6 Uses and Benefits of Coconut Oil
One of the most common natural remedies is coconut oil, which gained popularity in the 21st century. It is widely marketed as a superfood or cure-all, and many of the claims are evidence-based, but others are surrounded by controversy. Coconut oil is over 80% saturated fat but still, some experts argue its nutritional and beneficial values.
Clean Food Crush teaches the importance of everything in moderation for a reason! (And the importance of always consulting your doctor about any medical concerns.) This applies to coconut oil as well. While you may not want to consume multiple spoonfuls of coconut oil daily, you can still make use of its excellent uses and health benefits.
Here are 6 fantastic ways to incorporate coconut oil into your routine:
Skin and Hair Care
One of the most prevalent uses of coconut oil is as a moisturizer for your skin and hair. The simplest way is by applying the oil directly and rubbing it in like lotion. Or by using it as a lip moisturizer the same way you’d use vaseline or lip balm.
But you can also make your own DIY scrub by mixing it with a bit of sugar. If you have issues with dry or cracked lips, coconut oil may become your new best friend!
According to several studies, coconut oil can protect against hair damage and improve dry hair or dandruff. For best results, try rubbing it through your hair before washing or leaving it in overnight (just be sure to shampoo the next morning!)
After spending an excessive amount of time outside (be sure to wear sunscreen!), you may need a soothing solution. The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil can provide the necessary energy for your skin to heal.
Here’s how you can make your own DIY after-sun lotion:
- 3 Tbsp aloe vera gel
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 Tbsp cocoa butter
- Lavender essential oil to your preference (a dozen drops or so)
- Stir until well combined
For further cosmetic uses, try oil pulling, which is just swishing coconut oil in your mouth like mouthwash. Studies show coconut oil can kill harmful bacteria, improve dental health, and reduce bad breath. Ideally, you would do this three times a week for twenty minutes each, but any amount of oil pulling can be helpful!
Also, take care of your oral hygiene by making homemade toothpaste! Here is one recipe to try:
- ½ cup coconut oil
- 4 Tbsp baking soda
- 15 drops peppermint essential oil
- Stir until well combined
Yes, coconut oil is full of fats. But a lot of those are healthy and filled with nutrients that your pet needs. Some vets recommend adding a bit to your dog’s meals or mixing some into homemade treats. A good starting dose is ¼ a teaspoon for small dogs and 1 tsp for bigger dogs but when in doubt, consult your vet! If your dog is heavier, extra coconut oil may not be the best option because of the high-fat content, but you can still give it to them topically.
Just like it can moisturize our skin and hair, coconut oil is excellent for your pets’ coats as well! Rub a bit between your hands and then gently apply it into your pet’s fur, basically through petting them. Massage slightly, so the oil gets down to their skin to prevent flaking. If you try this, you may notice your dog licking themselves after. That’s okay! It won’t hurt them as long as they don’t ingest too much.
If you want to make homemade dog treats, here’s a recipe:
- 1 cup peanut butter (all-natural)
- 1 cup coconut oil (refined)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Melt coconut oil in a saucepan
- Mix in PB and cinnamon
- Pour mixture into silicone ice cube tray and freeze until solid
- Store in an airtight container (in the freezer)
Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (a big word for a type of fat with antiviral, antibiotic, and antifungal properties) that help fight the virus that causes cold sores. Simply dabbing a bit on the blister can aid the healing process.
There is also lauric acid in the fat of coconut oil, which is great for killing bacteria and viruses, thus making it a great defense against infections. Oil pulling can help destroy plaque on your teeth, but you can also ingest coconut oil to get some of these antibacterial and nutritional benefits.
Studies show that coconut oil can help curb appetite, and triglycerides can increase how many calories you burn, thus aiding in weight loss. To make use of these health benefits, try adding some to your morning routine. Stir a teaspoon of coconut oil into your coffee or add about 1 Tbsp into any smoothie.
Keep in mind that while these fatty acids can aid in weight loss, it is still a fat and is high in calories. So, consuming too much can easily lead to weight gain. As always, be sure to reach out to your doctor if you have any health concerns.
YES! Coconut oil can be beneficial around the house with your daily chores. Have any annoying gum or sticky residue to get rid of? That can be a huge pain, but coconut oil can make your life much easier. To get gum out of your hair, cover it in oil, let it sit for a few seconds, then work the gum with your fingers until you can slide it out.
Similarly, to get sticker residue or label residue off of most surfaces, cover it with coconut oil, let it sit for five minutes, then rub it off with a rag or paper towel.
For some extra protection against mosquitos and other insects, mix a few drops of peppermint, tea tree, or rosemary essential oil with coconut oil and apply it to your skin.
It’s far too easy to under-utilize daily products, especially ones like coconut oil with dozens of fantastic uses! When life gets crazy and you don’t have time to get lotion or medicine for that pesky cold sore, it’s great to know you can use something you already have.
I hope this was helpful for you! Are any of these uses new or surprising to you?
If you’re looking for good coconut oil to purchase and try out, here are MY top picks:
What is your favorite way to use coconut oil? I want to know! Let me know in the comments 🙂