10 Ways to Improve Your Health with Coconut Oil

By:  Talia Marcheggiani

10 Ways to Improve Your Health with Coconut Oil

The only beauty product you really need is a jar of coconut oil–combined with a few ingredients from your kitchen. This delicious tasting oil is great for cooking because of its high melting point. This means that it can be cooked, baked and stir-fried at higher temperatures without oxidizing. It’s also unique for its possession of a healthy saturated fat called lauric acid and its medium chain fatty acids, known for their tendency to be directly used as fuel by the body (rather than being stored as fat). Coconut oil also boasts many antibacterial properties and has a low molecular weight that allows it to absorb silkily into skin and hair.

Here are ten healthy uses for this oil for the inside and outside of your body:

1. Remedy Your Split Ends

Apply coconut oil to split ends. The low molecular weight of coconut oil makes it an amazing leave-in conditioner. It also smells amazing.

2. Make Your Own Edible Deodorant

Mix equal parts coconut oil, baking soda and arrowroot powder or corn starch until uniform. Apply to underarms once a day, or as needed, for an edible, chemical free do-it-yourself deodorant.

3. Make Your Own Toothpaste

Mix coconut oil with baking soda and peppermint oil to create your own edible and chemical free toothpaste. Next time you travel, baking soda and coconut oil are really all you need. They double as toothpaste, deodorant, moisturizer, face scrub and even shampoo.

4. Banish Fungul Infections

Eat two to four tablespoons of coconut oil per day to banish fungal infections. A study done by the University of Iceland (Bergsson et al, 2001) discovered that coconut oil destroys the cell walls of pathogenic yeast, like candida. This ultimately leads to their destruction. The medium chain fatty acids present in coconut oil exhibit some amazing antibacterial properties.

5. Decrease Your Belly Fat

Coconut oil can help decrease your belly fat. A peer-reviewed randomized control trial from Brazil (Assuncao et al, 2009) found that subject who consumed approximately one ounce of coconut over a twelve week period lost more body fat than subjects who consumed soybean oil instead.

6. Balance Your Cholesterol

Coconut oil lowers LDL (bad) and raises HDL (good) cholesterol. The same Brazilian study from above found that the subjects who consumed coconut oil had higher HDL cholesterol (the good kind) and lower LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) after the twelve week period was over. …

7. Make Your Own Moisturizer and Massage Oil

Coconut oil makes an amazing  moisturizer and massage oil. Its low molecular weight, and the fact that coconut oil is solid at room temperature, gives it a creamy consistency which is great for providing lasting, anti-aging moisture to dry skin. It’s antibacterial activity helps combat Staphylococcus aureus infections (also known as staff infections), which makes it a great emollient for eczema sufferers who are often prone to secondary skin infections. For these reasons coconut oil is a key ingredient in a variety of homemade body care products.

8. Heal Your Acne

Coconut oil is good for acne. A study by Yang et al (2009) showed that lauric acid, a fatty acid present in coconut oil, exhibited antibacterial properties against propionibacterium acnes (also known as p. acne), the microbe responsible for pesky acne. Add some matcha green tea to coconut oil to banish zits and healthily add moisture to your skin.

9. Substitute it in Place of Butter or Margarine

Because of its solidity at room temperature, coconut oil is an amazing for butter or margarine for healthy baking. You can also use it to “butter” your toast. I also love adding coconut oil to popcorn with a little sea salt for the best darn popcorn you’ll ever taste!

10. Add it to Your Coffee

There’s always a new health craze around every corner. This one, touted by the paleo diet crowd, is about adding coconut oil and grass-fed butter to high quality coffee–instead of the usual double cream, double sugar. The concoction is referred to as “bulletproof coffee,” and those who drink it claim that it helps to kick-start their day with superior brain and metabolism function. I’ve personally never tried it (I’m happy with my almond milk, or even coconut milk, coffees thank you very much), but many people report that having coconut oil for breakfast can help decrease mid-morning cravings, increase energy and reduce the amount of food eaten later in the day–aiding in weight loss. So, kudos to those adventurous, extreme health (coco)nuts out there!

*This article is not meant to serve as medical advice. For an individualized assessment, please visit a naturopathic doctor.