Coconut Oil: Benefits & Uses

Do you want some coconut oil with that?

Coconut oil is by far one of the most versatile oils I’ve come across… I use it on my hair, skin, nails, lips, teeth, as well as in my cooking (it’s a household staple).

Over the years it’s become my “Windex“; my go-to for almost anything due to its many, many benefits and uses.

Plus, coconut oil is a much more sustainable option than palm oil, and doesn’t change its chemical structure when heated at high temperatures (some oils become carcinogenic when heated too high, like olive oil for instance).

Coconut Oil Benefits

Some of the many benefits of coconut oil include:

  • Hair: The rich fat content in coconut oil may be beneficial for certain hair types. You can use it as a hair mask, in homemade hair products, or hair treatments.
  • Skin moisturiser: Naturally high in antioxidants, making it helpful in preventing wrinkles, soothing irritated skin, and also works well as a moisturiser due to its unique fat composition.
  • Digestion: The fats found in coconut oil can be good for digestive health. Furthermore, its antimicrobial properties make it helpful in preventing infection and irritation in the gut which can be caused from candida.
  • Protect teeth: Oil pulling – which involves swishing coconut oil around the mouth like a mouthwash – may help kill harmful bacteria in the mouth. This may improve oral health, clean and detoxify teeth and gums, reduce bad breath and even whiten teeth naturally.
  • Rich in healthy fats: Lauric acid, a type of fat that’s well-known for its antimicrobial properties, and can assist the body in fighting viruses and bacterial infections, makes up about 50% of the fatty acids found in coconut oil. This makes coconut oil the second richest source of lauric acid after breastmilk.
  • Supports immunity: The MCTs (medium-chain-triglycerides), otherwise known as medium-chain fatty-acids (MCFAs), in coconut oil – such as lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid – contain antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties which may aid in immune support.
  • Supports hormone production: Specific fats in coconut oil may help to support the proper functioning and production of hormones.
  • Improves brain function: MCTs in coconut oil may help to improve memory, recall ability, focus, and mental performance. A 2006 study reported that MCTs improved brain function in people with milder forms of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Raise HDL (good) cholesterol: The natural saturated fats found in coconut oil may help increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels in the body, while also helping to turn LDL (bad) cholesterol into a less harmful form.
  • Maintains chemical structure when heated: Coconut oil doesn’t break down as easily as other oils do when heated, as it contains a more stable structure. It also doesn’t go rancid as easily and maintains its nutritional properties.
The best choice for coconut oils is unrefined organic coconut oil. It provides the most benefits.

Coconut Oil Uses

Some of the many uses of coconut oil include:

  • Use as a replacement for vegetable oils in any recipe or to cook with.
  • Can be used as an anti-aging facial moisturiser, or on the skin as a basic lotion.
  • Use alongside other oils as part of a healthy skin care routine.
  • It’s antibacterial properties make it helpful in reducing body odour when used in a homemade natural deodorant.
  • Coconut oil can be used to remove eye make-up.
  • Great to use as a massage oil – simply add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to it and it’s good to go!
  • Can be used in lip balm recipes or used by itself to rub onto lips.
  • Used in natural homemade sunscreen recipes for natural sun protection.
  • Use as a natural lubricant that won’t interfere with vaginal flora.
  • As a natural shaving cream or as an after shaving lotion.
  • Use by itself or with baking soda as a natural teeth whitening toothpaste.
  • Rub onto cuticles to help nails grow healthy and strong.
  • Rub onto elbows to help relieve dry skin.
  • As a concentrated conditioner – Simply rub into dry hair, pop a shower cap on and leave for a few hours before washing it out thoroughly with a few rounds of shampoo.
  • May support healthy thyroid function when used in food.
  • When applied topically, it may help skin to heal faster after an injury due to its healthy fats.
  • Can be used on wood furniture to keep it looking shiny and polished.
  • May help to improve circulation and assist those who often feel cold.
  • May help to relieve pain caused by haemorrhoids when applied topically.
  • When rubbed on the inside of your nose, coconut oil may help to relieve allergy symptoms.
  • Coconut oil’s antibacterial and antimicrobial properties make it helpful as a topical remedy for killing yeast and yeast infections.
  • May help sooth skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema.
  • When used topically, may help improve the appearance of varicose veins.
  • May help speed up healing of sunburns once the initial heat has gone out of it.
  • Coconut oil can help sooth the itch from mosquito bites, chicken pox, or poison ivy.
  • Melting 1 tbsp of coconut oil into a warm cup of tea can help relieve a sore throat.
  • Use to get rid of stains, including spills on carpets and furniture – combine one part coconut oil with one part baking soda and mix into a paste. Apply to stain, wait 5-10 minutes, then wash away.
  • When taken internally and externally, may help speed up the recovery of UTIs.
  • May help naturally clear up cold sores.
  • Mixed with apple cider vinegar, it can be used as a natural treatment for lice.
  • Use to make a non-toxic insect repellent – combine bug-repelling essential oils with coconut oil as the carrier, and apply to skin.
For internal use, unrefined organic coconut oil is best. For external use, expeller-pressed fractionated oil is okay.

Different Types of Coconut Oil

Extra Virgin

When looking for olive oil, this is the type you want. However, it’s not the same for coconut oil. This involves cold-pressing the oil, but it does not preserve the antioxidants.

Refined

Refined coconut oil often has no coconut smell and is quite tasteless. It’s usually bleached, heated, and deodorised, which can leave many refined coconut oils without the beneficial qualities that unrefined coconut oils have.

Unrefined Organic

This is the best choice for coconut oils. It provides the most benefits, and is extracted from fresh coconuts using a wet-milled fermentation process that protects the beneficial properties of the oil. This form of coconut oil has been found to contain the highest levels of antioxidants. This process does use heat, which is shown to be beneficial when extracting coconut oil, and produces a higher quality oil.

MCT or Fractionated

Fractionated oil, or MCT oil, is a liquid oil that does not solidify below 24˚C (76˚F) like unrefined oil does. It’s higher in brain-boosting fats, but does not contain all the beneficial properties that unrefined coconut oil has.

For internal use, unrefined organic coconut oil is best. For external use, expeller-pressed fractionated oil will work just fine.

As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor before trying or using any new products. It’s important to check with a doctor before taking this or any new product, especially if taking any other medicine or supplement or if pregnant or nursing. Be sure to check ingredients to make sure there is no risk of an allergic reaction.

What’s your favourite use for coconut oil? Share in the comments below.

Lots of love,

🖤 Vanessa

Sources:

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Levy, Jillian, CHHC. (August 14, 2017). Fight Acne and Infections with Lauric Acid. Dr. Axe. Retrieved from https://draxe.com/lauric-acid/

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