For years this oil has been used in Tropical Climates over the world for weight loss, hair care, skin care, culinary use, improving digestion and boosting the immune system. The oil is now regularly used in the U.K and USA since gaining popularity and becoming a 'celeb trend'. It is constantly plugged on social media accounts and you can easily find it in your local supermarket. If you're new to the whole coconut craze then I'm going to explain to you in a few simple steps the way you can incorporate it into your diet and beauty routine!
What is coconut oil?
Coconut Oil or Copra Oil is quite simply the edible oil extracted from the fleshy meat (white part) of a matured coconut. The oil itself has a high content of saturated fat and because of this it is slow to oxide which prevents it going off for at least 6 months once opened.
1. Hair Care
If you're wondering how women of the tropic regions keep their hair so shiny and luxurious then coconut oil is your answer, they use it almost everyday. Coconut oil is highly effective in reducing protein loss, which if unchecked can lead to various unhealthy qualities in your hair. To use on your hair you can apply it topically mainly to the ends, simply warm the coconut oil in the palms of your hands and run it through the ends of your hair, this is best done at night as you will need to rinse with shampoo and conditioner after using the coconut oil. It can also be used as an all over hair mask to help reduce dandruff and soothe, paying special attention to your scalp by massing the oil into it, again making sure you rinse your hair with shampoo after or the next morning.
2. Skin Care
Coconut Oil is possibly one of the most effective types of moisturisers for dry skin as unlike mineral oil (which is found in most skincare products) there is no chance of it having an adverse reaction with your skin. It has been safely used over thousands of years to prevent dryness and flaking. It's also fantastic for eczema and psoriasis suffers and has been known to delay the appearance of wrinkles and sagging skin. The oil can be used in a variety of ways in your skincare routine. I personally use coconut oil as a makeup remover by warming the oil into my palms until it has liquified, I then smooth the oil over my skin (including over my eyes) and use a warm damp cloth to remove the it. Once my skin is clear of makeup I repeat the step but this time massaging the oil into my skin especially around my nose in a downward motion across my cheeks to help with lymphatic drainage. Since using coconut oil my skin has never been so plump and hydrated.
3. Weight Loss
Most 'oils' are associated with weight gain, heart disease and blockage of arteries and we are constantly warned by health experts to avoid consuming too much saturated fats however, coconut oil contains short and medium-chain fatty acids that help remove excess weight. It is much easier to digest than many other oils used in cooking and it helps in the healthy functioning of the thyroid and endocrine system. As well as this is helps to increase the body's metabolic rate by removing stress from the pancreas. Coconut oil is perfect to add into just about any meal, it is a tasty alternative to regular cooking oils. When adding into food, it's best used as a frying oil by removing a teaspoon of coconut oil from the jar and adding it to a hot frying pan. My favourite is using coconut oil to make sweet potato fries. Pop your pre-cut sweet potatoes into the microwave for 10 minutes and then chuck into a hot pan and turn until they are crispy!
4. Dental Care
Calcium is a really important component of our teeth and since coconut oil facilitates the absorption of calcium by the body it helps develop strong teeth. It also helps to stop tooth decay and research has been shown that it is also beneficial in reducing plaque formation and therefore increases the whiteness of the teeth. Many brands have used coconut oil in there 'oil pulling mouthwash' products, and although they do work be careful of the hefty price tag thats attached compared to a reasonable jar of raw virgin coconut oil. To use simply take half a teaspoon of coconut oil, place into your mouth and swish it around like you would with mouthwash after brushing, it can take a little while to get used to the texture and taste but it's worth it!
5. Healing Properties and Organ Care
If the first 4 points are not enough to make you drop everything you're doing and run down to your supermarket for a jar then this will. Coconut oil when applied to infected areas forms a chemical layer that protects the infected part of the body from external dust, air, fungi, bacteria and viruses as well as being highly effective on bruises because it speeds up the healing process of damaged tissue. Coconut oil also helps prevent liver, kidney and gall bladder diseases because of the high fatty acid content. The fatty acids are easily converted into energy when they reach the liver, therefore reducing its workload and preventing the accumulation of fat.
How to store coconut oil and where to buy it:
Coconut Oil itself has a much higher boiling point than most other oils, therefore, it is solid at room temperature and melts only when the temperature rises considerably. It is most often in solid form and should not be kept in the fridge. For culinary uses keep the coconut oil inside the jar, in a cool cupboard and use a teaspoon to remove the desired amount from the jar. When using coconut oil for beauty purposes it will mostly need to be dissolved until liquified, this can be done by popping the coconut oil into a small bowl and heating in the microwave.
Raw Virgin Coconut Oil can be bought from pretty much every supermarket, most usually in the 'World Food' section or amongst the cooking oil aisle. I buy my coconut oil mainly from Aldi as I find it's cheaper for exactly the same product and it's organic. Health Stores such as Holland and Barrett also sell it but for a much higher price!
I hope that this gave you an insight into how beneficial coconut oil can be in your life and I'd love to know if you give it a try..