You've undoubtedly noticed the coconut oil craze. The uses and benefits of coconut oil have been popping up across numerous industries, beyond just dietary and health benefits.
Whether you need more convincing before adding it into your routine or you're already on the coconut oil train (but admittedly don't know much about it), take a look at these benefits and uses!
It's a Germ Killer.
Coconut oil is an antibacterial, antimicrobial and antifungal superfood. Lauric acid, nearly half of the fatty acids that make up coconut oil, are exceptional bacteria, fungi, and virus killers. Use coconut oil externally on your body (skin) for infections as well as internally to kill harmful pathogens. As an added bonus, coconut oil has some great anti-inflammatory benefits.
Test it out: Oil Pulling
Kill the bacteria in your mouth, clean your teeth, and freshen your breath by swooshing 1 Tablespoon of oil in your mouth for 15-20 minutes on an empty stomach.
It will feel thick at first but eventually gets easier to swoosh around your mouth and through your teeth. To finish, spit it out and rinse your mouth with water.
It Boosts Your Heart Health.
Coconut oil is full of saturated fats, which is typically something that we try to limit for heart health. However, the fat in coconut oil is not the same as the type found in animal products - like butter, cream, cheese, and meat.
Coconut oil has been linked to increasing high-density lipoproteins (HDL - aka your good cholesterol), which can reduce the risk of heart disease.
Can it cure your cardiovascular disease?
Clinical trials say probably not. But is extra virgin coconut oil a better alternative to your highly processed soybean or vegetable oil? We think so. And so does nutritional coach Dr. Lam. “Consuming coconut oil can benefit your gut by helping your body to absorb fat-soluble nutrients like calcium, magnesium and vitamins. If you consume omega-3 fatty acids simultaneously with coconut oil, the omega-3s will be double effective.”
Keep in mind that it's always a good idea to chat with your healthcare provider before making a major shift in your diet or lifestyle, especially if you are monitoring your cholesterol levels.
Test it out: Cooking
Next time you're in the kitchen whipping up scrambled eggs or a stir fry, swap out your butter or olive oil for coconut oil. You don't need to remove the other oil sources altogether in your diet, but occasionally adding coconut oil to your cooking is a simple way to support your good cholesterol and your heart!
It Deeply Hydrates Hair, Skin and Nails.
Suffer from dry, cracked skin or eczema? Is the winter weather stripping your hair of moisture? Struggling with dandruff? Coconut oil may be your saving grace!
Coconut oil can be applied directly to your cuticles and skin to increase moisture. You can even add it to your other favorite moisturizers or serums for a total hydration boost.
Test it out: Hair Mask
Apply room temperature coconut oil (easier to apply to hair when in liquid form) to hair. You may focus just on your dry ends or work from root to tip. Leave on hair for 30 minutes then wash out with shampoo and conditioner.
It Improves Brain Function.
The Keto diet surge may have introduced you to the health effects of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) and ketones. But there is more to these medium-chain fatty acids than just weight loss.
Your brain needs a certain fat content to function properly, and the MCTs in coconut oil (smaller oil structure than in most foods) are easily absorbed by your brain. The MCTs help with memory, focus, and even energy.
Test it out: Coffee
Add 1 teaspoon of extra virgin coconut oil to your coffee (and any other of your favorite add-ins). Add all ingredients to your blender and blend until combined. Pour into your mug and sip up that brain fuel, baby!
Related: The Beginner’s Guide to Keto
It Supports Balanced Hormones.
Hormone imbalance can cause a plethora of problems - skin breakouts, low energy, digestion woes, weight fluctuations, and beyond. The lauric acid may support estrogen levels, which can support balanced hormones, specifically for women.
But healthy men can take advantage of coconut oil's hormone-balancing properties and other male-specific health benefits.
Test it out: Smoothie
Add 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil to your favorite smoothie recipe. Or you can try this: 1 cup of kale, 1 cup of frozen pineapple, ½ banana, 1 Tbsp coconut oil, water. Blend and enjoy! Adding in coconut oil weekly is ideal for women's hormone balance, especially before and during menstruation.
It Can Support Weight and Appetite Control.
Coconut oil can curb your appetite because of the way your body absorbs the oil to make you feel full longer. It also aids in digestion. Both can be supportive in combating obesity or preventing weight gain.
Test it out: Dressing
Use this dressing on salads, roasted veggies, and more. ⅓ cup melted coconut oil, ⅓ cup olive oil, 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, honey (to taste), salt and pepper (to taste). Blend or shake up before using.
So, are you ready to start small and occasionally swap out your butter for coconut oil when cooking? Planning to do a total wellness overhaul just in time for the new year? The bottom line is that coconut oil is a must-have in your kitchen.
With knowledge of these benefits and uses, it's hard not to embrace the magic of coconut oil.
Top Uses for Coconut Oil:
- Kills Bacteria
- Boosts Heart Health
- Hydrates Hair, Skin and Nails
- Improves Brain Function
- Supports Hormone Balance
- Supports Weight and Appetite Control
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