Saturday, January 4, 2014

An Ode to Coconut Oil

I had always heard about the benefits of coconut oil for your hair, but it wasn’t until very recently that I discovered that this oil is truly a multi-purpose product for health and beauty!

First, let’s start off with the healthy properties of coconut oil. Organic, cold-pressed coconut oil contains an abundant amount of lauric acid ( around 40%) which is amazing because the only other natural source of this acid is breast milk – aka something that’s not accessible to most of us ;). It has antiviral, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties and not only is it extremely helpful when taken internally because it prevents infections and viruses like the flu, but it also has antiseptic and healing abilities when applied externally.

Internal Use:

I have been mixing a teaspoon of coconut oil with hot water and lemon and I drink this in the mornings. This is a quick and easy way to consume coconut oil in order to reap its health benefits, otherwise coconut oil can be quite heavy when taken straight. This drink is also a great way to detoxify and help your liver. I have noticed that I have more energy and feel more awake when I drink this, which says a lot because I am usually dependent on coffee to be a functioning human being in the mornings! I am slowly trying to incorporate up to two tablespoons of coconut oil into my daily routine as the taste and texture (while delicious!) does take some getting used to. Simply adding coconut oil to your tea or coffee is another alternative for those that do need some caffeine.

I’ve also started using coconut oil to “oil-pull”. This is the process of swirling a tablespoon of oil in your mouth for around 20 minutes . This helps to clean your mouth by getting rid of bacteria, improves your dental health, and even removes stains from your teeth. I tend to have sensitive gums which feel “itchy” and irritated at times and I’ve noticed that this sensation goes away after I oil-pull.  Just be sure to spit out all the oil and rinse your mouth out afterwards with water – and never gargle or swallow the oil as it is full with bacteria!

External Use:

Because of its anti-bacterial and moisturizing properties, coconut oil is great to use on your skin!

It is very useful in removing bacteria and nourishing your skin, for example, from cuts and scrapes, or dry cuticles and hangnails. I get extremely dry skin in the winter time, especially on my hands  and I’ve noticed that when I would apply coconut oil overnight, my cuticles and hangnails would be extremely softened and the irritation and redness would be gone. I also use it as a face moisturizer when my skin is really dry – but I do this sparingly because it’s a very heavy moisturizer and there are some reports that it can block your pores. I have personally never had a problem with this but everyone’s skin is different.

This is also a great moisturizer to use all over your body, and can also be used as a shaving gel! It helps with dandruff as well – simply massage the oil onto the affected area and allow it to soak in!  Additionally, it’s an important ingredient in DIY lip balm...or you could even just use it by itself on your lips.

What type of Coconut Oil should one use?

It is important to get organic, extra virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil in order to gain all the anti-bacterial and health benefits, otherwise, many of these health properties are lost in the refining process.

I am currently using Artisana Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil and Trader Joe’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil (as you can see I’m almost out of it!). Both of these are amazing and go a long way – a quarter-sized amount of solid coconut oil is enough to cover both my hands and a little past my wrists (when melted). They were both around $10 USD, which is great considering how many of your products can be replaced by just one jar of coconut oil! There are other brands you can find at your local health store and online, but just make sure they are cold-pressed, organic, and extra-virgin if possible!

PHEW! That was a lot of information! Not sure if you’ll be able to remember it all? Check out and save this handy infographic from Pinterest for a break-down of all the benefits of coconut oil!

Are there any other ways that you use coconut oil? Let me know in the comments!

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