Coconut oil is an interesting, unique substance. On the one hand, there are numerous health benefits of consuming and using the oil. On the other, it’s an incredibly potent ingredient that’s used in everything from shampoo to laxatives, and some would argue the taste and smell is not pleasant.
By now, nearly everyone has heard at some point that coconut oil can be beneficial in many ways. That explains why so many trends regarding the oil have taken the world by storm. From edibles to beauty treatments, you’d be hard-pressed to find something that didn’t have at least a little bit of the oil added.
Throwing it in some soap, shampoo or hygiene products is simple. You’re not going to consume any of those products, at least if you’re in your right mind. But adding it to meals, foods and snacks is a different story. It can vastly change the taste and experience of a particular food, so you have to gauge when and where it’s good to use.
Without much knowledge, it would seem like coconut oil is difficult to incorporate in your daily life and habits — however, exactly the opposite is true. It’s incredibly easy and simple to use, which makes harvesting the many health benefits of coconut oil just as simple.
What Is Coconut Oil Good For?
Before exploring some of the best ways to add coconut oil to your diet, let’s briefly touch on what it’s best used for.
Coconut oil is naturally high in saturated fats, but the good kind. Saturated fats contribute to a boost in healthy cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) within your body, but more importantly, they convert bad cholesterol (LDL) into the good kind. If you struggle with high cholesterol, coconut oil can help you manage the problem.
There’s also the argument that it’s fairly easy to find organic variants of the oil, which can be used in anything from cooking to skin treatment.
Without delving too far into the particulars, coconut oil is used for skin care, hair treatments, weight loss, digestion problems, boosting immune systems, treating yeast infections and warding off a host of diseases.
Perhaps the most interesting application is its liberal use to ward off yeast infections. Thanks to a healthy mix of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and antifungal compounds, coconut oil can successfully clear up a yeast infection within a few days. Just apply the oil directly to an infected area several times a day, and eventually it will fade.
The oil also contains ketones that are accessible to the brain. This is extremely helpful for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Affected patients simply can’t create the appropriate insulin for their brain, but the ketones from the oil can help relocate energy, which in turn aids in the healing of standard brain functions.
Those same ketones can also help prevent and treat cancer. Coconut-produced ketones generate a form of energy that tumors can’t access. This is because usually, tumors obtain the energy they need to grow from glucose. In a way, the coconut-based ketones act as a mask, denying tumors and harmful cysts the energy they need to grow and thrive. The same energy can also kill Helicobacter Pyloi, which has been attributed to an increase in the risk of stomach cancer. Research shows that coconut oil can help stop the cancer from developing further.
How to Add Coconut Oil to Your Diet and Daily Routine
When it comes to your diet, coconut oil can be extremely beneficial. For starters, it has absolutely no carbs, which we don’t need to tell you is great for your caloric intake, especially if you’re trying to cut down on your food portions. Coconut oil can also help decrease your appetite, resulting in you eating less or smaller meals.
Of course, it should never be used as a complete substitute for a healthy diet and reasonable exercise, but when used in combination with these lifestyle choices, you stand to lose a lot of weight.
Eat It Straight From the Jar
Want a quick, easy snack? In the morning, do you rush around like a headless chicken trying to put together a healthier breakfast? You can use coconut oil instead of butter or margarine to spread on your toast, muffin or bagels in the morning.
The same is true for baking — you can even add it to your cakes. It’s an excellent garnish or additive for many foods, the taste and smell is quickly overpowered when you mix it with other potent ingredients.
If that’s not direct enough for you, you don’t even have to add it to other foods or drink, or make anything fancy with it. Instead of eating peanut butter out of the jar the next time you plop down on the couch, just grab a jar of coconut oil.
Use It as a Natural Sweetener
If you need to cut back on your calories, but are having a tough time because you just love sweets and sugar, coconut oil makes a great substitute sweetener. It’s also more natural than some of the alternatives out there.
Add a spoonful to your morning coffee — not only can it make your coffee taste sweeter, it can help increase your metabolism and help burn some extra calories. Who doesn’t want to lose weight while drinking coffee? It’s also a great energy booster, so it can enhance the effectiveness of your morning brew.
Cook With It
Like virgin olive oil, coconut oil is much healthier for you than traditional cooking oils, such as vegetable and canola oil. In fact, you can replace cooking oils entirely and exclusively use coconut oil instead, and your health will thrive. That’s because it’s full of lauric acid — a type saturated fat normally found in breast milk — which has a higher oxidization point.
Translated from Nerdglish, a higher oxidation means it can reach extreme temperatures before it starts smoking, which is a good thing. When an oil is at its smoking point, it starts to lose antioxidants that are good for you and replaces them with free radicals, which aren’t good. In fact, scientific studies show that free radicals can be cancer-causing in high concentrations.
Furthermore, it was once believed saturated fats were potentially damaging to your arteries and heart. More recent studies have shown that’s not the case, to the point where saturated fat is now believed to be healthier than trans-fats.
Make Coconut Chocolate Bars and Candy
One of the most beneficial things you can do with coconut oil is add it to chocolate, dark or light, to give it more substance. Usually, when you add coconut to chocolate, it converts the mixture into more of a hard and thin, chip-like texture. Not only does that ruin the taste and texture of chocolate, but it’s not enjoyable. Coconut oil can thicken the chocolate, all while adding that lovely taste of coconut you love.
This is also a great way to how to incorpate coconut oil into your diet and get your kids to eat coconut oil — and enjoy it.
Other Applications for Coconut Oil
On top of adding coconut oil to diet and habit patterns, you can use it in other areas of your life, too.
As a Moisturizer
Most of the tips discussed involve adding coconut oil to your diet and consuming it directly, but it has other benefits, too! For example, it’s a great alternative to the pricey moisturizer you already have.
The natural oils and proteins contained within coconut oil have been found to be as effective as mineral oil for your skin, with the added benefit that it’s naturally antimicrobial. Plus, there are no synthetic chemicals, so it has no effect on the pH level of your skin. This results in beautiful skin that looks and feels great.
Coconut oil also prevents wrinkles and sagging skin because it gives you a natural shine. It’ll also help fend off fungi and yeast, alongside a multitude of other conditions.
For Your Hair
Do you often struggle with straggly, lifeless hair? Does it ever feel like you have a head covered in straw?
Grab some coconut oil and lather up your hair shortly after you’ve used your normal conditioner. Your hair will become much healthier, shinier and full. Research has shown coconut oil helps reduce protein loss in your hair when it’s used as a pre-wash or post-wash grooming product.
Some people apply coconut oil as a natural remedy to cuts, grazes and wounds to help further the healing process and prevent serious infection. It can even be used as a makeshift head lice treatment. When applied or lathered to an affected scalp, the buggers will slide right out.
To Brush Your Teeth
Don’t use coconut oil in place of your toothpaste, as that’s still just as important. However, the oils and antioxidants can reduce the bacteria in your mouth and sanitize your gums, helping with afflictions like gingivitis.
Ever wonder why so many diaper rash creams and baby oils smell like coconut? It’s because the oil keeps your little one’s skin moisturized, while also acting as an antimicrobial agent thanks to its Lauric Acid contents. Similar to breast milk — where lauric acid is also found — the oil can help fend off common problems that infants may face like diaper rash, yeast infections and more.
Homemade Makeup Remover
Having a tough time getting makeup off your face or skin? Just apply some coconut oil and you can wipe it away quickly and easily.
Coconut oil can act in a similar way to Vicks Vaporub when you’re congested or feeling ill. Just apply to the skin near your chest or under your nose.
If you don’t have any shaving cream handy, don’t fret. You can apply the area with some coconut oil and use it instead. It will feel great on your skin and can help prevent rashes and irritations.
Immune Booster for Pets
Coconut oil is great for your dogs, too. It can help boost their digestion and immune systems, and it will also improve the shine of their lovely fur coats.
As instructed by SitStay, start with small amounts, like ¾ of a tablespoon to a full tablespoon full at a time. Giving them too much at first can cause diarrhea and greasy stool. Once their bodies have adjusted, you can increase the amounts. At that point, you can give them 1 teaspoon for every 10 pounds, or 1 tablespoon for every 30 pounds.
You can also put coconut oil on your dog’s skin to help with irritations of the skin, reduce odor and leave their skin smooth and healthy. But that highlights another use for the natural oil — its properties as a deodorizer or odor-reducer. Remember: it’s oil, so never apply it to fabrics or materials that would be ruined by greasy oils. It can serve well as an air freshener or natural cleaner, too.
Where Do You Get Coconut Oil?
Most grocery stores — especially the major brands — stock several types of coconut oil. You’ll often find it in either the health food section, health and beauty department or even in the cooking and ingredients aisle. Every store differs, of course, so you may need to do a little searching in your local shop before you find it.
If you have a green thumb, you can grow coconut at home. You’ll need to be in a warm climate conducive to the plant, such as Florida or the southern Americas.
Which Type of Coconut Oil Is Best?
If and when you do find coconut oil in your local grocery or department store, you’re going to run into a few additional concerns. The biggest, of course, is which type of coconut oil you should purchase. Oil is oil, so they all look identical even across separate brands.
There are two major types you’ll need to know:
- Unrefined or Raw. This form of oil comes straight from the meat of the coconut. It’s natural, healthy and what many would consider to be organic. It also gives you more of the coconut flavor and comes with all the health benefits discussed here.
- This form of oil is processed and preserved, leaving a much weaker coconut flavor and smell. But it also contains a higher smoke point, which makes it great to use as a cooking oil. You likely want to avoid using refined oils on your body, skin and hair, but technically, it shouldn’t damage or harm anything.
Coconut Oil Is the Bee’s Knees
All jests aside, coconut oil has some extremely beneficial and positive uses that can improve your health, beauty and lifestyle. As with most natural remedies, it’s not a good substitute for normal routines and daily products. For example, you still want to eat a healthy, balanced diet and get plenty of exercise if you’re looking to lose weight. However, when used in combination with other activities and elements, coconut oil can do a lot to improve the quality of your life, not just your health.