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It's summer and the temperatures are soaring here in Seattle!
In the Pacific Northwest we pride ourselves with the mild temperatures seen
through each season. Yet right now we are experiencing a heat wave that many of
us are unable to handle. Anything about 90 degrees and we are complaining. I
wish I could go outside and lounge in the sun, but the heat is so potent that I
just hide away in the darkest corner of the house, antsy, annoyed, and wanting
something cold. All I wish I had right now is a frozen treat and a swimming
pool. That would be the life! Since a pool is out of the question, I decided to
make the other wish come true with Gingered Coconut Banana Popsicles. Yum!
One of the great things about the coconut is its unique
fatty acid make-up, as it is made of 65% of medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s)
as opposed to long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs) found in other plant based oils.Interestingly, these fatty acids do not
require further breakdown before they are absorbed compared to other fatty
acids (1). This makes MCT oils a great option for those with various GI
disorders as it is able to bypass normal fat digestion and can be absorbed
within the mouth directly into the bloodstream. Furthermore, lauric acid, the
most abundant MCT in coconut oil, has been found to have potent antimicrobial
properties, and is able to disintegrate and kill microbes including fungi,
protozoa, and even viruses (1). In a 2008 study in the journal Dermatitis,
researchers found that topically applied coconut oil was useful in the
proactive treatment of atopic dermatitis (AD) by eliminating Staphylococcus
aureus colonization in all but 1 of 20 subjects that were previously tested
positive. Virgin olive oil on the other hand did not see the same drastic
Also, MCT oils have been shown to support weight loss due to
their increased ability to be utilized as energy, giving them less opportunity
to be deposited as fat. In a study released in the March 2008 issue of The
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that MCT oil
consumption did in fact increase thermogenesis and lower fat deposition more so
than olive oil. As part of a 16 week weight loss program, 49 overweight women
and men, aged 19-50, consumed either 18-24 g/d of MCT oil or olive oil. MCT oil
consumption resulted in a lower endpoint body weight than did olive oil, with
an average of 3.7 lbs more lost than those consuming olive oil (3).
Besides its antimicrobial powers, and its ability to support
weight loss, coconut oil has been shown to decrease inflammation, improve
insulin sensitivity, and increase HDL cholesterol levels (1). Although it does
have a high saturated fat content, newest research has found that there is no
association between saturated fat intake and cardiovascular disease. In a 2010
meta-analysis of 21 epidemiologic studies, researchers found no significant
evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is indeed associated with an
increased risk of developing coronary heart disease or cardiovascular disease
(4).Researchers further suggest that
perhaps the replacement of fats with refined carbohydrates, may more be the
issue of concern.
Finally, coconut oil is also great for high heat cooking, as
it is more stable and less prone to oxidation at high temperatures, than is olive
oil. Therefore, when frying or grilling, coconut oil can be a great addition to
any meal. Leave the extra virgin olive oil for low heat sautéing or even just
for cold dishes such as salad.
I especially like coconut in frozen treats…so here is the
recipe for the delicious and cooling vegan and gluten-free popsicles.This recipe can easily be doubled as you will
have enough ingredients to make a second batch.
Makes 6 popsicles
3 ripe bananas
1 can of full fat organic coconut milk
½ bar of Green & Blacks Organic Dark Chocolate with
½ tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil
Hemp seeds as garnish (optional)
Cut the bananas in half and poke each half with a wooden
popsicle stick (I used thick wooden skewers because that was all I had at
home). Place them onto a parchment covered baking sheet and put into the
freezer for an hour.
Open the can of coconut cream and make sure it is thoroughly
stirred.Dip each frozen banana into the
coconut milk and place back onto the baking pan and return to the freezer for
half an hour. Repeat entire process one more time. (If you would like them a bit sweeter you can sprinkle coconut sugar
onto each before putting them into the freezer the first time around.)
While the bananas are freezing for their third time, create
a double boiler by filling a small saucepan with a little water and placing a
small ceramic bowl inside. Make sure the water level doesn’t overflow into the
bowl. Heat the double boiler on medium. Meanwhile cut the chocolate into thin
small pieces and pour into the small ceramic bowl in the saucepan. With a small
spoon stir until completely melted. Add the ½ tablespoon of coconut oil and
stir until fully incorporated.
Remove the bananas from the freezer, and generously drizzle
the chocolate over the bananas and sprinkle with hemp seeds as a garnish.
Return to freezer to harden for about 10 minutes. Enjoy as needed!
1. Jacob A. Coconut Oil—Learn More About This Superfood That
Contains Healthful Saturated Fats. Today’s
Dietitian. October 2013;15(10):56.
2. Verallo-Rowell VM, Dillague KM, Syah-Tjundawan BS. Novel
antibacterial and emollient effects of coconut and virgin olive oils in adult
atopic dermatitis. Dermatitis. December
3. St-Onge MP, Bosarge
A. Weight-loss diet that includes consumption of medium-chain triacylglycerol
oil leads to a greater rate of weight and fat mass loss than does olive oil. Am J Clin Nutr. March 2008;87:621-626
4. Siri-Tarino PW, Sun Q, Hu FB, Krauss RM. Meta-analysis of prospective
cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular
disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;91:535-546.