Everything You Can Do with Coconut Oil (Hint: It’s a lot)
Unless you’ve been living in a cave over recent years, you’ve probably heard of (if not participated in) the coconut oil craze. This tropical oil has been touted as nothing short of a miracle food, and (unlike some health crazes) for good reason.
Sadly, saturated fats have been feared due to decades of misinformation, and many people have opted for a low-fat diet model in the quest for weight management and optimal health. Fortunately, this myth has slowly but surely been debunked, and we’ve reached a point where we can confidently include healthy fats such as coconut oil into our regular diet.
Brief Overview of Why Coconut Oil is So Amazing
While this section could be a book (and is, in fact), let’s just take a quick look at a few of the most impressive benefits, then we’ll dive into its many uses.
Can Help You Lose Weight
You might be surprised to learn that the MCTs (medium chain triglycerides) in coconut oil actually help you lose weight. One study found that 15-30 grams of MCTs per day can burn an extra 120 calories.
Improves Cholesterol Levels
The type of fat in coconut oil has been shown to raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol and perhaps even help to reduce triglycerides.
Natural Antibacterial Agent
50% of coconut oil’s fatty acid content comes from lauric acid, which is a potent killer of harmful pathogens such as bacteria, fungi and viruses. It can also seriously help to fight candida infections.
Not sure exactly how to use coconut? Don’t worry, you’ve got several options to choose from.
Top 10 Coconut Oil Uses…
One study found that coconut oil blocks 20% of the sun’s potentially harmful UV rays, which would translate to a SPF of about 7. Lather up!
Coconut oil makes a fantastic alternative to lotions and creams often laden with chemicals. It can be used for regular, daily moisturizing, and has also been found to improve skin disorders such as dermatitis and eczema.
Excellent Cooking Oil
While vegetable oils like canola are usually rancid before even hitting the shelves, coconut oil can be safely heated at high temperatures in cooking. Switch to using coconut oil as your primary cooking oil.
Your dental health can also benefit from coconut oil, as it works as an anti-bacterial agent when used as a mouthwash. Otherwise known as oil pulling, simply swishing with coconut oil for 10 minutes per day can reduce plaque, inflammation, and gingivitis.
Store bought mayo often contains some not-so-healthy ingredients, so opt for making your own at home using coconut oil. Check out this recipe for more info.
Anti-Itch Remedy and Insect Repellent
Because it is so good at cooling inflammation, coconut oil makes a great anti-itch remedy. Or, prevent the itch before it starts by combining certain essential oils with coconut oil to make a non-toxic bug repellent.
To Make Delicious Dark Chocolate
Make a guilt-free dark chocolate by following a recipe like this one. By combining coconut oil with just a few other ingredients, you can make your favorite treat from the comfort of your own kitchen.
Coconut oil keeps your hair healthy, shiny and less damaged when you apply it before or after shampooing. This is mainly due to the lauric acid in coconut, which has the ability to deeply penetrate the hair shaft.
Baby and Postpartum Care
Coconut oil is basically your best friend during and after pregnancy. Use it to decrease painful or cracking nipples when breastfeeding, to minimize stretch marks, and to massage your infant and treat diaper rash.
As a Natural Antibiotic
Last but certainly not least, use coconut oil as a wound healer on minor cuts or scrapes. Simply apply directly and cover it up with a bandaid.
Remember, this list just scratches the surface of the many uses of coconut oil. You can also use it as a natural deodorant, eye makeup remover, quick energy pick-me-up and more.
Don’t be afraid to jump on the coconut oil bandwagon: your body will surely thank you.
Always consult a physician before starting a new diet or nutrition program.
Rachel Fiske is a Holistic Nutrition Consultant and graduated from Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition in Berkeley, California. She is also a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Rachel focuses on issues of weight management, GI problems, hormonal imbalances, fatigue and more via a whole foods diet and lifestyle changes.