Have you seen all of the hype about coconut oil and found yourself wondering, 'what does coconut oil do for you'? Well my friend, settle in, because I'm about to put it all out there for you.
Coconut oil is one of my favorite things.
I always have at least three jars in my house. Seriously – there's one in my pantry, one by the stove and one in the bathroom. Sometimes I have one by the sink and one in the shower.
I use it for cooking, add it to my coffee or smoothies for the healthy fats, use it in my hair as a deep conditioner, lather it on burns or just as a natural skin moisturizer. It's anti-inflammatory properties make it a great eye cream, it's perfect in place of chapstick and it's my favorite oil to use for oil-pulling.
Coconut oil is such an amazing multi-tasker, and nourishes our bodies from the inside and outside. There are more than 1,500 studies that prove coconut oil to be one of the healthiest foods on the planet – how nuts is that? See, coconut oil is chock full of MCFAs, or medium fatty chain acids, that are incredibly good for us and are easier to digest than long chain fatty acids found in many other plant oils.
Are you intrigued yet?
MCFAs are also naturally anti-fungal and anti-microbial (hence why I put it on burns and scrapes), not readily stored as fat and give you long-lasting energy. The medium chain fatty acids are also great reducing the risk of heart disease and lowering blood pressure, because consuming coconut oil contains tons of natural saturated fats. These saturated fats are the 'good fats' that have become so buzz-worthy lately. Those fats that can help you lose weight, give you more energy, prevent sugar crashes and cravings and lower your blood pressure and risk of heart disease. See, saturated fats – like the ones in coconut oil – help increase your good cholesterol (HDL) and turn the bad cholesterol (LDL) into good cholesterol. Two birds with one stone, am I right? Except that coconut oil is more like 10 birds with one stone, but you know what I mean.
Coconut oil has also been linked to Alzheimer's prevention, cancer prevention, stronger immune systems, improved memory and brain function, better digestion and more.
Ready to incorporate this amazing superfood into your life? Keep reading for details on my favorite ways to use coconut oil and how to do it!
- Deep Conditioner – warm a tablespoon sized dollop of coconut oil in your hands, then work the oil into your hair, starting at the ends. Add oil as needed – I end up using 3/4 to a full cup of oil to coat my whole head – I have a lot of hair! Toss your hair into a ponytail or bun and let it sit. I'll leave the oil in for at least 20 minutes and up to a couple of hours, then rinse it out using apple cider vinegar follow by regular shampoo and conditioner.
- Oil Pulling – coconut oil is my favorite for oil pulling – the ancient Ayurvedic practice of swishing oil around your mouth to pull out toxins. Right when I get up, I put about 1 tbsp of coconut oil in my mouth and start to swish it around. You can add a drop or two of essential oils (peppermint is nice) to the oil before you start swishing. I leave the oil in for at least 10 minutes, usually closer to 15 or 20, then spit and rinse out your mouth. I brush my teeth then and there to get rid of any remaining toxins. Oil pulling gets rid of bad breath, germs and naturally whitens your teeth!
- Anti-Inflammatory Eye Cream – coconut oil is naturally anti-inflammatory, which makes it excellent for and puffy under-eye circles. After my nighttime skincare ritual, I'll dab a bit of coconut oil onto my ring fingers and tap the oil under my eyes. The moisturizing benefits of coconut oil are great for any fine lines, while the anti-inflammatory properties depuff things and leave me looking bright eyed and bushy-tailed the next morning.
- Breakfast Add-On – As I mentioned, the healthy fats from coconut oil are a great source of long-lasting energy, so I love to add 1-2 tbsp to my breakfasts. I'll add a dollop to oatmeal, smoothies, spread it onto toast or muffins, and of course I love making frothy, delicious bulletproof coffee. The added healthy fats keep me feeling fuller longer, keep my energy levels up and help my body to regulate any sugar (naturally occurring from fruits + grains) in my bloodstream. I'm a big fan – I use it in so many of my breakfast recipes.
Did I miss any of your favorite ways to use coconut oil? Let me know!