Coconut oil is known as “the healthiest oil on earth”, according to Dr. Bruce Fife, naturopath, nutritionist and author of The Coconut Oil Miracle. It has so many fantastic properties and uses that I always make sure to have some at home. I use it for pretty much everything!
Coconut oil is full of naturally occurring saturated fats. Those saturated fats gave coconut oil a bad reputation for a long time, until it was accepted that there are good fats, like there is good cholesterol. The numerous health benefits of coconut oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid. “Approximately 50% of the fatty acids in coconut fat are lauric acid. Lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid, which has the additional beneficial function of being formed into monolaurin in the human or animal body. Monolaurin is the anti-viral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal monoglyceride used by the human or animal to destroy lipid coated viruses such as HIV, herpes, cytomegalovirus, influenza, various pathogenic bacteria” according to research by Dr. Mary Enig.
Coconut oil has antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial and soothing properties. It can help you reduce your cholesterol, improve your cardiovascular health, increase your metabolism, strengthen your immune system and thyroid health, assist you in weight loss, control blood sugar by improving the secretion of insulin, and it will make your skin and hair glow. The caprylic acid kills off excess candida by targeting harmful bacteria; coconut oil will therefore soothe gastrointestinal malabsorption diseases. It is very helpful in soothing digestion related problems of conditions such as IBS and Crohn’s disease. Due to its anti-microbial properties, coconut oil will support your body in dealing with bacteria, fungi and parasites.
Did you know that…
…coconut oil has been part of Ayurvedic medicine for 5,000 years in India?
…people in Panama drink a glass of coconut oil to protect themselves from illness as it is also believed to speed recovery from sickness?
…South Pacific Islanders, whose diet has always included coconut oil as food and medicine, are healthier, and that they have less cardio-vascular diseases and less colon problems?
How to use it
Use an organic unrefined virgin coconut oil. Coconut oil has a high melting point (about 24 degrees Celcius or 76 Farenheit). Therefore it is solid at room temperature and melts only when the temperature goes high. Just melt the oil if it is solid before using it; you can leave it in the sun or in warm water, and it will liquefy. Do not keep in your fridge.
In your cooking
- Widely used in Asian and Pacific cuisines, coconut oil adds an exotic flavor to your dishes.
- Coconut oil has a higher burning point than olive oil. Due to its chemical structure, heat makes olive oil susceptible to oxidative damage. It is therefore healthier to use coconut oil in a frying pan and keep the olive oil for salad dressings.
- Use it as much as you want in your smoothies and desserts. I use it all the time to make amazeballs, homemade chocolate, smoothies, salads…
On your skin
- You can use coconut oil for skin treatments such as a body or face moisturizer. It is highly moisturizing and has anti-ageing and regenerative properties. Mix coconut oil and olive oil for a moisturizing and cleansing face wash.
- Mix it with honey and apply as a face mask. Leave on for 10-15 minutes and rinse.
- Coconut oil can be used to treat skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and skin infections.
- It prevents stretch marks during pregnancy.
- You can also use it as a natural make-up remover; just use a drop on a cotton pad or on a warm washcloth.
- Rub it on your lips as a lip balm.
- Use as a deodorant. Just rub some oil under your armpits. No bad smells or sweat; you smell like coconut all day!
- Are you in need of a body scrub? Simply mix coconut oil with brown sugar.
On your hair
- Rub your scalp with coconut oil and let it pause for 30 minutes to an hour as a hair mask before the shampoo. It will nourish your hair and give it a natural glow. I use it as a hair mask weekly or fortnightly and I notice that my hair is softer, nourished and looks healthier.
- You can also use it after the shampoo as a conditioner. It helps in the re-growth of damaged hair. It also smells delicious and leaves your hair very soft.
- Used in head massages oils, it will keep the dandruff away.
- Combined with apple cider vinegar, it will kill lice and lice eggs.
- Perfect as a massage oil!
- Can be used for oil pulling. Add a drop of oregano oil and it will improve the health of your gum.
- It will kick the flu or cold away: use a tablespoon in a hot tea. It will also soothe your throat.
- Mix it with baking soda and you obtain a naturally whitening toothpaste. You need to use for a couple of weeks before you can see a noticeable change.
- Mixed with rosemary and tea tree oil, it is a great insect repellent.
- A friend of mine uses it as a natural baby lotion or diaper cream.
Isn’t coconut oil amazing? What else do you use it for?
Source: American Society for Nutrition