In years gone by, a diet high in saturated fat was condemned and coconut oil was on the list of foods to avoid. But today, if we start to discuss about the various benefits of coconut oil, the list might not end for a very long time. Coconut oil can be a natural solution to many of our common health issues, everything from frizzy hair, dry skin, digestion issues, blood cholesterol, regulate weight and the list goes on and on…  It has been noted that people who eat coconut regularly are amongst the healthiest people (Tokelauans in the South Pacific are the biggest consumers of saturated fat in the world and are said to be in good health with vascular disease being very uncommon¹) and so coconut oil as well, can give you many great health benefits.

I’m not going to give you 101 uses for the stuff, you can find lots of suggestions on the web. But if you are not already using coconut oil in your daily life, then here are just a few benefits that might convince you to introduce it to your cupboard –

– Coconut oil contains Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) – which are fatty acids of a medium length – which are metabolised differently by the body. From the digestive tract these fats go straight to the liver where they are immediately coverted into energy (fuel for the brain and muscle function) rather than it being stored as fat. This can have therapeutic effects on brain disorders like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s.

– Using coconut oil for cooking can help you to maintain a healthy weight (long term) as it helps to burn more fat (The MCT’s as mentioned above, in coconut oil have been shown to increase 24 hour energy expenditure by as much as 5%, potentially leading to significant weight loss). This is because it boosts your metabolic rate, which makes the fat burning process of the body much faster².

– It also makes your digestive system work more effectively and prevents bloating in the stomach.

– It contains lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid which have antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral properties to help to boost your immune system. Lauric acid contains the highest concentration of MCT’s, approximately 75 per cent.

– It can help to control your sugar cravings as well as control hunger pangs.

– Use it to reduce frizziness by applying a small amount to the ends of your hair. You can also use it to remove cradle cap (its very safe very for bub) and reduce dandruff.

– It can also help to manage type 2 diabetes.

– Using it like mouthwash in a process called oil pulling (it kills harmful bacteria in the mouth and improves dental health)

– Massage it onto your nails to treat dry cuticles and moisturize your hands at the same time (I love Banaban products especially their Lemon Myrtle Body Oil and their Extra Virgin Coconut Cream Body Butter – perfect for dry hands and body and you can also apply your favourite essential oil to it!)

Coconut oil if mixed with baking soda and applied to the skin can give your skin a natural glow, removing the dryness of the skin (you can also add essential oil to mix for added benefit – try Lavender (Calming) or Frankincense (Anti-inflammatory).

– Instead of using make up remover which can leave your skin dry and irritated, you can use coconut oil for removing the makeup.

– If you face problems with acne, redness or irritation, coconut oil can provide calming and soothing relief. I have suffered from many allergic reactions to products over the years and coconut oil is a very neutral solution to many skin care woes.

– It has great anti-aging properties and is great for sunburn if you have over indulged!

Other uses –
– You can mix coconut oil with baking soda and can use this mixture as toothpaste to brush your teeth.
– Try applying it to your underarms when you want a mild antiperspirant (coconut oil is a natural deodorant!)
– Add it to your coffee instead of milk to give it a nutty taste!

References –
1 – Polynesians and Cholesterol
2 – Coconut Oil and Obesity