Super hydrating and nourishing, coconut oil is also a frequently used topical ingredient, applied to hair and skin for moisture and sometimes used as a natural makeup remover. Sometimes branded a ‘superfood,’ the oil gets its rich nutrients from healthy fatty acids. The fatty acids in coconut oil help support everything from skin, hair, and oral health to brain health and combating aging.
Coconut oil derives from several key areas on the coconut palm, including the coconuts’ fruit, kernels, and milk. Virgin coconut oil, the standard in most kitchens, gets extracted from the coconut and the milk’s inner flesh. Then, the virgin coconut oil is dried and pressed to separate the oil from the residue. Other methods of extracting the oil involve grating the fresh coconut. Thus, allowing it to sit with water to ferment before separating the parts of the mixture.
The tropical coconut palm is native to Asia, Africa, South America, and some regions of North America. Studies show the first recorded mention of the coconut in the 5th century A.D., appearing in a market in India.
Aside from being a historical cooking oil, coconut oil was also widely used as a topical treatment. The topical prevents sunburn, moisturizes the hair and skin, and acts as a natural remedy for lice. In India, natives historically use coconut oil as an oral treatment – both as a preventive antibacterial and as a treatment solution for tooth decay and gum disease.
The coconut palm provides staple food and building materials for native Hawaiians, used for its leaves, fruit, milk, water, and oil. The traditional method of extracting coconut oil used on the islands of Hawaii involves drying the coconut husks, driving to release the oils. Coconut oil is a prized ingredient for Hawaiians. It is becoming a popular household item due to its great uses: cooking oil, moisturizer and sunblock, and medicinal supplement to support heart health and overall wellness.
Coconut oil gained widespread popularity several years ago with the beginnings of the natural health and beauty movement. These days it seems like everyone has something to say about the benefits of coconut oil.
Some effects, however, are more commonly reported than others. Here are just a few of the reported benefits of using coconut oil.
Lots of foods taste incredible but leave your breath smelling less than fresh. As a result, lots of people swear by coconut oil to combat stinky breath. Ultimately, keeping their pearly whites, well, pearly! This anti-stink effect is because the oil acts as a natural antibacterial, showing the potential to reduce oral bacteria with extended use significantly.
Virgin coconut oil contains polyphenols, naturally occurring antioxidants that may provide anti-inflammatory benefits. Based on research performed by a group of Indian researchers, coconut’s anti-inflammatory properties could be powerful enough to inhibit the progression of arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.
100% pure fat, coconut oil is a natural choice for its moisturizing properties and is a common ingredient in commercial moisturizers and skincare products. Used on its own, the oil from coconuts treats dry and cracked skin. Further, coconut oil repairs damaged hair while reducing acne’s appearance and frequency thanks to its gentle antibacterial properties.
Today, millions of people worldwide store coconut oil in their kitchens or have it in their daily self-care routines. Coconut oil is an excellent choice for cooking lots of tasty dishes and curating an at-home beauty remedy. That said, here are a few easy ways you can use this healthy oil:
Ideal for sautéing and baking, coconut oil is a popular vegan butter replacement. Specifically, coconut oil works well in both savory and sweet dishes. Coconut oil has a very light, inviting flavor, making it delicious in any application, yet won’t overwhelm a dish the way heavy olive oil or butter might. Here’s how coconut oil stacks up to similar products in the kitchen:
Oil from coconuts has a relatively low smoke point (around 350 degrees Fahrenheit), which means it might not be suitable for roasting or super-high-heat applications. Olive oil, another healthy fat, has a smoke point closer to 400 degrees and is more appropriate for roasting meat or vegetables. Between the two, choose coconut oil to bake a delicious cake or pop some popcorn, but choose olive oil to crisp potatoes in the oven.
While individuals can use coconut oil for shallow frying, coconut oil is best when not overheated. Avocado oil is a similarly healthy oil that features a light, neutral taste. However, it has a smoking point of more than 500 degrees, making avocado oil perfect for frying or high-heat grilling.
Additionally, one can use coconut oil and butter almost interchangeably. Many vegan and dairy-free cooks have found success simply replacing butter 1:1 with coconut oil in their favorite recipes. Like butter, coconut oil is excellent for frying eggs, making cookies, spreading on bread, drizzling over popcorn, or even making fudge or candy. Wherever you use butter, coconut oil will do!
Besides food, coconut oil is a chief staple in cosmetic and beauty products. It has become a popular natural ingredient amongst fans of the green/clean beauty movement. Originating from a single ingredient and free from toxic chemicals and additives, individuals can use the oil on its own for many self-care practices. Additionally, individuals can combine coconut oil with other products to enhance hydration, strength, and beauty.
Not all lotions are created equal. So – unless you are willing to spend hours researching dozens of the ingredients in a formula – it can be challenging to find a lotion containing no drying or irritating ingredients. Coconut oil is pure, all-natural hydration in plant-based fats, including vital amino acids, antibacterial properties, and supportive antioxidants without any additives.
Did you know coconut oil toothpaste is a relatively recent invention? Coconut oil toothpaste is taking the world by storm. Traditionally used to combat tooth and gum disease, the antioxidants in coconut oil help fend off oral health issues and eliminate bacteria while strengthening and polishing your teeth.
If your hair is feeling parched, damaged by heat and chemicals, or just generally lifeless, it may need a good deep condition. Like your skin, your hair can absorb and benefit from the fats found in coconut oil. Thanks to its antibacterial properties, it can also help kill unwanted scalp visitors like yeast, germs, lice, and more.
Coconut oil helps maintain both health and nutrition. For example, there are many beneficial uses from coconut oil, from using it as a cooking ingredient to a beauty product to a dental care method.