By Dr. Mercola
Coconut oil has been in the limelight because of the misconception that it’s not good for your health. For over 60 years, health care officials and media claim that saturated fats should be avoided at all cost because of its negative effects.
But this is just a myth. There is no evidence that the naturally-occurring high saturated fat found in coconuts and coconut oil poses a threat to your health. Fifty percent of the fat content in coconut oil is lauric acid, which is rarely found in nature. Lauric acid is a medium-chain fatty acid, which has antibacterial, antiviral, and antiprotozoal properties.
Clearly, coconut oil debunks the belief that oils are bad for your health. It’s perfectly healthy and best for recipes with a tropical twist, like this Coconut-Infused Chicken Lettuce Wrap recipe.
- 12 leaves of butter lettuce
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
- 1 pound ground chicken breast or chicken thighs
- 2 medium green onions, chopped
- ½ cup canned water chestnuts, drained, rinsed, and chopped
- ¼ cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot
- 2 tablespoons filtered water
- ¼ cup gomasio (sesame seeds and sea salt)
- Wash lettuce leaves gently so as not to damage or tear them. Dry carefully with a towel.
- Heat the coconut oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and sauté until browned, breaking up chicken while cooking. Add green onions, water chestnuts, tamari, and chicken broth. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Mix the arrowroot with water and add to chicken mixture. Cook over medium high heat, until the sauce thickens.
- Transfer chicken to a serving bowl set on a large platter and sprinkle gomasio on top. Arrange lettuce leaves on platter around the bowl.
- Each person takes a lettuce leaf and puts a spoonful of the chicken mixture in it like a taco.
This recipe makes 6 servings.
(From Healthy Recipes for Your Nutritional Type)
Coconut-Infused Chicken Lettuce Wraps Cooking Tips
This coconut-infused chicken lettuce wraps recipe is very simple and easy to prepare. Butter lettuce is ideal for this recipe because of its tenderness and texture. When choosing the best lettuce, select the largest and most pliable ones that don’t have wilted and discolored leaves.1
Lettuce grows close to the ground so it’s best to clean the leaves thoroughly, rinsing until there’s no more visible dirt. A “salad spinner” is helpful to remove excess water. Once leaves are clean, pat dry with a paper towel before use.
Coconut oil has a high smoke point of 350 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the best choice for sautéing, baking, and even frying.2 Keep in mind that when using coconut oil, it’s best to avoid its smoke point because this is the temperature when fats and oils begin to break down. When using virgin coconut oil for sautéing or frying, simply add the oil in place of other oils or butter that you normally use.
Arrowroot powder should be mixed with cold water rather than warm water. It should be the last ingredient to be added in the cooking process, because its gelling properties will be destroyed if it’s overcooked.
Why Are Coconut-Infused Chicken Lettuce Wraps Good for You?
My coconut-infused chicken lettuce wraps are not only bursting with flavor, but they’re also packed with nutrition from these healthy ingredients:
Free-range chicken contains all B vitamins and is also a great source of protein. It also contains cysteine, a natural amino acid. This amino acid has a thinning property that makes the mucus found in your lungs less sticky and easier to discharge.
The George Mateljan Foundation3 further expounds on the health benefits of chicken:
“Chicken is perhaps best known for its high protein content, but it is a food that actually provides broad nutrient support… Included… are plentiful amounts of sulfur-containing amino acids like cysteine and methionine, as well as branched chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) that are important for support of cardiac and skeletal muscle.
All B vitamins are present in chicken meat… In terms of minerals, chicken is richest in selenium… Zinc, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron are also provided by this food.”
There are only two oils you can find in my kitchen, and coconut oil is one of them (the other is olive oil, which I use as a cold drizzle for my salads).
Coconut oil contains lauric acid that your body converts to monolaurin, which is a monoglyceride. Monolaurin can destroy lipid-coated viruses such as HIV, herpes, influenza, measles, and protozoa such as giardia lamblia.
Not only is coconut oil considered a superfood, but it also has amazing health benefits such as:
- Aids heart health
- Promotes healthy brain function
- Supports thyroid function
- Helps strengthening immune system
- Helps maintaining healthy skin
- Promotes weight loss
Most of its health benefits are because of its medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), also known as medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs. The liver immediately converts MCFAs as energy rather than store it as fats.
Butter lettuce has more vitamins and nutrients compared to its green leafy siblings, romaine and iceberg. It is rich in calcium, with each serving contains 29 mg, or about 4% of daily recommended dose.4
It is also great source of beta carotene, which is converted by the body into vitamin A. Vitamin A promotes healthy skin and eye health. Butter lettuce also provides vitamin K, which helps with bone density.
Arrowroot is a better thickening agent compared to cornstarch since most of the corn grown in the US today has been genetically engineered. It also thickens better at a low temperature than cornstarch. Arrowroot helps treat digestive issues such as indigestion, upset stomach, and diarrhea.