September 28, 2015

The Best Uses for Coconut Oil (Other than Cooking)

Coconut oil. Do you have a jar in your kitchen, bedroom or bathroom? Yes you read that right. I said bedroom and bathroom. Because not only is coconut oil one of the best oils to cook with, it is also great for so many other things. Seriously. Just read on.

But first things first. Why is coconut oil one of my favourite oils to cook with? Lots of reasons. It's a great source of medium chain triglycerides, is heat stable, and contains a lot of lauric acid. Say what? Don't worry I will explain.

Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) are a special type of short chain saturated fat. Yes saturated fat. Don't be scared. This type of saturated fat is different than the longer chains found in animal fat (although you don't need to be scared of animal fat either - but that lesson can be left for another time). MCTs are special because they don't require bile salts for absorption in the gut; they diffuse directly from your gut to your blood and can be used by yours cells for energy without modification. Cool right?

Coconut oil is heat stable. This means that you can heat it to high temperatures without worrying. It won't produce any nasty free radicals or oxidize when it is heated (unlike other oils such as olive oil).

Coconut oil contains a lot of lauric acid. Almost 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil are lauric acid, which actually has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. Yep that's right, food really is medicine!

Plus there are many other health benefits associated with eating coconut oil, including weight loss, improvements in your cholesterol, better brain function etc etc. I will do another post dedicated solely to the health benefits of coconut oil in the future. In the mean time let's get to my favourite uses for coconut oil (other than cooking).

1. Moisturizer

Most conventional creams and lotions are filled with chemicals and synthetic ingredients. Just look at the ingredient list on your favourite cream and I bet you can't pronounce most of the things listed there. That's a bad sign my friends. Those things don't belong on your skin. At least in my opinion. We are exposed to so many chemicals, fuels, carcinogens etc. on a daily basis that we can't control, so why not take control of the things that go on your skin? After all, besides your gut, your skin has the second largest surface area of any organ in your body. That means there is a lot of room to improve your health simply but changing what you put on your skin. Coconut oil is a great moisturizer because it absorbs quickly and is non-comedogenic. I use it on my body, but I know many people that use it as their facial moisturizer as well. Just be cautious if you are acne prone, in some people it seems to help their acne, but in others it can make it worse. Again, everyone is different so you will need to see for yourself. An added tip is to add a few drops of your favorite scented essential oil to your coconut oil to make a scented moisturizer without the artificial scents found in conventionally scented products. One of my favourite additions is peppermint oil. But lemon and lavender are also great.  

2. Teeth Cleaner

I am sure by now you have heard of oil pulling. And if not you are living under a rock. Okay maybe not, but seriously this method has been all over the blogging world recently. I for one have been oil pulling for almost a year now (has it really been that long???). And I have definitely seen improvements in my oral health. Not only can this method whiten your teeth, but it can restore your gum health and even help heal certain chronic diseases. Briefly, to oil pull, you put 1 TBSP of oil in your mouth, first thing in the morning, (coconut oil is my favourite but other oils can be used as well) and swish it around in your mouth for 20 minutes. Then you rinse your mouth and carry on with your day. 20 minutes may seem like a long time, but trust me you get used to it quickly. I started oil pulling after I was told I had my first cavity at age 28 (although in hind sight I'm not sure if I really believe that I did... but I will keep my skeptical opinions to myself). Needless to say I was horrified so I started researching what I could do to improve my gum health and prevent further cavities. And oil pulling has been the answer. The dentist has been amazed at the improvements in my gum health. But oil pulling has the potential to improve your health in so many other ways. There is no way I can summarize it here but you can learn more by reading this book that goes into much more detail.

3. Wound Healing

As I mentioned, coconut oil contains a lot of lauric acid which is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral. Hence it has the potential to help heal cuts and wounds. Now I would never recommend that you go against medical advice if antibiotics are recommended for a more seriously infected skin wound or infection, but most day-to-day scrapes, cuts and injuries don't require antibiotics. Simply use coconut oil as you would polysporin or other topical agents. You can even add a few drops of an essential oil with anti-bacterial properties for even more potency.

4. Face Wash 

Oil cleansing. Have you heard of this? Basically it's a way to wash your face with oil. Yes I realize this might sound a little crazy, but the idea is that you are trying to restore the natural oil production of your face by not stripping away the oil the way that modern cleansers tend to do. This method is used by many people with great success. However, it is not for everyone. I started oil cleansing about 3 weeks ago and I am still undecided. Many people have an initial worsening of their skin while it adjusts (which I have definitely seen) and then people tend to see improvement. However, not everyone does. I will let you know how the rest of my experiment goes. I am going to try and give it about 6-8 weeks to test it properly.
To oil cleanse you apply the oil of your choice to your face, and massage it in for 1-2 minutes. You then apply a hot face cloth to your face for 1 minute, or until the cloth cools. Then you remove all the oil with a washcloth. You can use coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil etc etc for this. And different oils are better for different skin types so make sure you do your research before starting.

5. Lubricant 

Yes I really mean lubricant. I have to say that when I started my blog a couple years ago I never would have thought I would be talking about sex. But since we are discussing all things health related here it was bound to come up eventually. And a healthy sex life is so important to a healthy relationship and your overall health, so it's time we talk about it. So here goes.
Let's just say that coconut oil makes a great lubricant. It melts quickly, contains no chemicals and even tastes good. So go to your cupboards and please throw out all your jars/bottles/tubes of convention lubricants. You don't even want to look at the ingredient lists. They are horrifying. If you ask me that stuff has no business being near your genital area. Or your mouth for that matter. For an added bonus you can even add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to the coconut oil for a cooling/ tingly sensation. 

Bonus Uses

  • Make up remover
  • Shaving gel
  • Tooth paste

There you go friends. My favourite uses for coconut oil other than cooking. I would love to know if you try any of these! And if you are totally new to coconut oil I highly recommend the Nutiva brand. It is the one I use in my house. You can find it here.

Until next time, happy eating friends!

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  1. Would you recommend using virgin coconut oil or just any kind?

    1. Hey Chasity. I personally use virgin. My favorite brand is Nutiva organic virgin coconut oil

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