Your Health and Beauty Must-Have!
In the tropics, it’s no secret that a daily dose of coconut oil is THE secret to a glowing complexion and brilliant health. And here in the western world we are starting to wake up to the benefits of a skin care routine minus the chemicals, and a diet which incorporates as much of this exotic elixir as possible, too. Coconut oil is finally being recognised for its plus points. And there are so many to mention that one article barely scratches the surface. But here are some of the many reasons that you too might want to start stocking up on the good stuff.
Being one of the healthiest oils to cook with, unrefined, raw or extra virgin coconut oil is perfect for your frying pan – especially when it comes to dishes that are pan-seared or stir-fried. Unlike animal fats, made up of long chain triglycerides (LCTs), coconut oil is in fact made up of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). And these MCTs are metabolized far more speedily in the body than LCTs, giving them a superpower when it comes to burning excess fat. The perfect antidote after festive feasting…or any feasting, in fact!
I love nothing more than to start my day off with a bowl of coconut porridge. Deliciously exotic and a ‘super food’, by adding a tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil to your porridge as you heat it on the stove, you are really giving your body the best nutrients to get it going – and firing up your metabolism (as mentioned above). But coconut oil is so much more versatile than that. It can be used in numerous recipes as a substitute for other oils. Think cakes, think roast potatoes, think salad dressings, think Mojitos. I kid you not! There are any number of recipes which can successfully incorporate coconut oil to give them a healthy and yummy kick. Lucy Bee’s Extra Virgin Organic Raw Coconut Oil is one of the best on the market and this link will take you directly to their fabulous recipes which include the little teasers above…
3: Oil pulling
Sounds really weird, like some kind of industrial rendezvous! But hang in there. There is method to the apparent madness. All oil pulling (also known as ‘kavala’ or ‘gundusha’) involves is the simple process of swishing oil around the mouth – in this case, coconut oil. This Ayurvedic dental technique is believed to improve oral health and general well being, and has been used for thousands of years in parts of India (using sesame or sunflower oil).
How does it work?
You put a tablespoon of oil in your mouth in the morning on an empty stomach, then swish it around for 15-20 minutes. And that’s it. It can make your jaw ache initially, but if you really struggle, simply build up the amount of time you can do it for by aiming for 5-10 minutes at first. Then spit (definitely don’t swallow, as the oil will have ‘pulled’ toxins from your entire body, emanating from the gums!) and clean your teeth as normal.
What’s in it for me?
Well, one of the main and most obvious benefits of this seemingly extraordinary process is a reduction of harmful bacteria residing in the mouth – eww! – making for healthier teeth and gums. The Lauric Acid (a fatty acid found in coconut oil) kills viruses, fungi and bacteria. And, as mentioned above, the oil works by literally pulling and removing toxins from all over your body. So health-wise, its effects are far reaching. Some more sensationalist than others, but when you consider that inflammation of the gums can lead to all sorts of health problems all over the body (in particular gum disease has been linked to heart disease in numerous studies), then it would make complete and utter sense that improved oral health means improved bodily health.
I’m a firm believer (since using it for many months on my own skin) that coconut oil is THE ultimate moisturiser. Forget ‘investing’ in the expensive designer makes from Paris with all their promises of youthful complexions and wrinkle-free skin. Coconut oil has long been putting paid to that. Look no further than the timeless faces of the Filipinos, and other Pacific nations, whose diet and skin care consists largely of coconut oil! And the best thing is a little goes a very long way. You can literally feel the hydration as it takes place on your face, or hands (it really is excellent as an overnight hand cream… I wouldn’t suggest it for day use because of the potential grease stains on your clothes though!), dry elbows and knees, not to mention the feet. This precious oil really is the greatest all-over body moisturiser, differing so much from most of the usual suspect ‘promises’ you’ll find on the high street, since it penetrates deep layers of the skin and actually helps to strengthen the underlying tissue.
5: Treating wounds
At first glance, the use of coconut oil for wounds sounds dubious. Until you try it that is. NB. Don’t attempt this as a medical substitute in an acute situation!
Coconut oil has the amazing ability to heal wounds in many guises – cuts, lacerations, gashes and lesions… and super fast. Again, this is down to those awesome Medium Chain Fatty Acids and their magic. By increasing the metabolic rate of the body’s cells, they quite simply speed up the repair to damaged tissues. Try it on your next paper cut!
6: Body scrubbing
With just a handful of natural ingredients, coconut oil can be used as part of an invigorating and pampering homemade body scrub. The recipe for this amazingly zingy version, Citrus Blast Sugar Scrub, is taken from the fabulous www.coconutoil.com website, which is well worth a read.
Citrus Blast Sugar Scrub
1 cup organic cane sugar
¼ cup coconut oil, melted (expeller-pressed or virgin)
¼ cup jojoba oil
10 drops each of lemon, lime, and tangerine (or orange) essential oils
Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.
Could it be more simple?
Exfoliating with a coconut oil based scrub is a great way to improve circulation, remove dead skin cells and encourage radiant skin.
7: Hair conditioning
Using coconut oil as a conditioner is one of the best health and beauty regimes you’ll ever embark on. And the best way to do so by far in my book is to use the oil as a hair mask at night after washing your hair with shampoo (if you use a natural plant base shampoo, all the better!). You’ll need around 5 tablespoons of coconut oil. Gently heat this on a low heat in a saucepan until it is just warm and has turned to liquid. Once cooled, put it on your hair as if it were a hair mask. You could leave this overnight and wear a shower cap to bed… but I much prefer to leave it in with my hair clipped up or piled in a messy bun during an At Home Day! Rinse thoroughly after 8 hours or so and be prepared to look like you’ve just walked out of a salon.
8: Fungal treatment
Thanks to coconut oil being composed of three fatty acids – Caprylic, Capric and Lauric – proven to ward off candida, it can be used effectively as a natural treatment for your Athlete’s Foot (and many of your other fungal bodily disorders)! Coconut oil is safe to use directly on the skin for everything from vaginal yeast infections to an alternative and chemical-free nappy cream. Having said that, I would always recommend a skin patch test – on somewhere like the arm – before slapping it on, just in case you are in the teeny weeny minority who have a skin reaction. However, this is highly unlikely since coconut oil is so gentle.
So what are you waiting for? Stock up today and enjoy the perks!