You have heard coconut oil is good for you, but aren't sure how to use it? Here are 36 Healthy Ways to Use Coconut Oil!
For years we were lead to believe that coconut oil was the bad guy. The myth was that consuming it was the quickest path to heart disease and obesity. These days, we know better. Coconut oil is now used across the globe as a remedy for numerous conditions. Among them are thyroid disease (which I have), digestive concerns and even cognitive decline. Research has also shown that the medium-chain fatty acids found in coconut oil can help combat viruses and bacteria. The uses don’t stop there!
I can’t think of another pantry staple that has so many applications for beauty and personal care.
Since most of us didn’t grow up cooking with coconut oil, I thought I would share some of my favorite coconut oil recipes from around the web. Some of these fall under the “treat” category and may not be ideal when you are trying to lose weight, but for everyone else they are a great way to get healthy fats into your diet!
36 Healthy Ways to Use Coconut Oil
Medicinal Uses of Coconut Oil
(Please note that these are ways that coconut oil has historically been used to support health. Statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.)
1. Analgesic - Helps to manage pain.
2. Antibacterial - Supports the body to fight bacteria causing disease.
3. Anticarcinogenic - Possesses antimicrobial properties that help support the body in fighting cancer.
4. Anti-inflammatory - Can fight inflammation and help block intestinal flora that causes inflammation.
5. Antimicrobial - The Medium Chain Fatty Acids can deactivate harmful microbes without harming beneficial bacteria.
6. Antioxidant - Helps the body fight free radicals
7. Antiparasitic - Protects against parasites
Specific Ways Coconut Oil Supports Health
8. Cardiovascular Support - Coconut oil is 50% lauric acid, which is believed to help prevent heart issues such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. It may work to reduce the presence of artery blockage.
9. Digestive Support - The antimicrobial properties of coconut oil can work to control the fungi, bacteria, and parasites that can cause issues such as IBS, bloating and sluggish digestion. I have seen an improvement in my digestion since I added coconut oil to my diet.
10. Eczema and Psoriasis Support - The anti-inflammatory properties of Coconut Oil can help soothe flare-ups.
11. Immune Support - Applying coconut oil to your skin creates a layer that protects the skin from bacteria, yeast, viruses and fungi. Taken internally it has been shown to kill viruses and protect against bacteria that can lead to pneumonia, ulceUTIs, throat infections and sinusitis.
12. Improved Cognitive Function - In 2009 the FDA approved a coconut oil-based dietary supplement for use in the treatment of Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s hinders the brain’s ability to access energy from carbohydrates and the ketones derived from coconut oil can serve as an alternative energy source and help reduce symptoms of the disease. Ketogenic diets have been used for years as a treatment for epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, ALS, brain trauma and brain cancer. They are widely gaining attention for weight loss as well. (I tested this in January 2017 and lost 17 pounds in a month. It surprised me, but after the first week I felt better than I had in years.)
13. Improved Nutrient Absorption - A 2012 study in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry showed that when you combine vegetables with coconut oil, your body can absorb 20 times more nutrients. Specifically, coconut oil can help with the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients and minerals like vitamins A, B, D, E, and K, as well as CoQ10, beta-carotene, amino acids, calcium, and magnesium.
14. Improved Oral Health - Oil pulling has been used for centuries to improve oral health and detoxify the body. My favorite oil to use for oil pulling is coconut oil. Not only does it inhibit the growth of plaque-causing bacteria, but it also tastes better than other oils! A 2008 study published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontics and Preventive Dentistry recommends oil pulling as a useful technique to improve oral health. You can ready my post on Oil Pulling HERE.
15. Metabolic Support - The MCFAs in coconut oil are shorter and more water-soluble than those in other oils. Because of this, they are converted to fuel in the body instantly, improving metabolic function. It is believed that MCFAs may assist the body in melting fat while supporting the endocrine system.
16. Reduce Appetite - Studies in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition have shown that those who eat Medium Chain Fatty Acids can consume fewer calories while experiencing no drop in mood or energy levels. (I experience this when I drink "Bulletproof" coffee.)
17. Regulates Blood Sugar - Coconut Oil can work to slow down digestion. This allows blood glucose levels to remain constant because carbohydrates are broken down more slowly. The increase in metabolism created by coconut oil improves insulin sensitivity and helps to prevent food from being deposited as fat.
18. Sore Throat Soother - Surprisingly, a spoon full of coconut oil works just as well to soothe a sore throat as a spoon full of honey!
Treat Parasitic and Fungal Infections - Coconut oil has been used to help treat infections such as diaper rash, thrush, athlete's food, candida, and ringworm.
19. Stress Relief - A 2015 study that was published in the Journal of Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine found that coconut oil was as effective as medication at relieving stress.
20. Thyroid Stimulator - It is believed that the saturated fats in coconut oil can help to regulate the function of your thyroid. Coconut oil also supports the liver and metabolism which benefits the thyroid.
21. Wrinkle Fighter - Cooking in coconut oil is a great way to keep your youthful glow because it is very high in the types of fat that fight inflammation. According to dermatologist Whitney Bowe, M.D. “Keeping inflammation low prevents the breakdown of collagen, which maintains skin’s thickness and stops wrinkle formation.” (Just make sure you are conscious of the smoke point.)
Coconut oil can also help you fight wrinkles when used topically. It is rich in antioxidants that can protect the skin from free radicals and vitamin A which strengthen the connective tissues in the skin.
Healthy Ways to Use Coconut Oil in the Kitchen
22. Baking - Even if you aren’t vegan, coconut oil is a great substitute for butter in baking. It can be substituted in a 1:1 ratio by weight with butter.
23. "Bulletproof" Coffee - Chances are you have heard of Bulletproof Coffee. I must confess, I was prepared to hate it when I first tried it but when blended in a blender it is my absolute favorite way to have coffee! The traditional Bulletproof Coffee uses MCT oil, but I have mine with coconut oil instead.
24. On Toast - For a change, skip the butter and try coconut oil! It is great with a little jam on top.
25. Smoothies - Contrary to what we once thought, adding healthy fat to your diet can be good for you. Try adding a tablespoon or two to your smoothie, and you will be surprised how full you are.
Personal Care & Beauty with Coconut Oil
26. Acne Treatment - Coconut oil can be effective for killing the bacteria that is associated with acne. (Note: Some people respond beautifully to Coconut Oil as an acne treatment, and some don't. You will need to test and see how your skin responds.)
27. Body Scrub - Once or twice a week I like to exfoliate in the shower. I make a simple body scrub with 1/2 cup coconut oil, 3/4 cup organic brown sugar and 12 drops lavender or orange essential oil.
28. Dandruff Control - Harsh chemicals in the products we use can cause irritation and dryness in the scalp leading to dandruff. The low molecular weight of coconut oil allows it to penetrate the scalp and deep into the hair shaft.
29. Deodorant - Take one ounce of coconut oil and mix it with a tablespoon each of arrowroot powder and green clay. Add 5 drops of Sandalwood essential oil and 15 drops of Patchouli. Transfer to a glass dish and dab on with a cotton ball.
30. Hair Conditioner - I have fast growing hair, and without a bottle, it would be completely gray. The abuse from constantly being colored means I’m prone to dryness and split ends. Coconut oil to the rescue - it is rich in lauric acid, which is a fatty acid that penetrates the hair shaft to strengthen strands and replenish essential proteins. Since protein loss is one of the main reasons for dull frizzy strands, at least once a week I put coconut oil and a few drops of geranium essential oil in my hair between 30 and 60 minutes before I shower. I then rinse with apple cider vinegar and shampoo and condition normally. My hair thanks me.
31. Lip Balm - Not only is coconut oil moisturizing, but it also can help to protect your lips from the sun. Plus, the smell makes you feel like you are at the beach.
32. Massage - I love the luscious consistency for use in massage. Add in a few of your favorite essential oils and warm gently in your hand!
33. Moisturizer - The fats in coconut oil are very effective at helping to reduce irritation and trap in moisture. I adore using coconut oil as a body moisturizer, especially after shaving. It doesn’t burn, and my skin feels great.
34. Reduce Hair Loss - Massaging coconut oil into the scalp can help to promote a healthy scalp and reduce hair loss. It may also work to promote new hair growth.
35. Sunscreen - Coconut oil creates a protective layer which can block up to 20% of the sun's UVB and UVA rays.
36. Toothpaste - You can make an easy herbal toothpaste by melting four tablespoons of coconut oil and combining it with five tablespoons baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon kaolin clay. Add in 25 drops spearmint essential oil and 1/4 teaspoon stevia. Many people report that coconut oil can help to whiten your teeth.