Health

Coconut Oil Benefits and Uses

Coconut oil has been a staple product for me for yeeeeears now. I use it on my food, my teeth, my hair, my skin (and the list goes on and on).

Coconut oil is my “Windex” (a little My Big Fat Greek Wedding reference for you all 😉), it is my go to for almost anything, and has soooo many benefits and uses!

Coconut Oil Benefits

  • Great for hair: Coconut oil is used by many in their hair for its rich fat content, which can be beneficial for certain hair types. You can use it as a hair mask, in homemade hair products, or hot oil treatments.
  • Moisturise skin: It’s natural antioxidant properties make it great for helping to prevent wrinkles and irritated skin. Plus it works well as a natural moisturiser because of its unique fat composition.
  • Good for digestion: The fats found in coconut oil can be good for digestive health. What’s more, it’s antimicrobial properties may help in stopping infection and irritation in the gut which can be caused from Candida.
  • Full of healthy fats: Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, a type of fat that’s well-known for its antimicrobial properties, as well as aiding the body in fighting viruses and bacterial infections. It makes up about 50% of the fatty acids found in coconut oil, making it the second richest source of lauric acid after breastmilk.
  • Supports the immune system: The MCTs (medium-chain-triglycerides), otherwise known as medium-chain fatty-acids (MCFAs), in coconut oil like lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid contain antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties which 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.
  • Maintains its chemical structure when heated: Coconut oil doesn’t break down as easily as other oils do when heated, as it has a more stable structure. It also doesn’t go rancid as easily and maintains its nutritional properties.

Uses of Coconut Oil

Here some of the many, many uses of coconut oil for beauty, health, cooking, and use around the home!

  • The high levels of lauric acid and MCFAs in coconut oil help to boost metabolism when used in foods.
  • Use as a replacement for vegetable oils in any recipes or to cook with.
  • Can be used as an anti-aging facial moisturiser, or on the skin as a basic lotion.
  • Use with other oils as part of a healthy skin care routine.
  • It’s antibacterial properties make it helpful for reducing odour when used in a homemade natural deodorant.
  • Coconut oil works wonders in removing eye make-up.
  • Great to use in natural homemade lotion recipes.
  • Great to use as a massage oil – simply add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to it and your ready to go!
  • Can be used in lip balm recipes or used by itself to rub onto lips to act as a natural lip balm.
  • Used in natural homemade sunscreen recipes for healthy sun protection.
  • As a natural lubricant that won’t interfere with vaginal flora.
  • As a natural shaving cream and 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.
  • Rub onto scalp daily to encourage hair growth.
  • 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 several rounds of shampoo.
  • Rub a tiny amount onto your hands, and then rub through hair as an anti-frizz treatment.
  • May help to encourage weight loss when taken daily.
  • May support healthy thyroid function when used in food.
  • May help improve sleep when consumed daily.
  • When consumed regularly, may help to improve insulin levels in the body.
  • When applied topically, it may help skin to heal faster after an injury due to its healthy fats.
  • When used regularly and consistently on skin, it may help get rid of cellulite.
  • Some studies show that the beneficial fats in coconut oil can help with anxiety and depression.
  • When taken regularly, coconut oil may help improve hormone production.
  • It may help to improve circulation and assist those who often feel cold.
  • May help to relieve pain caused by haemorrhoids when applied topically.
  • Research has found that saturated fats like coconut oil may help in preventing Alzheimer’s disease.
  • 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 to sooth skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema.
  • May help improve ratios of good and bad cholesterol.
  • When used topically, it can help improve the appearance of varicose veins.
  • Can help in speeding up the healing process of sunburns once the initial heat has gone out of it.
  • Mixing 1 tbsp of coconut oil in with hot tea may help to speed up recovery from colds or the flu.
  • It’s anti-inflammatory properties may help lessen the extent of arthritis.
  • Coconut oil can help sooth the itch from mosquito bites, chicken pox, or poison ivy.
  • When used regularly, coconut oil may help improve acne.
  • Melting 1 tbsp of coconut oil into a warm cup of tea can help relieve a sore throat.
  • Coconut oil, when taken internally and externally, may help speed up the recovery process of UTIs.
  • It may help to naturally clear up cold sores.
  • Consuming coconut oil daily may help with allergy symptoms.
  • When mixed with apple cider vinegar, it can be used as a natural treatment for lice.

The Different Types of Coconut Oil

Extra Virgin

This is what you want when looking for olive oil, however it’s not the same for coconut oil. This involves cold-pressing the oil, but it does not preserve the antioxidants. Researchers found that heat is needed to produce the highest amount of antioxidants in virgin coconut oil.

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 optimal choice for coconut oils. It offers 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 has been shown to be beneficial and produce a higher quality oil. Studies have shown that the heat does not reduce nutrient levels in the 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 unrefined coconut oil has.

So Which One Is Better?

For internal use, unrefined organic coconut oil is best. For external uses, expeller pressed fractionated oil (or other types of refined coconut oil) will work just fine. I just keep it simple and use unrefined organic coconut oil for all my uses with it.

As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor before trying or using any new products.

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What’s your favourite use for coconut oil? Share with me in the comments below!

❤ Vanessa

 

 

Sources:

Wells, Katie. (January 23, 2019). 101+ Best Coconut Oil Uses and Benefits for Home and Beauty. Wellness Mama. Retrieved from https://wellnessmama.com/5734/coconut-oil/

Axe, Josh, Dr., DC, DMN, CNS. (May 21, 2018). 20 Coconut Oil Benefits for Your Brain, Heart, Joints + More!. Dr. Axe. Retrieved from https://draxe.com/coconut-oil-benefits/

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

Spritzler, Franziska, RD, CDE. (January 16, 2019). 29 Clever Uses for Coconut Oil. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/coconut-oil-uses

 

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