Coconut oil is being used for thousand of years and has been a dietary and beauty staple for millennia. A lot of documented accounts will prove that it is widely used as a source of food and medicine by people of diverse cultures around the globe.
It’s a powerful destroyer of all kinds of microbes, from viruses to bacteria to protozoa, many of which can be harmful, and provides your body with high-quality fat that is critical for optimal health.
Coconut oil is an edible oil extracted from the kernel or meat of matured coconuts harvested from the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera).
It has various applications in food, medicine, and industry. Because of its high saturated fat content it is slow to oxidize and, thus, resistant to rancidification, lasting up to two years without spoiling.
Around 50 percent of the fat in coconut oil is lauric acid, which is rarely found in nature. In fact, coconut oil contains the most lauric acid of any substance on Earth.
Our body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, a monoglyceride that can actually destroy lipid-coated viruses such as HIV and herpes, influenza, measles, gram-negative bacteria, and protozoa such as giardia lamblia.
This is undoubtedly part of what makes it so medicinally useful—both when taken internally and applied externally.
Coconut oil is comprised of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) that are easily digested and readily cross cell membranes. MCFAs are immediately converted by our liver into energy rather than being stored as fat.
Coconut oil is easy on the digestive system and does not produce an insulin spike in the bloodstream, so for a quick energy boost, we can simply eat a spoonful of coconut oil, or add it to our food.
To get more coconut oil into our diet, we can add it to tea or coffee, in lieu of a sweetener. It will also help improve absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, so taking a spoonful of coconut oil along with our daily vitamins may help boost their effectiveness.
In all, coconut oil offers a truly impressive array of health benefits when included in your daily diet. In addition to its antimicrobial properties, coconut oil is beneficial for:
- Maintaining healthy and youthful looking skin
- Promoting healthy brain function
- Promoting heart health
- Providing an excellent “fuel” for the body and supporting a strong metabolism that can aid in weight loss
- Strengthening the immune system
- Supporting proper thyroid function
Coconut oil is also known for its hair benefits. Most women seem to prefer using it as a pre-shampoo conditioner. Simply massage the coconut oil onto dry hair and leave on for about an hour or longer. You could even leave it on overnight. Just wear a shower cap to protect your pillow. Then, wash and style as usual.
When applied in this manner, the coconut oil inhibits the penetration of water into the hair strands, which would otherwise cause the cuticle, or surface of the hair shaft, to rise, making it prone to damage and breakage. Furthermore, when applied as a pre-wash treatment, a small amount of the coconut oil is able to penetrate deeper into the hair shaft during the wash, when the hair fiber swells slightly.
This can also explain why so many rave about the oil’s ability to prevent “the frizzies” in humid weather—this is another feature of its hydrophobic activity. More porous types of hair may find coconut oil particularly beneficial, such as chemically treated hair, as well as those suffering with any type of scalp problems, including dandruff.
Coconut oil mixed with baking soda makes for very simple and inexpensive, yet effective, toothpaste. It’s also a great alternative if you want a fluoride-free toothpaste.
Click here for a home made recipe. HOMEMADE NATURAL FLUORIDE-FREE TOOTHPASTE
Another oral health technique where coconut oil can be quite beneficial is oil pulling.
For additional information on oil pulling click here. OIL PULLING
When applied topically, coconut oil helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by helping to keep your connective tissues strong and supple, and aids in exfoliating the outer layer of dead skin cells, making your skin smoother
Bath soak: Adding coconut oil to your bath can help moisturize dry itchy skin (Make sure to scrub your tub afterward to prevent slipping!). Make sure the water is warmer than 76 degrees Fahrenheit though, otherwise the oil will turn to a solid.
Body scrub: Mix equal parts coconut oil with organic cane sugar in a glass jar. Use the scrub on dry skin prior to your shower or bath.
Cuticle cream: Simply rub a small amount of coconut oil around your cuticles to soften dry areas.
Deodorant: Applying a small amount of coconut oil directly onto your armpits can help keep odors at bay, courtesy of the oil’s antibacterial properties. If you prefer, you can add a small amount of baking soda, or make a homemade deodorant using coconut oil, baking soda and arrow root powder.
Eye cream: Apply a thin layer of coconut oil around your eyes to soften wrinkles and counteract thinning, sagging skin.
Face and body moisturizer: You can use it either by itself, or add your favorite essential oil. (Make sure you’re using a high quality essential oil that is safe for topical application.)
Facial cleanser: Massage a dollop of coconut oil onto face and neck. Wash off with wet washcloth and pat dry.
Facial scrub: Instead of sugar, mix coconut oil with baking soda, or oatmeal with a dash of cinnamon, for a gentle facial scrub.
Lip balm: You can either apply a small amount of coconut oil, as is, or make your own lip balm using coconut oil as one of the base ingredients. You can find all sorts of recipes online.
Makeup remover: Swipe on with a moist cotton ball. Wipe off with clean cotton ball or wet washcloth.
Shaving lotion: Apply a thin layer of coconut oil on area to be shaved, and shave as usual. The lauric acid in the coconut oil will also serve as an antiseptic for cuts that result from shaving.
Besides its usefulness in the kitchen and bathroom, coconut oil deserves a place in your medicine cabinet as well—again courtesy of its antimicrobial and anti-viral activity.
For example, coconut oil may be helpful in the treatment of:
Cold sores, mix in a small amount of oregano oil or baking soda, and apply at the first signs.
Ear infections; place a couple of drops into each ear canal. If the coconut oil has solidified, you can easily liquefy it by placing a small amount in a shot glass or other small container and placing it into a cup of hot water.
Fungal and/or yeast infections, such as athlete’s foot and ringworm. For fungal infections, you can mix in a small amount of oregano oil or tea tree oil.
Skin rashes and irritations, including chicken pox and shingles: Simply apply a small amount to the affected area.
HOW TO USE IT FOR COOKING
Coconut oil is ideal for all sorts of cooking and baking, as it can withstand higher temperatures without being damaged like many other oils (olive oil, for example, should not be used for cooking for this reason).
Furthermore, coconut oil does not go rancid, which is a huge boon when you’re making homemade concoctions. Coconut oil that has been kept at room temperature for a year has been tested for rancidity, and showed no evidence of it. Since we would expect the small percentage of unsaturated oils naturally contained in coconut oil to become rancid, it seems that the other (saturated) oils have a powerful antioxidant effect.
HOW TO ENJOY
- Add coconut oil to your preferred smoothie
- Cook bananas in coconut oil with nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon.
- Make hot cocoa and stir in a spoonful of coconut oil.
- Make potato or Sweet Potato Pancakes cooked in coconut oil.
- Melt over hot cooked grains, cereals and veggies.
- Scramble eggs in coconut oil, or melt over hot, poached eggs.
- Spread over French toast, whole grain toast, muffins, pancakes and waffles.
- Use in making salad dressings.
- Use in bread baking or for making crackers like these Seeded Coconut Crackers.
- Use organic refined coconut oil for sautéing, stir-frying and baking.
- Stir a spoonful into hot cooked soups, stews and chilies.
You can find extra virgin organic coconut oil, which is the best, at most health food stores.