10 Ways to Use Coconut Oil
I’m slightly obsessed with coconut oil. In fact, at this very moment, there are about 4 jars strategically positioned around my house for various uses. And use it I do.
Why my strange obsession with a kitchen ingredient? Because coconut oil can be used in tons of different ways, it smells like Tahiti, (or at least what I imagine Tahiti would smell like) and it reaps major nutritional benefits as well.
Let’s talk about that nutrition, shall we?
Coconut oil is high in saturated fat. Yes, the scary fat you should avoid. But coconut oil contains a different kind of saturated fat made of medium-chain-triglycerides (MCT’s), which are fatty acids made of a medium length. MCT’s are metabolized and digested in our body immediately, as opposed to being carried into the blood and stored as fat cells. This is what sets coconut oil apart from other foods with high levels of saturated fat, like meat, dairy, and processed foods. This quick breakdown gives us a little boost of energy and results in less strain on the liver, pancreas, and digestive system. Because coconut oil is so easily digestible, it also tends to help improve the absorption of other nutrients as well.
Coconut oil is also heart healthy. The saturated fat in coconut oil helps to raise your body’s “good” HDL cholesterol, which protects our tickers from heart disease and heart attack. HDL carries cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where it can be passed from the body.
So, how can you incorporate coconut oil into your daily routine? Here are 10 of my favorite uses of coconut oil:
1. Eat it!
Coconut oil tastes amazing and can be used in nearly everything. Use it as a butter or oil replacement in baked goods, put it in your tea or coffee, spread it like butter on your toast, put it in a smoothie, drizzle it on popcorn, put it in a sweet potato, mix it into almond butter and spread on a sandwich, and cook/sauté everything in it! Coconut oil is extremely resistant to free radical generation at high temperatures, unlike other oils. This means that it is very safe to cook with.
2. Body Moisturizer
Coconut oil is hands down the best lotion that Mother Nature offers. Commercial lotions contain a lot of chemical ingredients that are absorbed into our body’s largest organ, our skin. Wouldn’t you rather slather your skin in tropical, rich goodness that smells hypothetically like Tahiti? Coconut oil’s nourishing fatty acids can rid your skin of acne and acne scarring, eczema, psoriasis, and dry/itchy skin. A little bit goes a long way, and even if the consistency is hard, it will quickly melt on your skin. Say helloooo to incredibly hydrated skin and goodbye to conventional and costly body lotions.
3. Eye Makeup Remover
Coconut oil is an incredibly effective eye makeup remover, getting everything from waterproof mascara, to eyeliner, and lipstick off easily. Just dab a bit on your eyes and gently wipe away with a cotton pad. The excess oil left behind will also help nourish your delicate eye area as well.
4. Homemade Deodorant
Coconut oil can be used to make your own homemade deodorant…that really works! Check out my version here. Because of its anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties, coconut oil can keep your underarms fresh, clean, and smell-free without having to use conventional products, which are loaded with aluminum, synthetic fragrances, and chemicals.
5. Nourishing Hair Mask
Coconut oil has the ability to fully penetrate the hair shaft, which results in deeply nourished and healthy hair. If you tend to have dry or damaged hair, try using coconut oil as a hair mask to see amazing results. Because of its anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties, coconut oil is wonderful for scalp health and dandruff. Simply rub coconut oil throughout your dry hair and leave on for a few hours or overnight. When you wash your hair, you’ll notice immediately how soft and smooth it feels.
6. Homemade Body Scrub
Never ever buy body scrub again; it is so easy to make your own. Mix equal parts coconut oil with white sugar and scrub away! A weekly scrub is great method for removing dead skin cells, reducing cellulite, and creating nourished and beautiful skin.
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that helps to clean, detoxify, reduce sensitivity, improve gum health and whiten teeth by removing bacteria from the mouth. Oil pulling may also have benefits besides the mouth and is used by holistic practitioners for migraine headache relief, hormonal imbalances, inflammation, allergies, and more. In order to oil pull; simply take a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth. Swish the coconut oil around, just like you would with regular mouthwash, for 20 minutes. Yes, that long. After 20 minutes, spit out the oil and rinse your mouth well. My suggestion is to start small with oil pulling, try it out for 5 minutes and get used to the sensation, and build from there. Oil pulling is best done in the morning, before eating or drinking.
8. Lip Balm
Many conventional lip balms contain petroleum-by-products, which actually dry out your lips, rather than moisturize them. All those good fatty acids in coconut oil completely nourish your lips, and provide a pretty glossy shine.
9. Shaving Oil
Coconut oil is an ideal shaving cream as it lubricates the legs/underarm/face and nourishes at the same time. Your razor will glide easily, and if you do happen to knick your skin, the healing properties of coconut oil can help speed recovery and reduce scarring.
10. Pet Health
Ok, so not technically for you – but just as fun and useful! My parent’s two dogs love coconut oil just as much as I do. Even if they are on the other side of the house, they come running if they hear me open up a jar. Coconut oil can do wonders internally and externally to your pet. I give them each a teaspoon throughout the week to promote a shiny coat, good breath and to aid in digestion. Try it to see if your pets enjoy it too! Of course, if your dog has any ailments or issues, consult with your veterinarian first.
Convinced on giving it a try? Here’s the skinny on coconut oil.
What Should I buy?
Always buy certified organic extra virgin unrefined coconut oil. You want the least processed product you can find, which means it hasn’t been stripped of any of its beneficial properties through excess refining, heating, and processing.
Where can I find it?
I buy a humongous jar of coconut oil at Costco that keeps me happy for a month or two. You can also find coconut oil at any natural foods store, Trader Joes, or Whole Foods. You can even order it online if you can’t find it in your area.
How much is it?
A jar of coconut oil will cost you anywhere from $7-15. This is a bargain, especially when you think of all the money it’s going to save you from not buying other products!
Where do I store it?
Leave coconut oil in your pantry, not in the refrigerator. It has a very long shelf life due to all those anti-microbial properties. You will notice that it the coconut oil will be a liquid at 76° F, and a solid at lower temperatures. If it is a solid, it can be liquefied easily by applying a low level heat.
If you’ve never tried coconut oil before, I would love you to give it a try. If you do use coconut oil regularly, comment below and let me know in what ways you use it!