Coconut oil is hot right now! But dear coconut oil, are you really just a lifestyle hype? Various women’s health magazines, online articles and many social media posts give praise to this amazing oil. There are many good reasons why the hype is REAL!
Many studies have proven why coconut oil is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. However, some individuals have become skeptical and even confused as to whether this superfood is something we should be consuming with its high content of saturated fats. While there is much talk about the consumption of fats, especially saturated, it’s not to say we cannot consume any. We need healthy fats and this is one of them! However, it is important to be aware of how much we’re consuming. Beyond using for cooking, there are many other ways to use this wonderful versatile oil!
How many times, more so lately, have we seen coconut oil on the shelves of beauty isles, whether it be as pure coconut oil marketed for beauty purposes or as an ingredient in a product? Before we dive into this a bit further, let’s gain some understanding as to what coconut oil is.
What is it?
Coconut oil is made from the coconut “meat” of the fruit. It can be pressed from fresh or dried meat. The oil, as well as the milk is pressed further and finally the oil is removed. This oil is unique in that at room temperature it has a soft texture. At a warm temperature, its liquid and at a cool temperature, it hardens due to the fat content.
Types of Coconut Oil
You may have seen coconut oil labeled refined, unrefined/virgin or cold- pressed, but what do these really mean?
- Refined- When the oil is steam refined, there are no chemicals used and gives a neutral, less coconut scent.
- Unrefined/ Virgin- This is the least processed state the oil can be sold in. The dried coconut meat is where the oil is sourced giving the flavor of nutty, yet sweet with a true coconut scent.
If looking to cook with this oil, look for unrefined, cold-pressed, organic and non- GMO on the label. This is surprisingly much easier to find than you’d think and can even be ordered online for your convenience!
Benefits of Coconut Oil
- Reduces inflammation
- Supports heart health
- Boosts energy levels
- Reduces the risk of developing heart disease
- Keeps the skin hydrated
There is a plethora of ways this oil can be used from cooking to skin and beauty care. Below, I’ll share with you some of my favorite ways to use.
- Cooking- When it comes to using this oil for cooking, you can use either refined or unrefined interchangeably. However, refined oil is best used at higher heats instead virgin which makes it great for stir-frying or sautéing. If looking at nutritional value, the two types are the same with about 65% medium chain triglycerides and about 50% of that being lauric acid. In my house, I alternate between using olive oil and coconut oil, as olive oil has many benefits as well. However, coconut oil has a mild, but slightly sweet taste, which I love! For breakfast, I sauté veggies and toss into an omelet. It’s a great ingredient in sauces, as well as in baked goods. It may come as a surprise to you, but try adding a spoonful to your smoothie for an extra boost of healthy fats! Not a fan of smoothies in the morning? No worries! It’s great in granola when mixed with nuts such as walnuts or almonds- an oh so delicious start to your morning or even as a snack later in the day! Lastly, if I haven’t used any coconut oil thus far in the day, there are two ways I like to end my day and you guessed it, both use coconut oil! One is to pop some homemade popcorn using coconut oil which gives the kernels a nice subtle coconut flavor. The second is to mix 1-2 teaspoons into a hot cup of peppermint or herbal tea. It’s a delight, trust me!
- Skin Care- I’ve spent considerable time researching, trying and buying products that sound promising. In the end, my skin wasn’t better, my bank account wasn’t happy and I was left feeling discouraged. I know so many women, and men too, who have invested a plethora of money on products. Maybe you have, too.
- Coconut oil is my go-to for lotion, moisturizer, lip balm and even toothpaste! I use it on my face and body just as I would lotion. But you may be saying, well isn’t it oily? Yes, it is, but good news- coconut oil absorbs rather quickly and as long as you allow a couple of minutes for the absorption, there’s no staining. Due to the smaller fat molecules, coconut oil absorbs into the skin rather easily, making it a perfect moisturizer! It especially locks in moisturizer after showers, providing an abundance of hydration for the skin. Personally, I go with the cold pressed and unrefined which is coconut oil in its least processed, raw form.
- Lip Care- Did you know many brands of lip care use coconut oil? When I don’t use coconut oil for my lips, I buy a coconut oil based natural lip balm for easy use to keep with me at all times. It is so hydrating!
- Make up Remover This is the best make up remover I’ve ever used! The makeup comes right off and makes my skin feel so smooth. It can be gently dabbed on the skin and wiped off with a cloth such as a warm washcloth.
- Mouth Rinse- It’s best used combined with baking soda with the option of adding a refreshing essential oil such as peppermint. After continued, consistent use, you will see whiter teeth and healthier gums, as it pulls all oil and harmful bacteria out of the mouth. This leads to oil pulling with is what some turn to as a way to improve the health of gums and teeth. It is especially prominent in practicing Ayurvedic medicine to reduce tooth decay and “detox” the mouth.
With many uses, there’s no excuse to not incorporate this oil into your life in some way. Try using for lotion, sauté your veggies tonight for dinner or use for mouth rinse before bed. I truly love the versatility of this oil and have multiple jars around my house. Give it a try and I know you’ll soon understand why coconut oil is one of the best superfoods out there!