut fan club, here are a few new products you might like to try…
Coconut almond butter (www.pipandnut.com)
If you love a nut butter this coconut, almond blend is a delight! As well as standard jars this product comes in super-handy single serve squeeze packs for on-the-go snacking
Brain & train dog treats (www.poochandmutt.co.uk)
Even dog owners are going coco-nutty and can’t resist these premium treats which are packed with coconut oil to boost the energy and brainpower of their pooch.
Time bomb complexion cocktail (www.timebombco.com)
Try this facial in a bottle. Contains coconut oil, chia oil and hyaluronic acid, which are said to boost dry withered skin by attracting and retaining optimal moisture, leaving you with skin that is smooth and supple.
Oppo ice cream (www.oppoicecream.co.uk)
I’m usually unconvinced by ‘healthy’ ice cream but Oppo has one of the cleanest labels around. It’s still a dairy ice cream but uses coconut oil in place of some of the cream, and stevia leaf instead of sugar to provide just 41 calories a scoop!