In the past we’ve looked at coconut oil and why it’s so amazing, but this time we are looking a little closer at what we can actually use it for. As always, our expert nutritionist, Lucy-Ann is on hand to shed some light on some other ways it can improve your life!
Use coconut oil for cooking
MCTs are “saturated” fats, which mean they are far more resistant to heat and light, unlike the unsaturated oils such as flax oil, pumpkin seed oil, or hemp oil, and why “seed oils” should not be heated to high temperatures. Coconut oil, on the other hand has a relatively high smoking point (about 76 degrees), and doesn’t produce the “toxic fats” that other oils high in unsaturated fats produce when heated. Whilst it isn’t wise to heat any oils to extreme temperatures (i.e. deep-frying), coconut oil is absolutely one of the healthiest (and smartest) oil to use for low temperature frying and stir-frying. It also has a very mild taste, so doesn’t affect the flavour profile of your favourite dishes. Used cold, it’s even better. It spreads well too, and a little goes a very long way. This makes it cost effective too. It can be left out of the fridge, with no degradation. You’ll find it tends to be solid at room temperature, although fairly liquid in warmer surroundings, and certainly in the summer months. It can be added to smoothies, and melted for use in dressings and sauces.
Coconut oil is a fantastic body moisturiser or massage oil
When coconut oil is used after a bath or shower – and especially so after body brushing and exfoliating – it leaves the skin silky smooth, healthy and youthful. Because it’s a “light” oil, it absorbs very well, and of course has no nasty chemicals to be absorbed along with it! Remember that anything you put onto your skin will be “digested” by the skin and will enter directly into your blood stream! So, be careful what you put on your skin every day.
Use coconut oil as a face cream
Try melting coconut oil, and mixing it thoroughly with pure aloe gel. This produces a wonderful “whipped” and light face moisturiser.
Those involved in regular physical activity might like to try taking a spoon of coconut oil before a training session. The MCT’s found in coconut oil burn very much like carbohydrate (but without the glucose/insulin spike), which means they provide instant energy, boost metabolism and are perfect for endurance-based events and training sessions. Remember, coconut oil makes a great post-workout massage oil too!
Use coconut oil for immune support
Two specific medium chain fats found in coconut are lauric acid (or monolauric) and caprylic acid. Lauric acid has many documented anti-viral and anti-microbial properties. The only other known “food” with a high concentration of lauric acid is breast milk, which illustrates its use as a powerful immune-stimulator. Caprylic acid is a widely used as an anti-fungal, and general anti-microbial. Coconut oil is therefore perfect for those with any sort of infection, and for those with depressed immunity.
For Candida sufferers
Coconut oil is perfect for those with yeast infections, when used regularly in the diet.
For those without a gallbladder, or problems with fat digestion and absorption
Coconut oil is much better digested and faster absorbed than other fat, so it is a very wise choice for those who suffer with poor fat digestion.
Coconut oil is heart healthy
That’s right, it actually benefits heart health, and does not lead to high cholesterol, unlike trans fats (in processed foods), or too much animal fat. Other healthy plant-based fats include the fat found in olives and olive oil, avocado, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews, pecans, macadamia nuts, walnuts, and almonds.
As a snack
Fresh coconut flesh is a very healthy and filling snack, and unsweetened dessicated coconut can be used in homemade trail mixes or in homemade mueslis.
For teeth and gum health
Here is a technique I learnt whilst studying Ayruvedic Medicine (the ancient Indian healing system). Taking a spoon of coconut oil (on an empty stomach), keep it in the mouth, and begin “swishing” the oil around the mouth, “pulling” it through the gaps in the teeth, and generally giving the teeth a good clean!
The oil will soon liquefy and mix with saliva to form a milky liquid in the mouth. Keep the mouth closed, do not swallow the oil, but simply move it around the mouth for a total of 15-20 minutes. Once finished, the oil and saliva is spat out, and the mouth is rinsed well with water. Oil is thought to have the ability to “pull” toxins and debris from the gums, as well as the general blood stream. This technique is therefore used as a “stand alone” method of detoxification.
Performed on a daily basis, the technique called “Oil Pulling” helps to keep the teeth clean, and the gums in great health. You might find it stimulates the release of phlegm or mucus from the system, which is an indication of its detoxification powers!
So, it seems coconut oil is pretty fantastic! Just remember to look for certified organic virgin coconut oil and to actually smell the product if you can, before you buy. It should have a mild, ‘fresh’ coconut smell and have a pure white colour.