Several of NMN’s readers have wondered about coconut oil for cooking, and I was curious, too. After several months experimenting with coconut oil, I have to say I’m pretty pleased with the results. As coconut oil is stable at high temperatures, it’s my first choice for using with stir-fries and oven-roasted vegetables. However, hardly a day goes by without discovering yet another use for this incredible oil, and I am still drawing up an ever-growing list of uses for coconut oil which I will share with you below, and invite you to help me enlarge upon in the future.
After years of bad press for its high saturated-fat content, coconut oil is now being heralded by online sites such as CoconutOil.com as a miracle cure for a wide range of ailments. As a longevity booster, a weight-loss aid, and a nondairy butter substitute for vegans longing for the ultimate pie-crust. So what really are its health benefits?
Health benefits of coconut oil
- Coconut oil is cholesterol and trans fat free. It’s anti-fungal and anti-bacterial and even improves nutrient absorption within the gut.
- When digested, MCT’s ( medium chain triglycerides) contained in coconut oil go directly to the liver and are transformed into energy, not fat.
- Virgin coconut oil also contains around 50% lauric acid ( one of the main constituents of mother’s milk)
- Coconut oil has a high flash point, so can be used at high temperatures-safely.
- Virgin cold-pressed coconut oil contains high levels antioxidants,these are also referred to as phytonutrients. It’s these compounds that help to prevent free radical damage in the body. In coconut oil this is down to activity of two compounds ferulic acid and p-coumaric acid.
- Ferulic acid reduces inflammation in the body making it harder for inflammatory diseases to progress. Ferulic acid stabilises blood sugar levels and protects the liver during alcohol consumption. It has also been found to lower blood pressure and helps prevent plaque buildup in the arteries, which in turn improves the body’s lipid profile, lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and increasing beneficial cholesterol.
- p-Coumaric acid is the second antioxidant compound found in coconut oil. As with ferulic acid, so p-Coumaric acid lowers LDL cholesterol and prevents plaque buildup in artery walls. Together, these compounds are responsible for over 80% of the antioxidant capacity of coconut oil. While ferulic acid and p-Coumaric acid are potent individually, they have a powerful synergistic effect when found in combination.
- Coconut oil has such powerful antioxidant abilities that despite its price, it’s a fabulous oil to use; from cooking and baking, to healing and salve making. There are a whole host of uses for coconut oil around the home and we list some of them below:
50 uses for coconut oil
- Mix a little coconut oil with your dog’s feed, to reduce pet-dander and give him a lovely silky coat.
- Use as a shoe cream to nourish dry leather
- Add a little to your smoothie for a velvety texture, better nutritional absorption and an energy boost!
- Add to the most delicious, Healthy Chocolate Brownies on Earth!
- Use in our Homemade Diaper Cream.
- The perfect base for a curry dish instead of ghee.
- Rub a little oil into chicken’s legs to prevent and stop scaly mite.
- Try the best Homemade Protein Energy Balls Recipe ever!
- Split ends? Massage just a little coconut oil into the ends of your hair to protect them from further damage.
- Many oils are not suitable to heat at high temperatures, but coconut oil is.. making it a super-healthy oil to cook with!
- Stir fry or oven roast your vegetables.
- Hair curl definer- our daughter’s luscious locks are given a luxuriant boost when she adds just a little to her afro hair after each wash.
- Rub a handful of coconut oil into your hair overnight for a deep-down conditioning treatment and glossy locks, then shampoo out in the morning.
- Dab just a little coconut oil on your cheekbones to give yourself a healthy, luminescent glow!
- Use coconut oil as a makeup remover: place a little on cotton wool and wipe away even the most stubborn water-proof mascara.
- Massage your Baby with coconut oil, it’s the perfect summer massage oil, as it has a cooling effect on the skin.
- Rub your legs with coconut oil before shaving, it leaves them deliciously soft and conditioned!
- Rub coconut oil into your baby’s head to reduce or prevent cradle-cap.
- Make your own easy Homemade Lotion Bar!
- Virgin coconut oil is a Topical Application for Eczema: sufferers recommend it as a miracle treatment. Apply as often as needed to the affected area and it should help eradicate flare ups.
- Add a little coconut oil to your cat’s feed for super shiny and healthy fur!
- Dry skin? Add just a little coconut oil to your bath water with an essential oil of your choice. A thin film of oil will coat your body, leaving it silky smooth. Warning: makes the bath very slippery-take care on getting out!
- Use coconut oil to condition your untreated wooden work-tops, chopping boards, plates and bowls.
- Apply coconut oil to your pregnant belly to reduce the chance of getting stretch marks.
- Treat your wok and cast iron pans with coconut oil.
- Make your own Lip Balm, it’s surprisingly easy!
- Use coconut oil as a lubricant, but don’t use together with a condom as it makes latex ineffective!
- Add a little coconut oil to your meal to ease digestion.
- Make your own Toothpaste
- Treat Topical Fungal Infections like athlete’s foot and ringworm.
- Smother hair with coconut oil overnight to suffocate head-lice!
- Use coconut oil as a night time moisturiser for mature skin.
- Replace vegetable oils in your baking with coconut oil, it’s healthier for you!
- Use coconut oil to treat hemorrhoids and also thrush, it’s completely safe to use in the nether regions!
- Use coconut oil as a furniture polish, but test on an out- of- site area first!
- Make your own Homemade Facial Scrub!
- Add to homemade peanut butter or other nut butter for a velvety-smooth consistency.
- Add coconut oil to homemade soups for a nutritional boost.
- Take as a supplement to prevent osteoporosis as coconut oil improves absorption of minerals such as magnesium and calcium.
- Replace shortening with coconut oil for the very best pie-crusts.
- Got a squeaky door hinge? Use coconut oil instead of WD-40!
- My husband swears by coconut oil as a shaving application. He says it reduces irritation, detoxifies and moisturises his face and makes it easier to clean his blades too.
- Massage into your cuticles for healthy, strong nails.
- Use coconut oil to massage into the driest areas of your body like your feet, elbows and knees.
- Rub coconut oil vigorously into your dog’s coat and leave overnight, to rid your pet of fleas and other fur-loving parasites.
- Make this delicious Healthy Cornbread!
- Clear out excessive ear-wax by putting between 10 to 15 drops of unrefined coconut oil in each ear, followed by a cotton ball. Leave it in for 6 to 8 hours, at which time you can swab out your ears with a cotton bud, and remove the wax. If this treatment doesn’t work first time, repeat it.
- It’s the perfect treatment for mosquito bites, it stops itching straight away!
- Breastfeeding mother? Enrich your milk supply by supplementing your diet with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil daily.
- Make some mosquito repellent using coconut oil and peppermint oil extract, works a treat and it’s natural!
- Coconut oil is the best after-sun moisturiser your could wish for, it’s light and penetrating.
*Only buy high quality, cold-pressed coconut oil which has retained its potency and has nothing added to it. Virgin cold- pressed coconut oil can be found in most good wholefood stores.
What uses for coconut oil can you add to our list? Please give us your personal recommendations and related links, so we can make this list even longer!
Mothership Magazine’s related articles using coconut oil