I love coconut. I love coconut water. I love coconut milk. I love coconut meat. Perhaps most of all, I love coconut oil. During the many trips I’ve made to the Caribbean (one of my favourite parts of the world), one of the things I loved most is getting fresh coconut right off the beautiful palms!
Coconut oil – along with basically every other fat – got a bad rap back in the 70s and 80’s when we were told that fat was the worse thing for us. Now, research is showing that the low-fat diet craze was based on a load of hooey. Is it a coincidence that since tropical oils have become commonly regarded as dietary nightmares and heart attack-inducers, obesity rates and cardiovascular disease continue to rise?
Cold pressed, extra virgin coconut oil is a miracle food. It is incredibly nourishing, healing, protective and delicious.
Ways to Use Coconut Oil
- In hot water as a tea
- For cooking at high temperatures
- Add it to smoothies and elixirs
- As a moisturizer
- On your hair to moisturize and reduce flyaways
- To balance blood sugar
- In baked goods
- In homemade beauty care products
- As a natural lubricant
Coconut oil is amazing. It’s beneficial properties are related to its fatty acid composition and structure. This oil is made up of medium-chain fats, which are absorbed immediately by the body and used for a variety of functions, instead of being tucked away as fat. It also contains specific fatty acids called lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, which have anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties.
Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
There are many, including:
Since coconut oil is easy to digest, it’s a good option for those who are interested in healing the gut or addressing digestive issues. Its anti-microbial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, parasites, etc., that can impact the digestive tract. Coconut oil also helps in absorption of other nutrients such as antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
Coconut oil is very useful in reducing weight because of those medium-chain fatty acids. Research shows that coconut can not only help us lose weight, but burn fat more effectively, change body composition and reduce the size of our waists in particular.
New research suggests that it may have anti-stress and antioxidant properties. You can also use it as a massage oil, which will definitely help with stress reduction too!
Immunity + Infections
Coconut oil contains lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which can help fight staph infections and skin infections. Coconut oil’s anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties can fight harmful bacteria such as listeria and h.pylori (a common cause of stomach ulcers and other digestive issues). It’s also effective on fungi and yeast that cause candidiasis (candida), ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, diaper rash, etc.
It helps your hair grow healthy and strong and can even keep your scalp lice-free. It is an excellent conditioner and helps reduce protein loss in undamaged and damaged hair.
I always say that you should have three jars of coconut oil: one for the kitchen, one for the bathroom and one for the bedroom. It acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skins. It is a safe solution for preventing dryness and skin flaking and boost skin’s hydration. It also protects us from UV radiation and addresses various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections.
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When applied on infections, it forms a chemical layer which protects the infected body part from external dust, air, fungi, bacteria and virus. Coconut oil is most effective on bruises as it speeds up the healing process by repairing damaged tissues. It can help to heal burns and wounds.
Coconut oil contains about 50% lauric acid, which helps in preventing various heart problems including high cholesterol levels. The saturated fats present in coconut oil are not harmful to our hearts; in fact, they help improve lipid profiles and reduce risk of cardiovascular disease.
Diabetes + Blood Sugar Balance
Fats are incredibly power foods for balancing blood sugar, since they help us feel satiated and slow down the absorption of sugar. Coconut oil helps control blood sugar and improves the secretion of insulin. It also helps in effective utilization of blood glucose, thereby preventing and treating diabetes.
Brain + Nervous System Health
Nutritious saturated fats such as coconut and ghee nourish the brain and nervous system. Research shows that medium-chain fats can improve memory and cognition in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, while high-fat diets (such as ketogenic diets) can protect the brain and treat neurological conditions.
Liver + Kidneys
Animal studies show that coconut oil can improve liver function and protect against liver damage.
Coconut oil improves the ability of our body to absorb important minerals. These include fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin D, as well as calcium and magnesium, which are necessary for development of bones. Animal studies show that coconut oil may help prevent bone loss, too.
How to Choose Coconut Oil
I opt for organic, unrefined coconut oil in glass jars because it’s minimally processed and isn’t cut with chemicals. However, it’s always important to read labels to make sure that you know what you’re getting.
Seriously, add this oil into your diet. Replace vegetable oil, butter or margarine with coconut oil. Replace your fancy moisturizers with coconut oil. Replace your morning cup of tea with hot water and coconut oil. Get on it. Go!
7 Amazing Coconut Oil Recipes
Here are some of my favourite recipes to help you join the coconut oil fun.
Gluten-Free + Dairy-Free Lemon Poppyseed Muffins
A moist and delicious gluten-free, dairy-free lemon poppyseed muffin with lemon cream frosting. And, because it uses chickpea flour, it’s higher in protein and fibre.
Wild Blueberry Crumble Recipe
In this recipe, coconut oil replaces butter to create a crunchy and crumbly topping. Use whatever fruit is in season to make this a year-round treat.
Caramel Fudge Chocolate Bar
Coconut oil and chocolate are the perfect combo. This multi-layered, healthy caramel fudge bar is a delicious treat that you should probably make once you’ve finished reading this post.
Easy Thai Red Curry (with vegan and Paleo options)
A one-pot, full meal deal that features coconut flavours and red curry paste, which is extremely anti-inflammatory.
Brain-Fueling Hazelnut Coconut Fudge
The thick texture of the oil combined with nuts make this low-sugar treat incredibly fudgy and very delicious.
Fat-Fueled Morning Elixir Recipe
A fat-rich morning elixir to keep blood sugar stable, your immune system humming and your skin glowing. You can grab more elixir ideas here.
Grain-Free Coconut Cookies (Toddler Super Cookies)
Easy to make, no bake cookies that are winners with toddlers and children.
Header image: iStock/jurgakarosaite
9 responses to “9 Awesome Uses For Coconut Oil and Recipes”
I know you are all about the UN-diet, and I agree :-), but I have a question regarding Ketogenic. I’m a cook and a nutrionist, and am getting questions. I have done some research and it seems to be safe, but I’m still leery.
You mentioned the benefits of a Ketogenic diet for the nervous system and Alzheimer’s, but what is your take on it as a means of weight loss? And do you think taking ketones in supplement form (Keto Max or Keto/Os) is safe and recommended?
[…] more here and find some awesome […]
THANK YOUUUUUU so MUCH for all the fantastic recipes, all the infos you give, the videos, great ideas and sharing your knowledge and food wisdom!! also, and not the least, your glorious contagious happiness about food and life! and OH! congratulations for your little boy!! love and peace and happiness in the kitchen! josiane xx
This is a very useful tip, I grew up in a tropical country and we find coconut oils very useful in so many ways. It is truly a tree of life and a miracle worker which can be applied to your skin, hair, weight loss and even some diseases.
i am using coconut oil every day in my body and weekly use my hair.
I am 69 years old now and I’ve been using home-made/extracted coconut oil both for my skin and hair since I was 5. My whole family had always been using coconut oil for this purpose. We didn’t use it for cooking much though, except for desserts. Coconut oil helps keep your skin tanned and smells good too.
Coconut oil sure is a great way to take care of your heart and skin. I’ve been using coconut oil for about a month now (Yeah sort of late huh haha) and it’s done justice to my skin. I read a book that delve deeper ( gave great points including the ones mentioned here) into the benefits, uses and how to apply and the right amount of coconut oil to use. I must say it was quite insightful. To those who don’t know much and would like to know more ( other than what Meghan has written) you can checkout the book here https://tinyurl.com/y7pt3dzo. Really amazing guys. Thumbs up to you Meghan for posting such a wonderful article. It’s much appreciated.
I’ve just read this: “A Harvard professor just busted the myth that coconut oil is good for you, calling it ‘pure poison’. ” The article goes on saying that “Michels went a step further than to recommend avoiding the foodstuff, saying “coconut oil is pure poison” and “is one of the worst foods you can eat.”
There’s no study showing significant health benefits to coconut-oil consumption. And, according to Michels, coconut oil is more dangerous than lard because it almost exclusively contains saturated fatty acids, ones that can clog the coronary arteries. You can identify fats that contain large quantities of saturated fatty acids by checking to see whether they remain solid at room temperature, as is the case with butter or lard. What is your stand on this?
I have many kinds of stuff that are or were good for our health and then suddenly are now bad. Don’t you think this is quite confusing and do not know which to pay attention?
These sensationalist articles pop up every so often, but when you dig a little further and look into who is funding the study, you can get a bit more insight on whether or not these claims are really valid. In the case of this new study, The American Heart Association seems to be involved.