You know those things that once you discover, you can’t imagine your life without it anymore…coconut oil is that for me.
I keep two jars – one in my bathroom and one in my kitchen – and use both of them like crazy.
One of coconut oil’s most touted nutrients is lauric acid, a type of good fat found in breast milk. This medium chain fatty acid is sent directly to your liver where it is immediately converted into energy. It’s been shown to help boost your immune system, improve your skin, and aid your body in burning fat. Coconut oil also has antimicrobial and antiviral properties, which supports gut health and wound healing.
Since coconut oil is solid at room temperature, it’s usually found in a glass jar. The oil’s melting point is around 78°F. For beauty uses, warm it between your hands and slather it on. For cooking, just dip the glass jar in hot water so the oil melts a bit before adding it to recipes. Just be sure not to warm it up in the microwave – you’ll kill the majority of the good stuff!
Also, be sure that you buy the raw, virgin organic coconut oil in order to get the most benefits.
There are loads of things you can do with coconut oil, but here are 5 of my favorites that I use most often:
Coconut oil pairs beautifully with bitter greens like kale or swiss chard. Add a little salt and pepper and either sauté over a medium heat or roast in the oven. Brussels sprouts are also delicious with coconut oil – check out an easy, quick recipe here.
If you’re into natural beauty products, you can’t get more natural than this. It’s naturally high in the anti-oxidant vitamin-E and not to mention, the oil has just a faint hint of a tropical beach-y smell and gives your skin a nice little glow. I slather it on right after my shower.
Mouth Wash (oil pulling)
Oil pulling, an ancient Ayurvedic technique, sounded a bit “out there” for me at first – but I’m telling you, do this and you’ll have whiter teeth, fresher breath and that awesome “clean mouth” feeling that you usually only get after teeth cleanings at the dentist. When you wake up in the morning, put about 1 tablespoon in your mouth and swish around for 5 to 20 minutes. Swish it between your teeth and up and down, but don’t gargle or swallow – you don’t want any of the toxins to go down your throat! Spit the oil out in the trash or toilet – a sink may clog – and then rinse with warm water and brush as usual.
Bake with it
You can replace any butter or vegetable oil for equal amounts coconut oil for a healthier version of your dish. It will have a faint coconut flavor, so use it in dishes that will pair well with it.
Blend in a Smoothie
Put a tablespoon into your green smoothies for a yummy creamy texture. The good fat will help you absorb more of the nutrients from the other ingredients and your gut will benefit from the antimicrobial properties.
Quick note: Coconut oil does contain high amounts of saturated fat; however, it’s in the form of medium chain fatty acids, which are immediately converted into energy, and are much different that the long chain fatty acids found in animal products. However, still be mindful of how much you consume – just because it’s good for you, we can still use moderation!
Do you use coconut oil? Share some of your favorites below!