Coconut oil has been all over the media the past few years. Some say that it’s just a new hype; but actually, the health benefits of coconut oil are common knowledge in many societies. It can be used extensively for skin and hair care, boosting the immune system, helping with weight loss, regulating metabolism and digestion, improving dental quality and bone strength; and the list goes on and on.
Coconut oil contains lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, which provide antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal and antibacterial qualities. In order to enjoy the most that coconut oil can offer it’s best to use the unprocessed, raw and organic version, which is solid at room temperature (like in the photo above) and melts quickly on your finger. You will find liquid forms of coconut oil in the shops as well, but those are more processed versions and therefore lesser quality. In order to make the most of its health benefits, always buy the solid version. On really hot days though, like in the summer, the otherwise solid coconut oil will go all liquidy – bear this in mind when you’re looking around the shop trying to choose your first jar. Or ask the shop assistant for help.
Skin and hair care
Coconut oil is perhaps best known for promoting healthy skin and hair. It is an increasingly common ingredient in lotions, shower gels, shampoos – although these products usually contain it in tiny quantities, which is nothing like using the real deal. Get a jar of good coconut oil, and here’s how you can use it:
- Rub it on your belly during pregnancy to prevent stretchmarks. As a massage oil it is suitable both externally and internally (even for perineal massage).
- You can also use it on the perineum after giving birth to help the area heal.
- Breastfeeding mums can use it on their nipple to prevent or heal cracks and bleeding, and due to its antifungal qualities coconut oil also helps to treat yeast infection or thrush (both on the nipple and inside baby’s mouth).
- It is a perfect natural skin lotion suitable for babies’ delicate skin (for mums too, of course).
- Regular use of coconut oil helps fight acne.
- Try it as a make-up remover: it removes even water-proof mascara and doesn’t sting. I never use makeup remover wipes any more, only coconut oil on a cotton pad. An added benefit is that it moisturises the delicate skin around the eye as well.
- Coconut oil is a great moisturiser for your hair as well. You can use it against split ends and to control frizz.
- Believe it or not, coconut oil also makes a great deodorant. It’s natural, nourishing, and smells lovely. Apply on clean and dry armpits, but mind what clothes you’re wearing, because the oil will stain certain fabrics.
I’ve always had extremely sensitive teeth and despite all my efforts in dental hygiene gum disease started very early, only to be made worse by pregnancy and breastfeeding. I tried all the recommended toothpastes and mouthwashes, but when I got to the stage that even eating an apple resulted in bleeding gums, I had enough. I had recently read about “oil pulling” and I bought a tub of raw coconut oil to try it. The name “oil pulling” refers to the process of pushing and pulling a teaspoonful of oil through your teeth, which you have to do for about twenty minutes in the morning on an empty stomach. It is rather disgusting at first, I won’t deny that, it took me about a week to get to twenty minutes; and I probably wouldn’t have continued had the bleeding not decreased noticeably. But it did, and after 2-3 weeks it went completely – I was absolutely convinced and converted.
It’s a good idea to do oil pulling while you shower, it makes time pass more quickly. During the process the amount of oil in your mouth will double once mixed with saliva, and it will gently remove all the bacteria that causes plaque, tartar, or bad breath. Once the 20 minutes is over (or if you just can’t take it any more) spit the mixture in the bin and brush your teeth. Don’t spit it in the toilet or sink because they will get clogged (coconut oil will be solid at room tempreture) and don’t swallow it because you’ll be swallowing loads of bacteria. As a rather lovely side effect my teeth have gotten beautifully white and polished, too; as I since learned some people use coconut oil specifically for its teeth-whitening quality.
Coconut oil gives your immune system a boost, its regular consumption makes you feel more energetic and mentally more aware. I have also found writings mentioning coconut oil as a natural remedy for a vast array of illnesses such as insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, eczema, heart disease, even cancer and Alzheimer’s, however I have not experimented with these therefore I cannot take a stand. I urge everyone to do their own research; as a starting point some information about coconut oil can be found <a href=”http://coconutoil.com/coconut-oil-research/”>here</a> and <a href=”https://www.organicfacts.net/organic-oils/organic-coconut-oil/health-benefits-of-coconut-oil.html”>here</a>. <strong>