Uses for coconut oil seem to be cropping up everywhere these days. Even Homer J. Simpson has an opinion:
“You put the beer in the coconut and throw the can away.”
As fun as that may sound, let’s put the beer on hold for now and focus on that wonderful brown ball of goodness. Is there anything that stuff can’t do? What if I told you that it was the best natural deodorant and a natural sunscreen? And would you believe that it can give you the freshest breath you’ve ever had? If you’re intrigued, read on: Below I’ve assembled my top five uses for coconut oil.
The Miracles of Coconuts
Coconuts are nothing short of a miracle food. I’ve always said coconut oil can fix anything from a common cold to a bad sex life! Coconuts are popular worldwide for their flesh, water and milk, but their oil is where the real magic lies.
Extra virgin organic coconut oil has countless benefits, and many involve cooking. It is one of the healthiest oils you can use because it has no trans fats. Coconut oil is high in saturated fats, but that’s not too much to worry about, because it’s plant-based. This means it doesn’t cause high cholesterol or cancer like animal-based fats can.
Along with actually lowering cholesterol, other benefits include:
The miracle uses for coconut oil continue on the outside of your body.
1. The natural way to get rid of body odour.
For me, chemical free deodorant is the best way to get rid of body odour. I was one to have some pretty gross BO moments. After my cycle classes and jumping around on stage during boxing, it was especially bad! I wasn’t digging what the spray cans were doing for me – they were not getting rid of the odour completely.
Over the years, I have learned about the dangers of spray can deodorants. Some studies report close associations with cancer. Carcinogens exist in the chemicals that propel the deodorant from the can. They can also exist in the deodorants themselves.
Roll on deodorants are a better option, but there are levels of toxic chemicals in these products too. Upon learning about the dangers of toxic sprays, I opted to try the coconut oil experience.
Each morning as I get ready, I apply a good amount under my arms and massage it in. For me, it has performed better than any chemical-based deodorant I have tried before.
Coconut oil contains a natural anti-bacterial element. Because bacteria causes body odour, killing the bacteria stops the odour. Results will vary from person to person. Try different quantities or frequency until you get it right for you. Since trying this use for coconut oil, I haven’t looked back.
2. Don’t block the sun, embrace it
Another of the great uses for coconut oil is to replace sunblock. Like in deodorants, toxic chemicals also exist in sunblock lotions. Clinical studies prove that carcinogens in sunblock present more potential danger than moderate sun exposure.
Extra virgin coconut oil acts as a natural sunblock. It also contains elements that promote the passage of toxins out of the body via the skin. Because the skin is our largest organ, it’s important that we treat it with a lot of care.
We do not need to block the sun from our bodies completely. Vitamin D from the sun is critical to our health, and it’s better to gain it from sun exposure than supplements. We should expose our skin to small amounts of sunlight each day, in line with our natural tolerance of the sun.
To replace sunblock, apply coconut oil generously, 15 minutes before sun exposure. Avoid the sun between 10.00am and 2.00pm. And don’t stay in the sun any longer than the amount of time you know it takes your skin to burn.
3. Oil pulling to get rid of that lovely morning breath
Bad news: The furry feeling and delightful odour in our mouths each morning is bacteria.
While we sleep, all that yummy bacteria comes out to play, and it stays in our mouths come morning time. Usually, we drink water, coffee or juice first thing in the morning as we wake. Unfortunately, this does not fix the problem. All we are doing is forcing those toxins back down our throats and into our system once again. What we need to do is to draw the toxins out and expel them from our bodies.
One of the lesser-known uses for coconut oil is in the ancient art of oil pulling. It’s a practice that helps us to remove harmful bacteria from our bodies. You take a tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil and swish it around inside your mouth. Try to do it for up to 15 minutes if you can. It sounds like a lot of time but it gets easier the more you do it. Those that find it difficult to breathe through their nose can find this challenging. If this is you, try breaking it into three lots of five minutes. If you don’t have 15 minutes (or you can’t stop talking for that long) try doing it as you shower!
Once completed, spit the oil out and brush your teeth straight away. The antibacterial qualities will have drawn out the toxins from your mouth. By spitting out the oil, you remove them instead of ingesting them.
4. Deep conditioning for your hair
Coconut oil can sort out a lot of your hair issues. It’s a natural remedy for dandruff and frizz. Coconut oil is also great for kids’ hair. It can remove and prevent head lice, and also remove chewing gum! For babies, coconut oil can soothe cradle cap. Coconut oil can also be useful in treating folliculitis and ringworm on the scalp.
Coconut oil is rich in fatty acids that nourish and moisturise the scalp and hair. It can reduce hair breakage, and it penetrates the hair follicle better than mineral oil. Mineral oil is the oil found in most hair conditioners. It’s prevalent because it’s a cheap ingredient, but it’s not very good for you. This is certainly the case if you have sensitive skin.
To use coconut oil for hair conditioning, it’s best to use extra virgin coconut oil. You need to heat the oil with care, by placing a small glass of it into a bowl of hot water. You can’t microwave it, or it will degrade. Once it’s warm you massage it into your hair and leave it in for a while. The longer it’s in there, the more your hair will benefit. When you’re ready, shampoo as usual. No need to condition – your hair will already be super soft!
5. Non-toxic mozzie repellant
Being bitten by mozzies carries a high risk these days. Outbreaks of Dengue and Ross River Fever are now occurring regularly in Australia. They are both spread by mosquitoes. This is particularly frequent in tropical areas but also happens in New South Wales. These diseases can result in serious illness or death, so it’s best to avoid being bitten.
As with other things I’ve mentioned in this post, sometimes the cure is worse than the problem! Insect repellants can cause health issues. Children and babies are the most sensitive to their ingredients. Prolonged use is not recommended – even by the manufacturers. Enter another of the greatest uses for coconut oil – natural insect repellant! In this case, the coconut oil is combined with other ingredients.
Natural mozzie repellant recipe
1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil
4 teaspoons beeswax granules
12 drops citronella essential oil
8 drops rosemary essential oil
8 drops cedarwood essential oil
8 drops lemongrass essential oil
8 drops tea tree essential oil
Using the ‘bowl inside a bowl’ method, gently melt the coconut oil, shea butter and beeswax granules. You can melt them all together, while stirring. At this point, you should test the texture of the mix. Dip in a spoon and let a small amount cool and set. Try rubbing it into your skin. If you’re happy with how it rubs in, then you can add the rest of the ingredients, stir well and transfer to a jar for use. If you feel it’s too firm, add some more shea butter, a little at a time. If it’s too soft, add a little beeswax. Test again after you’ve added the extra ingredients.
There are so many more uses for coconut oil
Coconut oil has become recognised as the wonder cure of our times. As well as what I’ve mentioned, it has benefit in managing weight, hormones and skin issues. To live a healthy life, free of toxins, we need to embrace nature. Every fruit, vegetable or plant has a quality and function, just like our wonderful brown ball of goodness. I encourage you to get out there, investigate, and go nuts for coconuts!