If it contains coconut oil, chances are, I love it. I use coconut oil for pretty much everything – cooking, baking, moisturizing, you name it! It’s super versatile and easy to use. But it’s the health benefits of coconut oil that make it such a stand-out superfood.
Remember years ago when low fat and no fat were trending? That was a disaster. Because now we know that fats are actually healthy for us and important to have in our diet.
Fats support brain health and hormone production, and even help to keep your skin feeling soft and smooth. Of course the type of fat that you eat does still matter. So don’t go to town on trans fats, or eat saturated fats from animals too often, but some saturated fat is okay and even good for you.
What are the health benefits of coconut oil?
So why am I so crazy in love with the stuff!? It’s all about the health benefits of coconut oil, and there are a lot of them. So first things first, let me tell you a bit about this special superfood.
Coconut oil is a plant-based saturated fat – mostly in the form of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs are super easy for your body to digest and use for energy because they get sent straight to the liver, bypassing the regular digestive processes that break down larger chain fats.
The three main types of MCTs found in coconut oil include lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, all of which help to support the immune system, provide quick energy (great for pre-workout) and fight bacteria and candida. But in case that’s not enough, coconut oil does even more for your health.
5 health benefits of coconut oil for your body
1. Boost your metabolism
Because coconut oil goes straight to the liver to be used as energy it can help support your metabolism rather than be stored as fat on your waistline. It also helps to keep you feeling full and satisfied which can help you hit your weight loss goals when combined with the right fitness program.
2. Cleanse candida
If you aren’t familiar with candida, it’s a type of yeast that grows in your gut. Everyone has it, and in the right balance, it’s perfectly safe and normal. But sometimes candida can grow out of control, particularly when you eat too much sugar or take antibiotics that can compromise some of the healthy probiotics in your gut. When candida becomes a problem you see symptoms like bloating and gas, sometimes skin rashes or more acne, as well as more sugar cravings. Coconut oil contains MCTs like capric and caprylic acid that are anti-microbial and help fight back against candida.
3. Strengthen your bones
Coconut oil helps your body absorb fat soluble vitamins like vitamin D and K which support the uptake of calcium and magnesium. That’s great news for your bones, because it will help to keep them healthy and strong.
4. Fight the flu
Colds, flus and viruses don’t stand a chance against coconut oil. Not only does it boost your immune system, but it also fights back against the infection itself with it’s anti-microbial and anti-viral benefits.
5. Cook healthier
Cooking with oil is a bit of a tricky one because not all oils are heat-friendly. Coconut oil however, totally is. It has a high smoke point, so it’s easy to use for higher heat settings without worrying about burning it. When you cook oils beyond their smoke point, they end up turning rancid, which isn’t so great for clear glowing skin, or even the health of your heart. So instead you can cook great tasting healthy food with coconut oil.
It’s also good for:
- mental function
- hormone production
- hydrating skin
- softening hair
Seriously, if there was one food I could’t live without, this just might be it. But let’s get to the fun part – how to use it!
How to use coconut oil
Since coconut oil is mostly comprised of saturated fats, it’s solid at room temperature much like butter. Heated up, it can be melted to a liquid though, making it super easy to use. Here are some of my favourite ways to get the health benefits of coconut oil more regularly.
6 ways to eat the health benefits of coconut oil
- Smoothies – Coconut oil is great for a pre-workout snack because it helps to give you a quick surge of energy. So when you’re blending up a smoothie before your next HIIT workout, think tropical bliss and put some coconut oil in it. (You can also drink coconut water during and after a workout to help replenish electrolytes!)
- Raw chocolate – Chocolate doesn’t need to be a guilty pleasure, because you can turn it into a superfood. All you need is three ingredients, coconut oil (duh!), raw cacao, and sweetener (you can use honey, maple syrup or stevia). Mix it up, let it harden in the fridge, and you’ve get dessert. You can top it with nuts and seeds to make it an even healthier treat.
- Protein balls – Coconut oil can help make your protein snack even more energetic thanks to the MCTs, plus it tastes great.
- Cook with it – Safely heat and sauté foods using coconut oil. It’s has a high smoke point so it won’t turn rancid.
- Coffee – Have you ever heard of “bulletproof” coffee? It’s simply coffee and fat (typically butter) blended together to increase mental performance. Well guess what? You can make it with coconut oil instead, try blending a tbsp into your morning coffee for a creamy morning boost.
- Swap it for butter – It doesn’t necessarily work in all cases, but the majority of cases it will. Coconut oil can be used almost anywhere that butter can be used, so try making the switch once in a while to get the health benefits of coconut oil.
10 ways to get the beauty benefits of coconut oil
- Moisturize – swap out your regular moisturizer for a jar of coconut oil. After a warm shower or bath, use the coconut oil in place of your regular body moisturizer and let your skin absorb it. You’ll feel silky smooth and smell delicious.
- Massage – You can either lightly heat it yourself, or let it melt in your hands to use coconut oil as a natural massage oil. You can even add some essential oils like lavender or eucalyptus to kick up the relaxation a bit.
- Exfoliate – DIY your own exfoliating scrub with just coconut oil and refined sugar in equal parts. It’s gentle, chemical free and you can scent it however you’d like.
- Hair treatment – There’s no need to do an expensive hair treatment, all you need is coconut oil. Coat your hair with it, wrap it in a towel and let it soak in for an hour or two before washing it out. The result? Incredibly soft hair.
- Remove makeup – Coconut oil is an awesome makeup remover. Just use a cotton pad and a bit of oil to gently rub your makeup off before bed.
- Oil cleanse – If you’re prone to stubborn acne, oil cleansing is an alternative to expensive facial wash products. You can adjust the ratios to suit your skin.
- Brush your teeth – If you’re feeling crafty, you can use coconut oil to make your own homemade toothpaste. You can add baking soda to the mix, and if you want that fresh minty feel opt for peppermint essential oil.
- Oil pull – This might be a new one for you, but it’s actually an old Ayurvedic practice for dental health. All you need to do is swish some coconut oil around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes per day. It helps to fight bacteria, bad breath and even can improve the whiteness of your teeth.
- Heal rashes – Coconut oil is a soothing option for skin irritation, redness and rashes that helps to gently moisturize the area. It’s great for eczema or psoriasis.
- Lubricate – Coconut oil is a healthy and natural option that can be used for sexual lubrication.
Love your #innerbabe
If you want to start using coconut oil more often, make sure you look for a good quality oil. Look for unrefined virgin coconut oil in your local grocery store. The better the quality, the more health benefit of coconut oil you’ll get to enjoy.
How do you get the health benefits of coconut oil in your daily life? Tell us in the comments below.
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