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The Ultimate Guide to Scientifically-Backed Coconut Oil Uses
Imagine a product that was so versatile it could find a home in your pantry, medicine cabinet, shower, cleaning supplies, or just about any room in your home. It could be used by old and young, human and pet, and all without dangerous side effects. It could help prevent serious conditions, cure mild conditions, and make a home happy and healthy. Best of all, it would be easily accessible and affordable.
Meet coconut oil, one of history’s best-kept secrets. It’s been steadily growing in popularity as more of the population seeks natural alternatives to Western medicine. The science behind coconut oil and its effectiveness can be tricky to navigate at times. This is what inspired this guide, which will walk you through the basics of coconut oil, the science behind it, and most importantly, how to use it safely and effectively.
What Is Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil, also known as copra oil, is an oil made from the kernel of mature coconuts. Even though it’s exotic in nature, it can be found in health and grocery stores everywhere for purchase, or conveniently ordered online. When solid, it is white, thick, and creamy. But when temperatures hit above 75 degrees F (25 degrees C), the oil turns into a liquid. Coconut oil possesses an impressive number of properties that make it so versatile, including:
Antifungal (kills fungus)
Antiviral (kills viruses)
Antibacterial (kills bacteria)
Anti-inflammatory (reduces inflammation)
Antimicrobial (kills algae, fungi, bacteria, and parasites)
Antiprotozoal (kills protozoa, a parasite)
Coconut oil has been used by native island cultures for thousands of years. It is considered to be one of the most beneficial natural products in the world, thanks to its versatility and low risk for side effects. While it may not be a miracle cure for every ailment on the planet, it can certainly help us lead healthier lives and protect the planet from products that fill our air with VOCs (volatile organic compounds). There aren’t many products that can do as much as coconut oil can, which is why you owe it to yourself and your health to take a look at its long list of benefits.
Is All Coconut Oil Equal?
Coconut oil can be made several ways but the most common method, for consumers at least, is expeller cold pressed. This process involves using a mechanical expeller to extract the oil from the raw materials. By avoiding heat, more of the nutrients are preserved in the oil.
To be more specific, the husk is first removed from the coconut followed by the shell. The testa, recognized as a brown layer, is peeled off. The raw coconut kernel is then milled and dried for several hours. This material is then pressed and the oil is collected. Finally, it is passed through a filter to remove any sediment and is then bottled for sale.
But how do you choose the best coconut oil? If you keep in mind that you get what you pay for, you should be able to quickly discard some of your cheaper and less effective options. But you don’t necessarily have to buy the most expensive option on the market either.
Organic or Non-Organic?
This question can be tricky. Organic means the coconuts were grown without the use of pesticides, which is definitely a feature you want. But some companies use coconuts grown in remote locations where there is no organic certification process. So even though they’re not certified organic, they technically are. You might need to do a little research on the company and make sure you’re purchasing a truly organic product.
Refined or Unrefined?
You’ll always want unrefined coconut oil. Refined coconut oil has been processed, removing much of the coconut essence and benefits. Also, make sure that there were no chemicals used in the oil extraction process.
Virgin or Extra Virgin?
These terms are interchangeable. There is no major difference between the two.
Cold-Pressed or Centrifuge Extracted Coconut Oil?
Both of these terms describe how the oil was made. Cold-pressed is the most common and possesses all of the health benefits of the oil. Centrifuge extracted coconut oil has a lighter flavor and could be better if you plan on eating the oil directly out of the container. But it is pricier compared to cold-pressed.
In the end, the type of coconut oil you choose will depend on what you plan on using the oil for. But as long as you’re using an organic and raw product, you’ll be experiencing all the health benefits the oil has to offer.
How To Add Coconut Oil To Your Daily Routine
There are three main ways you can begin to introduce coconut oil into your life, whether you want to use it daily or just as needed.
While you can simply eat coconut oil as is, there are some innovative ways to include it in your diet. Try adding it to a soup or casserole for a little added flavor or use it in a smoothie or coffee. You can also use it as a sugar substitute in recipes that only require a hint of sweetness.
Start with small amounts if you’ve never ingested coconut oil before. Start with a teaspoon at most per day and slowly increase the amount to 2 tablespoons over the course of several weeks. There’s no need to consume more than that unless directed to, as you’ll see in some of the benefits below.
Coconut oil can be applied directly to the skin. When topically applying the product, make sure you remove it from the container with clean hands or a sterile instrument. If needed, rub it between your fingers for a moment to soften it and then apply as needed.
Oil pulling is a popular way to use coconut oil. It involves placing a spoonful of oil in your mouth, allowing it to melt, and then swishing it around, or pulling it, through and around your teeth. It is said that the oil pulls out toxins from your gums and bloodstream which are then expelled from your body when you spit the oil out. Make sure to spit the oil into the garbage instead of a sink to prevent plumbing issues.
Coconut Oil Safety
You may have come across recent reports that contradict the safety and effectiveness of coconut oil. In the following benefits, we’ll include credible sources behind all of our claims. So, while it seems that the jury is still out regarding every claim related to coconut oil, the consensus amongst its most dedicated users is positive.
But like any product you put on or in your body, there’s always a risk for adverse side effects. Luckily, allergic reactions to coconut oil are extremely rare. If you notice nausea, hives, a rash, or are having trouble breathing, seek medical attention immediately to rule out the possibility of a serious allergy.
Overall, coconut oil is a product that’s as natural as you can get, especially when compared to the products and ingredients we expose ourselves to on a daily basis. The oil is stable, as its makeup is over 85% saturated oil, so there’s no need for additives or preservatives. Coconuts are also a GMO-free item. As long as you’re using a pure product, there’s little to no reason to worry about side effects from coconut oil.
Coconut oil contains properties that moisturize and feed skin for a healthy and youthful glow. You can apply the oil straight from its container onto your skin, even if it’s solid. Your body heat will warm up the oil and absorb it without any kind of residue. Try applying coconut oil immediately after showering. A little goes a long way and be sure to let the oil dry before dressing.
Coconut oil can be used as a gentle yet effective cleanser that both treats and prevents acne. It helps to soften trapped sebum and removes bacteria from pores. To cleanse your face with the oil, make a thick paste out of almond flour, coconut oil, and milk. Gently massage it into your skin. Warm a moist towel and cover your face for about ten minutes. Wash first with warm water and then with cold. You can then spread on a thin layer of oil as a moisturizer.
Do you spend a small fortune on manicures each month? For many, it’s not just about nail color but more about each nail’s appearance. Cuticles can dry out, snag, and become infected. Extend time between manicures with coconut oil. Simply rub a little into cuticles to remove germs that soap leaves behind. The oil will also soften cuticles, making them easier to push back towards the nail bed and cut.
Studies have discovered a potential link between deodorant and breast cancer. Though not as serious, some people deal with allergies related to certain ingredients in deodorants. Coconut oil can provide an effective solution to underarm perspiration without the risk of dangerous side effects. To make your own deodorant, mix 4 tablespoons of coconut oil, 1 cup of baking soda, 30 drops lavender essential oil, and 1 teaspoon of arrowroot powder together until a thick consistency forms. Scoop the mixture into an empty deodorant tube and allow to harden overnight.
With coconut oil, you can moisturize and remove makeup in one swoop. To remove makeup with the oil, warm a small amount in your hands and then apply it to your skin. You don’t want to massage it in at this point. Allow it to sit for a minute (perhaps while you brush your teeth) and then use a cotton pad to remove it. It might take a little more elbow grease when it comes to your mascara or black eyeliner, but the oil will remove all your makeup and leave you with a healthy glow.
Skip your normal shaving gel or cream and slather on some coconut oil instead. It creates a smooth and slick surface that allows you to get as close to the skin as possible while moisturizing. Without the alcohol included in most shaving products, your skin will be left softer than ever. And if you do happen to slip and nick yourself, the antimicrobial properties of coconut oil will come to the rescue.
It’s no secret that sunblock is a recommended beauty product for everyone. Not only is sunburn painful but the health risks are serious. Before you slather on your favorite coconut scented sunscreen, consider using a natural product like coconut oil. Now coconut oil only has an SPF of 4 and while this might sound dangerously low, it actually has an important benefit. This low of an SPF still provides you with the sunblock you need while allowing your skin to still absorb vitamin D, which builds a healthy immune system and fights free radicals. If you do use coconut oil as a sunblock, make sure to reapply at least once an hour.
Coconut oil can help reduce wrinkles and prevent the effects of aging. The loss of collagen is the usual culprit behind an aging face. Topical applications of coconut oil are able to deeply penetrate skin where its triglycerides attract protein molecules, boosting the production and health of collagen. Skip the expensive night beauty creams and apply a thin layer of coconut oil instead.
If you have cellulite, you’re not alone. Plenty of women skip the shorts in the summer to disguise the dimpled appearance of their skin. This occurs because of changes in collagen structures. As previously mentioned, coconut oil can help repair damaged collagen and restore a healthy glow to skin. To treat cellulite with coconut oil, massage the oil into problem spots once a day for several weeks. Continue until your results are satisfactory. You can continue to apply the oil to prevent cellulite from appearing again.
If you notice bulging, puffy, or brightly colored veins on your legs, feet, or knees, you probably have varicose veins. For most, the condition is simply cosmetic. But for others, the veins can throb and ache, affecting their day to day life. To treat varicose veins with coconut oil, warm some of the product in your hands and massage it onto the affected skin. Continue massaging to increase blood flow for at least five minutes. The results take time but with continued applications, you should see an improvement in the size and color of your veins.
Ringworm is a common fungal infection that easily spreads y skin-to-skin contact or by touching an infected surface. It’s usually diagnosed in children but adults can suffer as well. Because of its strong antimicrobial properties, coconut oil is a great natural fighter of ringworm. Simply mix a bit of coconut oil with a few drops of tea tree oil to create a natural fungal fighter. The solution can be applied three times a day until the infection clears.
Athlete’s foot is another fungal infection that coconut oil can handle. To treat, wash feet well and then pat dry. Make sure the skin is completely dry before slathering them with coconut oil. You can also add some drops of tea tree oil to the coconut oil before applying for a stronger mixture. Repeat daily until the infection resolves.
Exfoliating the skin removes old skin cells and leaves behind skin that’s bright, smooth, and moisturized. But there’s something counterintuitive about removing old skin with harsh chemicals, found in most exfoliators. To make a natural product, mix a ¼ cup of sugar with a ½ cup of coconut oil until a paste forms. Massage the paste into your skin while showering. Rinse well and enjoy your softer, healthier skin.
If you have stitches from surgery or an accident, coconut oil can help speed up healing by stimulating collagen production and prevent scarring by helping new blood vessels form more quickly. Gently apply coconut oil to the affected area twice a day until it has healed.
Dark bags under the eyes can dull your entire complexion and make you look much older than you age. But by applying coconut oil every night to the skin beneath your eyes, you can improve blood circulation and reduce inflammation. It may even help even out your skin tone.
Coconut oil can help burns in several ways. First, it will help prevent infection. The oil also helps with pain as it has a cooling effect. It will also help keep the skin moisturized, prevent peeling and blistering, and lessen the development of scar tissue. Apply coconut oil to burns at least twice a day to speed up healing.
Do you spend a small fortune every month at the salon getting deep conditioning treatments? The results are fabulous but the investments can add up. The next time your hair is looking a little dry, massage some coconut oil into your hair before bed. The fats and nutrients in the oil feed hair just as well as an expensive treatment. Place a shower cap on to prevent the oil from staining your pillow cases and head off to bed. Shampoo in the morning and style as usual for gorgeous, healthy hair.
To get your hair’s daily dose of coconut oil and prevent commercial shampoo buildup, try making your own shampoo from coconut oil. Its antimicrobial properties will efficiently clean while its lauric acid and medium-chain fatty acids work to strengthen hair and condition your scalp. To make your own shampoo, mix 1 cup of liquid castile soap, 1/3 cup canned coconut milk, 1/3 cup coconut oil, and about 50 drops of your favorite essential oil combination. Use as you would regular shampoo but keep in mind it won’t lather as much as commercial shampoo. It’s still cleaning your hair though.
Dandruff can be an embarrassing condition that’s difficult to shake. It’s caused by an overly dry scalp that flakes often and easily, leaving white residue on your clothing. Dandruff is often caused by scalp infections so applying coconut oil directly to the scalp can help cure infections and leave the scalp moisturized and healthy, eliminating dandruff once and for all.
Coconut oil can help with a variety of hair conditions, including seborrheic dermatitis, ringworm, and psoriasis. The oil’s antimicrobial and antifungal properties will attack an infection while the oil’s nutrients penetrate the scalp and create a healthy environment for skin and hair development. Apply the oil directly to problem spots once a day. Do not rinse. Apply at night or when staying home to allow the oil to sit for as long as possible.
Hair coloring base
Coloring your hair is a great way to disguise grays or experiment with a new look. Using all-natural hair coloring is best for your hair but the results aren’t always as good as kits with harsh chemicals. Try using coconut oil as a hair coloring base. It penetrates hair, allowing color to get deep into each strand and produce a vibrant shade that won’t fade too quickly
One of coconut oil’s biggest claims to fame is hair growth. With regular applications, coconut oil can help your hair grow longer, thicker, and faster. It works by removing sebum build-up from hair follicles that are slowing down or blocking growth, thanks to its essential fatty acids. To use coconut oil for longer and thicker hair, apply a thick mask to your hair. Massage the oil into your scalp for a few minutes before wrapping your head with a towel. Allow the oil to sit for at least 30 minutes. If your schedule allows, leave it for several hours. Shampoo and condition as normal to remove. This can be done daily until you see desired results.
Your hair is exposed to damaging sun rays, pollution, and harsh conditions every day. This can lead to dull hair and split ends. But using coconut oil can protect your hair from the environment and leave it looking great. Before heading out for the day, run a small amount of coconut oil through your hair, brushing it through for even coverage. It will create a barrier that locks in the good stuff and keeps the bad out.
If your hair isn’t too oily, you can use coconut oil as a light styling agent. Massage a little through your hair, focusing on the ends, before styling. The oil will help hold your style and keep your hair frizz-free throughout the day without introducing harsh chemicals to your locks.
If your gums bleed when you brush or for no seemingly good reason at all, it’s most likely a symptom of gum disease. Certain medications can also thin the blood and cause gums to bleed from time to time. If you begin a regime of oil pulling with coconut oil, you’ll be removing toxins while massaging your guns and promoting healing. You’ll need to oil pull every day for at least three weeks to see significant results so don’t give up too soon.
Cavities are tooth decay caused by plaque and tartar. Bacteria produce acid that destroys both the outer and inner layers of a tooth. Signs of cavities include toothaches, sensitivity to hot or cold, and noticeable staining or pits in the affected tooth. Most dentist will tell you that the only way to fix a cavity is a filling. But someone who is interested in holistic treatments will always bring up oil pulling with coconut oil. While the jury is still out, there is supposed documentation of reversing cavity damage with coconut oil.
Having less than fresh is not just embarrassing. It’s usually a sign of poor dental hygiene or infection in the mouth. When food isn’t properly removed, it begins to break down from bacteria, producing sulfur compounds. Mouthwash can help but if you are one of the 25% of the population who regularly suffers from bad breath, you know it’s only a temporary solution. To get a better grip on bad breath, swish with a spoonful of coconut oil mixed with a few drops of pure peppermint oil. You’ll eliminate bacteria and be left with a fresh and minty taste in your mouth.
Who doesn’t love a bright, clean smile? While we all want whiter teeth, whitening products can be overpriced and in some cases, even dangerous for the overall health of our teeth. If you’re not happy with the brightness of your smile, give oil pulling a try. Just make sure to spit the oil into a trash can and not down the drain. You should notice a difference in a few days with real results shining through in a couple of weeks.
Before a cavity forms, there are a few warning signs. One is the demineralization of tooth enamel. Enamel is the hardest material in your body but when it’s constantly bombarded by acids, sugars, and bacteria, it can begin to break down. If you’re noticing more sensitivity or that it’s suddenly uncomfortable to brush your teeth, there’s a good chance your enamel is demineralizing. To prevent the condition from worsening and prevent cavities, start oil pulling with coconut oil. You’ll also want to eat as close to an acid-free diet as you can while treating and remineralizing teeth with coconut oil.
Teeth can become sensitive for a variety of reasons. Whether your enamel is thinning, you’re experiencing gum recession, or a cavity has begun to form, tooth sensitivity can make eating and drinking uncomfortable, to say the least. Just like traditional toothpaste, products designed to lessen sensitivity often have toxic ingredients. Skip the toothpaste aisle and grab your coconut oil to treat sensitivity. Daily oil pulling can slowly help with sensitivity as it heals gums and teeth.
Have you ever read the ingredients of your toothpaste? One of the most common ingredients found in certain brands is triclosan, which has been linked to concerns over endocrine disruption. Chemicals as such have been shown to promote breast, prostate, ovarian, and testicular cancer. Make your own natural toothpaste by mixing 6 tablespoons of coconut oil with 6 tablespoons of baking soda. Stir in 25 drops of peppermint essential oil and use just as you would any other toothpaste but without the dangerous ingredients.
Lip balm isn’t just about soft lips. The product also relieves angular cheilitis, cold sores, and severely chapped lips. Unfortunately, many lip balm products at the checkout counter in grocery stores contain toxic ingredients like parabens and mysterious fragrances and flavors. Next time, reach for coconut oil. You can either use it as it or make your own using coconut oil, beeswax, and essential oils. Here’s one with vitamin E oil to try.
Coconut oil can help alleviate pain associated with cold sores and prevent scarring and permanent discoloration. The oil contains three fatty acids (caprylic, capric, and lauric acid), all which possess antimicrobial and disinfectant properties. They work together to heal and prevent microbial infections. To treat a cold sore with coconut oil, place a small amount of oil on the end of a cotton swab and dab it on the treated area. Do not apply with your fingers as this can introduce new bacteria to the infection.
Is a sore throat holding you back? Try this homemade cough syrup made with coconut oil. In a saucepan over low heat, warm a ¼ cup raw honey, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons coconut oil. Once combined, pour the syrup into a cup of tea and consume. The coconut oil will help to soothe the pain, irritation, and scratchiness while promoting healing.
Immune System Health:
Boost energy levels
Put down that cup of coffee and learn how coconut oil can boost your energy. Coconut oil is mostly saturated fats but unlike other saturated fats which are stored in the body and literally weigh us down, the medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil provide us with no-strings-attached energy. To boost energy without the caffeine jitters, add a tablespoon of coconut oil in water, juice, or a sports drink. It shouldn’t alter the taste but should take effect almost immediately.
Increase mineral absorption
Fat is a necessary staple in our diets. It allows the body to absorb nutrients and use them to boost our immune systems and overall health. But fats from animals often have negative health effects that cancel out the absorption of minerals and vitamins. By substituting less than ideal fats with coconut oil, our bodies are still able to absorb the nutrients necessary for health without negative side effects. Cook with coconut oil when possible and add it to your diet.
Supports healthy thyroid function
The thyroid gland produces hormones that are responsible for regulating our metabolic rate as well as digestive and heart functions. It also controls our muscles, bone health, and brain development. Viral infections and autoimmune diseases can affect the thyroid and deem it less effective. Adding coconut oil to your diet nourishes the thyroid and protects it from inflammation.
Because of its impressive list of properties, coconut oil can fight just about any infection. Whether it’s bacterial, viral, or fungal, coconut oil can combat the infection and support your immune system. If you’re starting to feel ill, add coconut oil to your diet or perform oil pulling. For cuts and wounds, topical application of coconut oil is ideal.
Arthritis is a very common condition where joints become inflamed. This causes pain and stiffness. The condition can be temporary or chronic. While most sufferers take over the counter medications to deal with the pain, they’re never truly free from the discomfort. But studies show that a mixture of coconut oil and aloe vera will lessen inflammation and relieve pain and swelling. Mix even portions of the ingredients and massage into problem areas as needed for relief.
The cells in our body are constantly reproducing, functioning, and communicating. But when things go wrong, our health can quickly deteriorate. How does cellular health begin to break down? We’re exposed to stress, processed foods, and dangerous toxins in our homes and the air. Our bodies can only fight so much and as they begin to lose the battle against our environment, we feel the effects. Coconut oil boosts cellular health by helping our bodies absorb required minerals for optimal cell performance.
When our bodies begin to fight an infection, our core body temperature elevates. This is commonly known as a fever. While some are mild, other bouts with fever can make even the smallest task unbearable. It is believed that digesting coconut oil can help alleviate fevers because the lauric acid dissolves the lipid coating that surrounds some viruses. This makes it easier for the body to fight them. If you’re using coconut oil to treat a fever and already eat the oil daily, boost your intake to 6 tablespoons throughout the day.
Calcium and magnesium both lead to healthier and stronger bones. But a poor diet can limit your body’s absorption of these nutrients. Adding coconut oil to an already healthy diet can improve vitamin and mineral absorption, especially in the bones. Use coconut oil more in cooking or add to smoothies or coffee to get more of it in your diet for this purpose.
Replacement for less than ideal cooking oils
Do you cook with vegetable oil? If so, you might want to reconsider your choice. Vegetable oil has been linked to inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and contains an unhealthy amount of trans fat. Cooking with coconut oil erases these risks and provides you with plenty of health benefits.
If you’ve been told to limit your butter intake, coconut oil makes a great substitute for baking, cooking, and even as a spread for toast. Butter is full of palitic acid which is more likely to cause fatty plaque buildup compared to the fatty acids in coconut oil. It is true that coconut oil contains more calories and fat than butter but the lauric acid in coconut oil boosts HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol) and offers more health benefits than butter alone.
Boost weight loss
The unique combination of fatty acids in coconut oil can help you lose weight, especially the fat around your waistline. The oil’s medium chain fatty acids are metabolized differently than long-chain fatty acids, which are found in most fats in our diet. Medium-chain fatty acids head straight to the liver and are used for energy. Coconut oil is also thermogenic, meaning that it increases metabolism and energy expenditure.
Remember how coconut oil boosts your energy levels? How can it help you sleep then? In an indirect way, it can. Because consuming coconut oil gives you more energy to burn and also helps promote healthy hormone production, you can break poor sleeping patterns and fight insomnia. Try to avoid coconut oil for at least three hours before bed and spread your dosages throughout the day. Once nighttime rolls around, you’ll be ready to drift off to sleep.
Coconut gets a bad rap when it comes to heart health. If you do a quick search on the oil, you’ll find reports of how it increases your risk for heart disease. But if you look at this research, you’ll see that coconut oil can help prevent the hardening of arteries, the main cause of a heart attack, and minimize fatty deposits that lead to heart attacks and strokes. All good things should be taken in moderation so don’t exceed your daily coconut oil intake but don’t allow yourself to be misinformed over coconut oil’s heart benefits.
Just as you might have heard coconut oil is linked to heart disease, you’ve probably heard of its supposed link to raising LDL (bad cholesterol). But new research shows that there are two types of LDL. One is small and dense while the other is big and fluffy. The small and dense particles can increase your risk of disease. Additional research has shown that coconut oil can actually reduce unhealthy cholesterol levels when used correctly.
Recent studies have shown that medium chain triglycerides can improve brain function. Immediate improvements were noticed in those with milder stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Coconut oil contains an abundance of medium chain triglycerides, making it an effective preventive measure and treatment for the brain disorder. Include coconut oil in your daily diet to experience its benefits on brain health.
Anxiety and panic attacks
If you suffer from debilitating anxiety and panic attacks, you know how the condition can prevent you from living up to your full potential. Commonly prescribed medications are addictive, cause drowsiness, rage, and depression in some. More are looking for natural treatments and while coconut oil is not a guaranteed cure for all, its benefits can help keep anxiety at bay. It regulates hormones, increases thyroid performance, and helps improve sleep schedules. This all leads to better mental health.
It’s almost impossible to not have a stressful moment here and there. Here’s the best way to use coconut oil to combat general stress. Mix a tablespoon of coconut oil with a couple drops of frankincense essential oil, which has been shown to alleviate stress. Rub the mixture on your temples and wrists. Sit for a few minutes, concentrating on your breathing, and then get back to your regular activities. You should feel more at ease.
If you have a big meeting or test coming up, try a little coconut oil before you begin. Consuming coconut oil on a regular basis boosts brain health with its ketone bodies. This ensures your brain is being properly fed for optimal performance.
Just as coconut oil improves focus, it can also improve memory in a similar manner. In a 2004 study, senior citizens were given either coconut oil or a placebo. In all of those who were given coconut oil, they were able to better remember what they read in a paragraph in a controlled test. This shows that while daily consumption of coconut oil promotes a healthy brain, there are immediate results to be had as well.
A Malaysian study examined the effects of virgin coconut oil on mental health. Separate groups of mice were subjected to different levels of stress. Some of the mice were given virgin coconut oil while others were given the commonly prescribed drug Diazepam. The study found that the coconut oil outperformed the Diazepam on several levels. This opens up room for discussion on treating mental health issues like depression with more natural treatments.
There is little clinical research to support the notion that coconut oil helps improve the symptoms of ADHD, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. However, simple research uncovers countless anecdotes of improved focus, increased attention span, and less impulsive behaviors in those who added coconut oil to their daily diet. If you’re searching for a more natural way to combat the symptoms of ADHD in yourself or your child, coconut oil could be worth considering.
Indigestion can happen when we eat too much or eat too much of a processed diet. Sometimes indigestion is a sign of an underlying problem, like an ulcer or gallbladder disease. By eating a tablespoon of coconut oil before a large meal, you’re less likely to overindulge and more likely to make smarter choices. This can also help you control your weight and have more energy.
Acid reflux is a disease where bile or stomach acid irritates the esophagus. It’s common but unpleasant. Consuming coconut oil helps coat and line the esophagus to lessen irritation. Some research points to bacteria overgrowth causing acid reflux and coconut oil will also help to eliminate excess bacteria in the stomach.
Stomach ulcers are sores that develop in the small intestine, esophagus, or stomach. They are caused by excess stomach acid in most cases but also by bacteria. Taking anti-inflammatory medication can be a culprit as well. Daily consumption of coconut oil can help treat stomach ulcers by eliminating the bacteria that causes them and by treating inflammation throughout the body, lessening the need for anti-inflammatory medication.
Candida is a fungus that can live in the body without causing any problems. But if the fungi multiply out of control or if the body’s immune system is compromised, an infection can occur. Consuming coconut oil on a regular basis can prevent this as it is antifungal.
Signs of poor bowel health include diarrhea, constipation, rectal bleeding, and cramping. Some of these symptoms, especially those that don’t resolve themselves in a couple days, can be signs of a more serious condition so if you’re concerned, seek medical attention. But to promote bowel health, daily consumption of coconut oil can help by regulating bacteria, decreasing inflammation, and promoting healthy bowel movements.
GI tract disorders
There are several reports suggesting that coconut oil can help with several GI tract disorders like Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and colitis. It is believed that the medium-chain fatty acids in the coconut oil are easier for the body to digest, resulting in fewer symptoms and less discomfort. It is also an anti-inflammatory food that benefits the entire digestive tract.
A recent study involved isolating colon cancer cells with coconut oil to see if the oil would influence the mutated cells. In fact, more than 90% of the cells were killed during this controlled study. Now, this doesn’t mean that consuming coconut oil will cure any case of colon cancer but it does suggest that there is reason to further study the link between the oil and its cancer killing abilities.
Because it’s a natural laxative, coconut oil can help relieve mild constipation without the dehydrating side effects of over the counter treatments. To use coconut oil as a laxative, simply add a tablespoon to your diet. Split it up between all three meals. If you don’t take coconut oil daily, you may want to start with a lower dosage to prevent the treatment from being a bit too effective.
Hemorrhoids are an uncomfortable condition that makes bowel movements difficult and painful. Usually caused by an improper diet, hemorrhoids can be difficult to cure because of the cycle of a poor diet and straining to have a bowel movement. But coconut oil can help relieve the inflammation associated with hemorrhoids with topical applications. Consuming coconut oil can also help promote healthier bowel habits and prevent hemorrhoids.
One of the main fats in coconut oil, capric acid, has been found to act as a regulator of blood sugar levels. Coconut oil can also help reduce cravings and help maintain a steady weight, all which are crucial in fighting diabetes. An additional study found that a diet rich in coconut oil protects against insulin resistance. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, treating solely with coconut oil is not recommended but exploring its benefits while adjusting your diet and activities could prove beneficial.
If heading outside in the spring sounds like a nightmare because of your allergies, consider coconut oil as a possible treatment. Oil pulling helps pull toxins from the body while boosting the immune system. A stronger immune system will be able to fight allergy symptoms. Coconut oil might not make your allergies disappear completely but it can make your symptoms more manageable.
Asthma can be a life-threatening medical condition and we would never recommend throwing your inhaler away and substituting coconut oil as a treatment. With that being said, here’s how the oil can help prevent asthma attacks. Inflammation is usually the cause of asthma. Because coconut oil is an anti-inflammatory, it can help prevent attacks when combined with other lifestyle changes. To treat asthma with coconut oil, take the recommended 2 tablespoons of oil each day.
If you’re stuffed up and feel like every breath is a struggle because of nasal congestion, consider coconut oil as a drug-free approach to take. Place coconut oil on your fingertip and apply it inside your nostrils. Lie on your back with your head tipped behind you. The oil should begin to melt and you’ll feel it dripping down into your sinuses. The medium-chain fatty acids in the oil work to break down mucous and make it easier to expel. The oil’s antimicrobial properties will also help clear any infection.
Bronchitis can be caused by both bacteria and viruses. As a population, our bodies are becoming resistant to antibiotics. This is where coconut oil can help. No matter the cause of your bronchitis, coconut oil can fight the infection while providing respiratory relief. You can consume the oil, pull with it, or even topically apply it on your chest for relief.
A study of 40 children with community-acquired pneumonia showed how effective coconut oil can be. For the study, all children were treated with a standard antibiotic. Half of the children were also given a dose of coconut oil for three consecutive days. The results showed that the children who were given coconut oil had lower fevers, improved breathing, and normal blood oxygenation before the group given only antibiotics did. Pneumonia can be serious, especially for the young and elderly, but if given the approval by your doctor, adding coconut oil to your treatment can help.
When exploring coconut oil benefits, you’ll come across stories that claim the oil is a miracle cure for cancer. This isn’t a proven fact by far but there are credible claims that the oil has aided some cancer fights. Sharon Kelly was able to cure her terminal lung cancer with cannabis oil mixed with coconut oil. There were other treatments involved, as well as major lifestyle changes, but future research could discover links between coconut oil and improved cancer odds.
Struggling to conceive is a common hurdle couples face. While there are plenty of options to boost fertility, many are expensive and not viable for all couples. Coconut oil can increase fertility in many ways. First, the oil supports proper body fat composition, a key factor when trying to conceive. It also supports healthy hormone production and strong immune health. It also boosts cervical mucus production, which is necessary to allow sperm to swim through the cervix.
When you’re pregnant, everything that you consume or are exposed to makes its way to your baby. By adding coconut oil to your diet, you’re sharing the oil’s antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. Not only will the oil help boost your immune system, which can weaken during pregnancy, but support your developing baby’s immune system and better prepare him for his entry to the world.
The exact cause of morning sickness is difficult to pinpoint. What makes it more frustrating is that while some women never experience a single wave of nausea, others spend months or even their entire pregnancy struggling with the condition. While there are prescription medications available that are considered safe for mom and child, coconut oil provides a natural remedy. If a spoonful of coconut oil is enough to make your stomach start to twist, try adding it to juice or even water. You can also try oil pulling, which can help with a wide array of other pregnancy ailments, like gum disease, heartburn, and headaches.
Oh, pregnancy hormones. Changes in the body’s hormones during pregnancy are crucial for both mom and baby but that doesn’t make the side effects any easier. From mood swings to nausea to sore muscles, hormones affect nearly every body part and emotion during pregnancy. One way to fight back is to increase your intake of healthy fats, which are found in coconut oil. Try adding coconut oil to your daily diet. While hormonal changes are necessary during pregnancy, coconut oil should make it a smoother ride.
Stretch marks are a not so welcomed result of pregnancy. As the skin stretches to accommodate growing body parts, skin fibers can tear and leave behind colored indentations in the skin. You can use coconut oil for both prevention and treatment of stretch marks. Simply massage the oil into problem areas twice a day. The results are slow but worth it.
Vaginal births can leave you more than a little sore. If you had an episiotomy or experienced tearing, preventing infections is critical. Applying coconut oil to the area can keep the skin moisturized and limit irritation. The oils antimicrobial properties will also help prevent infection and speed up the healing process. Make sure that the oil is melted before applying but not hot.
Improve milk supply
According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, lactating mothers who consume coconut oil produce breast milk with higher levels of lauric acid and capric acid. This translates to milk that is rich in nutrients and easier on an infant’s immature digestive system. One dose of coconut oil can positively affect breast milk for up to three days.
Soothe cracked nipples
Breastfeeding is beautiful and natural but at first, it can be a little rough. Cracked nipples are not only painful for mom but dangerous for the baby if an infection develops. While there are plenty of products on the market to soothe cracked nipples and promote healing, many include ingredients, that although are marked safe, might not be ideal for everyone. Coconut oil can be applied immediately before breastfeeding without the worry of presenting a danger to your baby. Apply the oil as often as needed to soothe and heal.
Gently massaging babies has been proven to calm and relax while promoting a healthier sleep schedule. While using a product isn’t necessary, coconut oil is a safe massage oil to use on newborns and older babies. Massage a small amount of coconut between your fingers and then massage. Just remember to never heat the oil on the stove to melt or add essential oils like you might for yourself.
Diaper rash can transform a baby from happy to miserable in a matter of minutes. Because coconut oil is antimicrobial, antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial, it can promote healing just as quickly as conventional diaper cream without unnecessary additives like fragrance. To use coconut oil to treat diaper rash, rinse baby’s bottom, pat it dry and apply coconut oil gently with your fingertips. Make sure it’s dry before placing a new diaper on the baby. The oil will promote healing in the current rash and act as a barrier to prevent further irritation.
Cradle cap is a normal and common skin condition for newborns. It resembles dandruff and is a result of an excess of sebum production by the sebaceous glands. Though it looks concerning, there are no serious medical issues that arise from it. Treat it with coconut oil though to speed up its disappearance. Rub the oil onto the affected area and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes before shampooing with a baby shampoo. Brush hair gently to remove flakes. Repeat this process every couple of days until the scalp has cleared.
Does your lovely daughter have a bird’s nest on her head? Rather than listen to her complaints as you try to brush through it, use coconut oil as a natural hair detangler. Melt a bit of coconut oil in your hands and begin to apply it to tangled hair, starting at the ends and slowly working up. A little goes a long way but concentrate on the worst spots. Then use a brush or comb to tackle the knots, again starting at the ends and working up. There’s no need to rinse and the oil will condition hair throughout the day.
Lice prevention and treatment
Lice are common among school aged children but that doesn’t make the condition any more desirable. If your child has lice, you can try an over the counter product but the harsh chemicals can stress out hair and damage the scalp. Instead, try coconut oil. Work coconut oil into your child’s hair until it is well saturated. Then comb through the hair with a lice comb to remove them. The lauric acid in the oil will help eliminate the lice and prevent another infestation.
Eczema is a common skin condition also known as atopic dermatitis. The main symptom is a rash which can appear anywhere but usually on the arms and behind the knees. While anyone can develop eczema, it’s more common with children. To alleviate the discomfort and itch, try coconut oil. Its caprylic acid, capric acid, and vitamins K and E work to repair and nourish broken skin. To treat eczema with coconut oil, you can either apply it topically to rashes as needed or add it to your child’s diet to lessen the risk of flare-ups.
If your child has had one ear infection, they’ve probably had a dozen. For most children, they’re nothing serious if treated in time. The traditional treatment is antibiotics but there is another approach to take. Heat a spoonful of coconut oil in a saucepan with a couple garlic cloves. Simmer for a few minutes, remove from heat, and allow to cool. Using a dropper, place the mixture into the ear while the child is laying on their side. Let the oil sit for several minutes before applying the oil in the other ear if necessary.
Chicken pox and itchy skin
If your child develops chicken pox or any other itchy skin rash, try applying coconut oil directly to the affected area(s). Keep up on oatmeal baths and other treatments as recommended by your child’s doctor. But use the coconut oil to relieve the itch, keep the skin moisturized, and prevent scarring.
Remove gum from hair
Getting a glob of bright pink bubble gum stuck in their hair is right of passage for children. But don’t reach for the scissors just yet. Instead, apply raw coconut oil to the area, making sure to rub it around the entire piece of gum. Let it sit for a few minutes before gently pulling the hair away. You might need to reapply if the gum is trapped beneath several layers of hair but it should eventually break free.
Dog treats aren’t just for training. They can also be a healthy part of a dog’s diet if made with the proper ingredients. One example of a healthy treat is a combination of coconut oil, peanut butter, and cinnamon. This specific recipe helps regulate blood sugar and helps with insulin resistance. There are plenty of coconut oil dog treat recipes to try. Look for one that matches your dog’s personality and needs.
Whether your dog has allergies, dry skin, or a few scrapes from playing rough, coconut oil can help promote healthy skin. The oil can be applied directly to problem areas several times a day. If the area is in a spot that your dog tends to lick, you might have to lessen the applications as you don’t want your dog to ingest too much of the oil. But before treating skin conditions with coconut oil, have the area checked by a vet to rule out anything serious.
Just as healthy, glowing skin is the look you’re after, your pet will appreciate a glossy, shiny coat as well. To achieve this with coconut oil instead of products with added synthetic fragrances, apply coconut oil to your pet’s coat. Let the oil absorb for a few minutes before lightly rinsing it off. If too much of the oil remains, a quick shampoo should do the trick. This treatment can be completed once a week for a healthy coat.
An overweight pet is an unhealthy pet. Just as coconut oil can aid in weight loss in humans, it can help your furry friends too. When adding coconut oil to your dog’s diet, start small. Large amounts too quickly can lead to diarrhea or greasy stools. Start with a ¼ teaspoon for puppies and small dogs. Slowly work up to about 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight.
Fight pet odor
Coconut oil can fight pet odor in two ways. First, when it’s used to condition their coat, it will leave behind a light coconut scent that’s natural and pleasant. Second, coconut oil can help with bad dog breath. Put a little coconut oil on a dog toothbrush and get to work. If your dog has fought you with traditional canine toothpaste in the past, he might let you get away with using coconut oil. The oil will eliminate bacteria and bad breath.
If your dog has a bowel condition, like colitis, coconut oil can help. The oil can also help with lymphangiectasia, or inflamed intestinal tract lymph nodes, and other digestion issues in man’s best friend. Adding coconut oil to their daily diet, gradually and in small amounts, can improve digestion and increase nutrient absorption.
While there are plenty of flea treatments on the market, some dogs react negatively to them. The last thing you want to do is leave your dog’s coat infested with fleas though. If your dog needs a natural flea treatment due to a compromised immune system, allergies, or age, try coconut oil. Head outside with your dog and spread coconut oil on his coat, getting it down to the skin. Comb through his fur with a flea brush. You shouldn’t need to rinse. To prevent fleas with coconut oil, mix coconut oil and water in a spray bottle and use as a daily treatment.
Gives older dogs an energy boost
Coconut oil can help humans as they age in a variety of ways. It’s no different with dogs. The consumption and topical application of coconut oil can not only put a little spring in your dog’s step, but it can fight degenerative diseases like canine dementia and help dogs with arthritis or similar diseases.
If your dog loves to run circles outside and go for walks through rough terrain, sore paws could be getting him down. Unless you want to strap some sneakers on your dog each time you go out, try coconut oil. It helps to soothe dry and cracked paws while making them stronger for your next adventure together. If your dog tends to lick the oil off right after you apply, try covering his paws with a couple old pairs of socks until the oil absorbs and dries.
Here’s a treatment just for your cat. If you’re noticing hairballs are becoming more frequent, try giving your pet a small amount of coconut oil. Most cats won’t eat coconut oil on its own so try placing a little on his paw or nose. Mineral oil is a common remedy for hairballs but not all vets recommend it as it can mess with some cats’ digestive systems. Coconut oil is a safer alternative to ease out hairballs.
Bar soap isn’t expensive but it can be drying to the skin thanks to parabens and added fragrances. This homemade bar soap produces a great lather that leaves you feeling just as clean without introducing unnecessary chemicals to your skin. It should be noted that making soap takes precise measurements using a digital scale and that you’ll be working with lye. If not used properly, lye can cause corrosive burns on the skin and face. Because the directions are so involved and fast paraphrasing of them could be dangerous, you can see the recipe, along with a video tutorial, here.
Laundry is a never-ending chore in most homes. While you can’t get rid of the mountain of socks, you can eliminate unnecessary added fragrances and harmful chemicals from your daily outfits by making a homemade laundry detergent with coconut oil. Start by grating a bar of your coconut bar soap that you’ve already made. Mix in 1 cup of washing soda, 1 cup of borax, 20 drops of lemon essential oil, and 1 cup of oxygen booster. Store the mixture in an air-tight glass jar and use 1 or 2 tablespoons per load of laundry.
Bug bites can be dangerous but so can bug repellent. DEET, the most common bug repellent ingredient in most brands, has mixed reviews. While some studies have labeled it as “slightly toxic” others have listed it as safe. But if applying bug repellent makes you nervous, try this version instead. Mix a couple tablespoons of coconut oil with several drops of peppermint, rosemary, or tea tree essential oils. Apply it to your skin and watch the bugs fly right past you.
How’s that leather couch of yours looking? Are your favorite pair of leather shoes looking dull and worn out? Bring them back to life with coconut oil. Using a soft terrycloth towel, wipe the leather surface clean, using a little water if necessary. Then add some coconut oil to the towel and gently polish and shine. Use a circular motion for best results. With a little elbow grease, your leather should shine like new.
Wooden furniture never goes out of style but it can get dusty and dull over time. To bring your favorite pieces back to life, mix a ¼ cup of melted coconut oil with 4 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar and 2 teaspoons of pure lemon juice. Pour into a reusable spray bottle to store. When ready to use, shake well, spray onto wooden furniture and then wipe away with a clean cloth to leave behind a shine that also smells great.
Clean marble tops
Marble cleaners either shine or disinfect. It’s hard to find a product that does both. But if you wipe your counters with a bit of coconut oil, you’ll leave behind a gorgeous shine while the coconut oil’s antimicrobial properties get to work by removing bacteria and viruses on your counter without harmful chemicals.
If you wish you had wood cabinets but you’re stuck with veneer until you can afford your dream kitchen overhaul, use coconut oil to not just disinfect and clean them but to also add a shine that makes them look more like wood. Apply a small amount of the oil to a towel, wipe down all exposed parts of your cabinets, and enjoy their revived appearance.
Did your child spill juice on the carpet again? Maybe the dog ran through the house with muddy paws. Stains can be frustrating but they don’t have to be permanent. Mix equal parts of coconut oil and baking soda to make a natural stain remover for carpet and upholstery. Apply the solution to the stain, let it sit for a few minutes, and then gently wipe away. Always test an inconspicuous part of the carpet or upholstery first.
How often do you clean your shower? Probably not as often as you should, simply because the chore is daunting and a little gross. The next time you need to take on the grime, put away your foams and sprays and take some coconut oil with you instead. Simply place some of the oil on a damp rag and wipe away mold, mildew, and water spots. If needed, mix in a little vinegar or baking soda to increase the oil’s effectiveness.
Sticky residue cleaner
Whether you’re trying to remove spilled glue from the carpet, your child’s sticker decorations on the wall, or anything sticky on your counters, furniture, or favorite pair of shoes, reach for coconut oil. Using a rag or your fingers, simply rub a bit of the oil onto the sticky spot. Depending on what you’re trying to remove, allow it to sit for one or several minutes. Wipe away and watch the magic happen.
Cooking spray replacement
Cooking sprays are convenient, but at what cost? Most include an unwanted mouthful of chemicals that have been linked to serious health problems. For example, some contain diacetyl, the ingredient that gives some sprays their butter flavor. This ingredient has been linked to an increase in lung disease. Also, most sprays include ingredients with GMOs. Skip the unnecessary chemicals and use coconut oil instead. Place a little on a paper towel and rub your cast iron pans, bakeware, or other cooking tools as needed.
Clean cutting boards
Wooden cutting boards look great in any kitchen style but they can be difficult to clean. The next time you need to clean yours, wash it in the sink to remove visible debris and allow it to try. Then wipe a thin layer of coconut oil over the wood. This will not only condition the wood and keep it looking brand new but also remove bacteria from the surface and pores of the wood.
When you invite coconut oil into your life, you’re taking a positive step forward in your health and happiness. Though there are many cosmetic uses for coconut oil, its overall health benefits can’t be denied. Start saying no to expensive and sometimes dangerous products and start substituting them with coconut oil. It’s a choice you won’t regret.
This guide is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any illnesses, conditions, or diseases. If you have medical concerns, please seek help from a medical professional.
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