5 Ways to Use Coconut Oil in Everyday Life
Coconut oil is one fad that keeps on giving.
From cooking to hair care, fans of this all-natural vegan product say it really can do it all.
Give into the hype and try these five ways to incorporate coconut oil into your everyday life.
HOW TO USE COCONUT OIL IN EVERYDAY LIFE
“If you haven’t yet tried coconut oil, stop what you’re doing right now, grab a pen, and add it to the top of your grocery list,” said ABC News’ nutrition and wellness editor David Zinczenko.
Found in your local grocery or health food store, studies suggest that a small daily serving (1-to-2 tablespoons) can boost metabolism thanks to its high lauric acid content and medium chain triglycerides.
Coconut oil doesn’t seem to raise your cholesterol – another great benefit – and its high smoke point makes it great for just about every meal, from eggs to stir-fry dishes.
HOW TO USE COCONUT OIL IN EVERYDAY LIFE
As a body lotion
Coconut oil is a natural moisturizer and is commonly used an ingredient in commercial skin products.
“Besides its hydrating ability, it contains lauric acid, which has been shown to kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi, explaining why coconut oil may help treat certain skin infections,” said Dr. Josh Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center.
A spoonful of coconut oil is usually enough to hydrate your whole body – try swapping it in for your current lotion.
HOW TO USE COCONUT OIL IN EVERYDAY LIFE
As a hair product
Studies suggest that coconut oil can strengthen and fortify the hair shaft which may help it look thicker, feel softer and appear healthier-looking. Extra-virgin or unrefined coconut oil, which has not been processed, is the best and purest form to use, and is commonly used as an ingredient in commercial hair products.
“The oil can be massaged into the scalp and onto the hair,” said Zeichner. “Let it sit for 10 minutes then rinse out to use as a natural moisturizer.”
HOW TO USE COCONUT OIL IN EVERYDAY LIFE
As an energy boost
As if it couldn’t get any better, coconut oil can also be used to increase energy.
“Unlike the long-chain fatty acids found in animal sources of saturated fat, coconut oil is more likely to be burned as energy than stored as blubber,” said Zinczenko.
Try spreading 1-to-2 tablespoons onto toast for breakfast or add 1 tablespoon to the water or sports drink you consume during your workout.
HOW TO USE COCONUT OIL IN EVERYDAY LIFE
To promote oral health
Oil-pulling, originating from the ancient practice of Ayurvedic medicine in India, has recently become a popular trend after research suggested its positive effects on oral health.
“The procedure is definitely beneficial, it prevents the accumulation of Dental plaque and reduces gingivitis” said Dr. HV Amith, a researcher at the People’s College of Medical Sciences & Research Centre and author of a recent study on the topic.
Try it out for yourself and swish 1-to-2 teaspoons of coconut oil in your mouth for 20 minutes.
101+ Best Coconut Oil Uses and Benefits for Home and Beauty
I’ve said before that I am with coconut oil like the dad in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” is with windex:
Coconut oil has a wide array of health benefits, hair and skin uses, and uses around the home. I was using it a decade ago before it became popular and widely available in grocery stores.
These are some of the reasons why I love it:
Find Out 101 Surprising Benefits For Coconut Oil
Coconut Oil Benefits
This tropical oil is beneficial in many ways:
• nourishing oil has been used for centuries in hair and its unique fat composition makes it especially beneficial for certain hair types. Use it as a hair mask, hot oil treatment, or in homemade hair products.
• To Moisturize and Nourish Skin– The same properties make coconut oil great for skin as well. Many people like to use it as a natural moisturizer. Its natural antioxidant properties make it great for stopping wrinkles and skin irritation.
• Digestive Help– Coconut oil’s concentration of beneficial fats in coconut oil makes it helpful for digestion. Its antimicrobial properties can help fight irritation and infection in the gut from Candida.
• Great Source of Healthy Fats– Over 50% of the fat in coconut oil is lauric acid. In fact, coconut oil is the richest source of lauric acid after breastmilk.
• Mental Boost– Studies show MCTs may contribute to focus and mental performance.
• Hormone Support– Getting the wrong kinds of fats can create havoc on hormones. Coconut oil contains specific fats that support the body’s natural hormone production.
• Immune Support– The MCTs (including lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid) have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties that make it beneficial for immune support.
• Great fat for cooking: Coconut oil is a stable oil that doesn’t break down easily at high temperatures like other oils do. It doesn’t go rancid easily and has amazing nutritional properties. It is great for cooking eggs, stir fries, grain free baked goods, and practically any other cooking use.
Coconut oil is a superfood with a powerhouse of uses in cooking, beauty recipes, natural remedies and around the home.
Coconut Oil Uses
This versatile oil has hundreds of uses in the home, in beauty recipes and in cooking. My favorite uses are:
Uses for Coconut Oil in Cooking and Recipes
1. smoke point. Great for baking, stir-frys or as a dairy free replacement to butter.
2. Try adding to foods or smoothies daily for energy
3. Or emulsify into coffee for a homemade coffee creamer (The only way I’ll drink coffee)
4. In homemade Mayo without the high PUFA vegetable oils
5. To season cast iron skillets
6. It’s high Lauric acid and MCFA content helps boost metabolism when used in foods
7. In healthy brain boosting snack for kids like Coconut Clusters
8. Add to a filling and energy boosting Brain Power Smoothie
9. Mix a tablespoon with a tablespoon of chia seeds for an all-day energy boost (do NOT take this at night!)
10. Use as a replacement for vegetable oils in any recipe or in cooking
11. Or try your hand at making coconut based grain free granola recipes
12. My kids love these homemade meltaways (like candy)
13. Use it as an anti-aging facial moisturizer
14. Or make coconut cream concentrate for a brain boosting snack
Coconut Oil Health Benefits and Uses
1. It has been shown to increase absorption of calcium and magnesium
2. Internally as part of the protocol to help remineralize teeth
3. Is an immediate source of energy when eaten that isn’t stored as fat
4. Can help speed weight loss when consumed daily
5. It can help improve sleep when taken daily
6. When used in food, it may support healthy thyroid function
7. Some studies show that it can help improve insulin levels when consumed regularly
8. Topically, it help skin heal faster after injury or infection because of its beneficial fats
9. When used consistently on skin it can help get rid of cellulite
10. Some evidence shows that the beneficial fats in coconut oil can help with depression and anxiety
11. When taken regularly, it can boost hormone production
12. Can relieve the pain of hemorrhoids when used topically
13. Some studies show it can boost circulation and help those who often feel cold
14. Internally during pregnancy to help provide baby necessary fats for development (especially when taken with Fermented Cod Liver Oil)
15. There are entire books dedicated to the potential of saturated fats like coconut oil to help avoid Alzheimer’s
Coconut Oil Beauty Uses
The same properties that make it beneficial in cooking and recipes make coconut oil beneficial for hair and skin:
1. On the skin as a basic lotion
2. With other oils as part of an oil cleansing regimen for beautiful skin
3. Whipped with shea butter for a soothing body balm
4. In homemade lotion bars with other beneficial ingredients like shea butter
5. In homemade deodorant– its natural antibacterial properties make it helpful in fighting odor.
6. Coconut oil makes an excellent eye-makeup remover on its own
7. It may help lighten age spots when rubbed directly on the skin
8. To help increase sun tolerance and avoid burning when used internally
9. As a naturally low SPF sunscreen on its own when used topically
10. In basic homemade lotion recipes
11. Add a couple drops of a favorite essential oil to make a delicious massage oil
12. Mixed with equal parts sugar for a smoothing body scrub (use in the shower)
13. Rubbed on lips as a natural lip balm or used in lip balm recipes
14. In homemade slow cooker soap
15. To make natural Homemade Sunscreen recipes with other protective ingredients
16. As a natural personal lubricant that won’t disturb vaginal flora
17. As a natural shave cream and after shave lotion
18. Use it alone as a great tanning oil
19. Mix with seal salt to remove dry skin on feet
20. In natural homemade diaper cream
21. Use it alone or with baking soda as a natural deodorant
22. By itself or with baking soda as a naturally whitening toothpaste
23. Make homemade peppermint lip balm
24. Or make magnesium body butter
25. Rub on cuticles to help nails grow
26. Rub into elbows daily to help alleviate dry, flaky elbows
27. To help avoid chlorine exposure when swimming
28. As a completely natural baby lotion
Coconut Oil For Hair
1. hair growth
2. Or use in homemade shampoo bars
3. A tiny dab rubbed on your hands and then through hair makes a great anti-frizz treatment
4. As an incredibly intensive natural conditioner- Rub into dry hair, put a shower cap on and leave for several hours before washing out with several rounds of shampoo
Coconut Oil Uses Around the Home
1. In homemade soap for laundry
2. In Homemade Natural Bug-Off Lotion Bars
3. To make a simple homemade soap
4. Or make a clay and charcoal soothing soap
5. Rub a small amount into real leather to soften and condition (shiny leather only… test a small area first)
6. And use a small amount to dilute essential oils for use on skin
7. For pets struggling with skin issues when used externally
8. In coconut oil dog treats
9. On hands after doing dishes to avoid dry skin
10. Mixed with catnip, rosemary, or mint essential oils as a natural bug repellent
Natural Remedies for Coconut Oil
1. pulling for oral health
2. Rubbed on the inside of your nose it may help alleviate allergy symptoms
3. The antimicrobial and antibacterial properties make it helpful topically to kill yeast or yeast infections
4. The antimicrobial properties and beneficial fats make coconut oil a powerhouse in Remineralizing Toothpaste
5. Can help sooth psoriasis or eczema
6. Oil pulling with coconut oil and a drop of oregano oil helps improve gum health
7. Can help improve cholesterol ratios
8. Can help reduce appearance of varicose veins when used topically
9. After initial heat is gone, can help speed healing of sunburn
10. Blend a tablespoon into hot tea to help speed recovery from cold or flu
11. It’s anti-inflammatory properties can help lessen arthritis
12. Can reduce the itch of mosquito bites
13. Can help resolve acne when used regularly
14. A tablespoon melted into a cup of warm tea can help sooth a sore throat
15. In homemade vapor rub
16. Can be used internally and externally to speed recovery from UTIs
17. In a salve for cracked heels
18. One reader swears by using coconut oil to treat yeast infection. She suggests soaking a tampon in it and inserting the tampon for a few hours.
19. Naturally clears up cold sores
20. Ingesting coconut oil daily can help with allergy symptoms
21. Some people say ingesting coconut oil daily can increase mental alertness
Coconut Oil for Pregnancies, Babies and Children
1. As a cloth diaper safe diaper cream (just rub on baby’s bottom)
2. I’ve used in kids ears to help speed ear infection healing
3. In place of Lanolin cream on nursing nipples to sooth irritation (also great for baby!)
4. Nursing moms can take a couple tablespoons a day (and Vitamin D) to increase milk supply and nutrients
5. To help sooth the itch of chicken pox or poison ivy
6. Use on skin to avoid stretch marks during pregnancy
7. Used directly on the perineum to help heal after birth
8. To get rid of cradle cap on baby- just massage in to head, leave on for a few minutes and gently rinse with a warm wash cloth
9. With apple cider vinegar as a natural treatment for lice that actually works
You can also check out my recipe list for many more recipes that use coconut oil!
Types of Coconut Oil
There are several choices when it comes to using this healthful fat.
Unrefined Organic Coconut Oil
Considered the gold standard. This type of oil offers the most of the benefits listed above. It is extracted from fresh coconut using a wet-milled fermentation process that protects the beneficial properties of the coconut. This type of coconut oil has been found to have the highest antioxidant levels. This process does use heat but studies show that it does not harm the oil or reduce nutrient levels. In fact, the heat may be beneficial and create a higher quality oil.
“Extra Virgin” Oil
The gold standard for olive oil but not coconut oil. This is produced by cold-pressing the oil and does not preserve the antioxidants as well:
In 2013, a study that compared “cold extracted virgin coconut oil” (CEVCO) with “hot extracted virgin coconut oil” (HEVCO) and standard refined coconut oil (CCO) was conducted in India, and published in the journal Food Science and Biotechnology. This study, like many others, showed that virgin coconut oils actually lower LDL cholesterol, while raising the “good” HDL cholesterol.
This study also confirmed that virgin coconut oil produced with heat produced the highest amounts of antioxidants: “The antioxidant activity in the HEVCO group was 80-87%, 65-70% in CEVCO, and 35-45% in CCO.” The researchers went on to comment why heat is necessary to produce the highest amounts of antioxidants in virgin coconut oil. (source)
Refined Coconut Oils
Refined coconut oil is often tasteless and has no coconut smell. It is usually heated, bleached and deodorized. Healthy options are available but many refined coconut oils do not have the benefits of unrefined.
Fractionated Oil or MCT Oil
Fractionated oil or MCT oil is a liquid oil that does not get solid below 76 degrees like unrefined oil does. It doesn’t contain all of the beneficial properties of unrefined coconut oil but is higher in brain-boosting fats.
What Type to Use?
fractionated or other types of refined coconut oil will work, but for internal use, an unrefined organic oil is best.
Want to try it out? I love this organic extra virgin coconut oil that is made from all Non-GMO all natural ingredients.
A Great Coconut Oil Resource
Nutritional Profile of Coconut Oil
Part of the reason coconut oil is such a powerhouse superfood is its unique nutritional profile. It was avoided and shunned for years because of its 92% saturated fat content but recent research is showing this stigma was unwarranted.
Most of the fats in coconut oil are saturated but they are in the form of MCTs (Medium Chain Triglycerides, also called MCFAs), which affect the body differently than short and long chain fats. The MCTs are composed of:
• Lauric Acid– This beneficial fat makes up 40% of the total fat composition, making it one of nature’s highest natural sources. The body converts lauric acid to monolaurin, which is beneficial for immune function.
• Caprylic Acid– Another healthy fat with antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.
• Capric Acid– This converts to monocaprin in the body and has immune boosting and antimicrobial properties.
Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFAs)
Most of the fats we consume are long chain fatty acids that must be broken down before they can be absorbed. Coconut oil is high in short and medium chain fatty acids, which are easily digested and sent right to the liver for energy production.
Because MCFAs are sent right to the liver for digestion, no bile or pancreatic enzymes are needed for digestion, making coconut oil a healthy food even for those with diabetes or those who have gallbladder problems.
MCFAs can help increase metabolism since they are sent directly to the liver and give the body an instant source of energy. Most of the MCFAs in coconut oil are the highly beneficial Lauric Acid.
Benefits of MCFAs (MCTs)
All of these MCTs are beneficial to the body. They are metabolized differently than longer chain fats, going straight from the digestive system to the liver. This provides a quick source of energy and brain fuel.
These rare oils are naturally free of cholesterol and hard to find in nature.
This may be part of the reason that coconut oil is so beneficial to the brain and for weight loss. It isn’t digested or stored in the same was as other fats and is more quickly available for use.
Coconut oil is also a decent source of several fat soluble vitamins (mainly A and K) as well as healthy polyphenols.
Lauric acid is found in abundance in human breast milk and converts to a substance called monolaurin in the body. Monolaurin has been shown to be useful in increasing immunity and fighting viruses and disease.
One study combined lauric acid-rich coconut oil with oregano oil, and found it effective in fighting the staph bacteria than antibiotics. It has also been shown to be preventative against some cancers.
Coconut Oil is over 40% lauric acid, the richest source naturally available.
Allergic to Coconut?
So coconut is great, but many people are allergic or intolerant to it.
I’m often asked what alternatives there are to coconut products for those who are allergic. Those who can’t tolerate coconut may find these alternatives helpful:
• Oils: Instead of coconut, try using palm shortening or oil or animal based fats like lard, butter or tallow. These fats are solid at room temperature like coconut oil is and substitute well in recipes. In recipes calling for a liquid oil, avocado oil and sesame oil substitute well.
• Flour: Coconut Flour is a great grain-free high-fiber flour, but those who can’t tolerate it can experiment with almond flour, cassava flour or oat fiber.
• Milk: Coconut milk is a common alternative for those who can’t tolerate dairy products but pecan milk, cashew milk, and almond milk are good alternatives. Rice milk is also an option for those with nut allergies.
Coconut Oil Nutrition
If you’ve been around the real food community much, you’ve probably noticed the rapid widespread popularity of coconut oil. Once ostracized by the medical community for it’s saturated fat content, it seems that coconut oil might finally be making a comeback in the mainstream health community.
Coconut oil is the most nutrient dense part of the coconut. It is solid at room temperature like butter and doesn’t break down in heat or light. .
For years, “health” advice has warned against consuming saturated fats, and coconut oil has gotten thrown out with the rest without good reason!
What Can’t Coconut Oil Do?
Still working on this one! As if all the above uses weren’t enough, studies have linked coconut oil to the following health benefits:
• High lauric acid content can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. It doesn’t increase LDL and helps keep arteries flexible and prevent atherosclerosis
• Studies show that coconut oil may help increase thyroid health because of its unique combination of nourishing properties and the fact that it travels directly to the liver without the need for hormones or enzymes in digestion
• Coconut oil can help boost metabolism. Since it travels directly to the liver, it is used for energy and not stored as fat. It also helps a feeling of satiety and can assist in weight loss.
• Can increase bone strength by allowing better absorption of calcium, vitamin D, and other minerals
• It’s antifungal properties have been shown to help reduce candida and yeast in the body and fight yeast infections
• Can help fight infection and flu due to its antibacterial, antiviral and antimicrobial properties