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The truth about coconut oil

You know it's important to include some healthy fats in your balanced diet. Olive oil, avocado and nuts are recognized as beneficial sources of fatty acids -- but what about coconut oil?

According to wellness expert Peggy Hall, coconut oil is not the bad guy it's been made out to be. Yes, it's a saturated fat, but it's a different kind of saturated fat than what's found in red meat.

Study after study shows that coconut oil is a great choice when it comes to healthy fats because coconut oil is a plant source of saturated fat containing medium chain fatty acids which are actually burned as energy instead of stored as fat! Coconut oil is also rich in lauric acid, which has anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. It also supports your immune system AND speeds up your metabolism. Other good-for-you benefits include: softer, smoother skin, fewer aches and pains and stronger bones, because it helps your body absorb calcium.

Also, coconut oil is NOT hydrogenated, which means it contains NO harmful trans-fats. In fact, coconut oil is not only cholesterol-free but it actually helps to lower bad cholesterol.

How to use it?  Peggy recommends enjoying about one tablespoon of coconut oil a day. It's perfect to use for sauteing, stir-frying and even baking, because it can withstand high heat without breaking down into carcinogenic molecules like other oils can.

Peggy says she likes to spread it on toast in place of butter.

Or you can try Peggy's super-easy "Fat-Burning Fudge": Just one tablespoon each of coconut oil, unsweetened cocoa and honey! Stir them all together, then place in the fridge until set.

If you decide to "go tropical" and include coconut oil in your diet, one tablespoon a day is fine. Peggy recommends that you get virgin organic coconut oil, which is the purest form and can be found in most grocery stores.

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