Coconut oil is one of the most diverse and handy substances you can have in your house. In Jamaica, we have known this for a very long time. In the days before the popularity of mass produced lotions and body rubs, our ancestors used coconut oil for everything: cooking, skin care, hair care, burn treatment, and more.
According to Dr Tony Vendryes: “While coconut possesses many health benefits due to its nutritional content, it’s the oil that makes it a truly remarkable food and medicine. Once mistakenly believed to be unhealthy because of its high fat content, it is now known that the fat in coconut oil is unique and different from most other fats.
All fats and oils are composed of molecules called fatty acids. There can be short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), and long-chain fatty acids (LCFA). Over 95 per cent of all the fatty acids in the modern diet are LCFA. Coconut oil is composed predominately of MCFA. In fact, coconut and palm oils are the best dietary sources of MCFA.
MCFA are very different from LCFA. They do not elevate cholesterol levels and help to prevent heart disease. It is the unique MCFA in coconut oil that makes it so beneficial. I actually recommend having one to two tablespoons of coconut oil (preferably virgin) each day.
This oil has a lower calorie content than other fats and is used to produce energy rather than being stored as body fat. It is a useful weight-loss agent.”
Here are some of the things you can use coconut oil for:
This is the thing that most Jamaicans use coconut oil for. Coconut oil adds a very unique flavour and smell to foods – greatly enriching the culinary experience. But there’s more! Virgin coconut oil is also now know to be one of the healthiest oils around. It is also said to be the healthiest oil for deep frying, because it so heat resistant. Its quality does not diminish over long periods of time under intense heat.
2. Oil pulling
Oil pulling is a traditional way to cleanse the mouth of bacteria. To do this, you have to do something called ‘swishing’. One coconut oil enthusiast suggests swishing a teaspoon of coconut oil in your mouth for at least 10 minutes as a way to cleanse your mouth of bacteria.
3. Skin moisturisation
Do you have a dry skin problem? Coconut oil is a great way to moisturise your skin. It not only makes skin soft and supple, but it can also fade scars and stretch marks. It is also said that it can stop sagging skin. It is also said to be an effective soothing agent for acne and eczema.
4. Shaving your legs
For extremely soft legs, rub a small amount of coconut oil on them before shaving. You will notice the silky smooth difference.
5. As a carrier oil
Mix a spoonful of coconut oil with a few drops of essential oils (peppermint, lavender, eucalyptus, etc) for soothing and relaxation. Then use as normal.
6. Soothing rashes and burns
Yep! Coconut oil has three acids (lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid) that have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. This helps to speed up healing time and wards off bacteria.
7. Facial cleanser
Old time people may not have known the science behind it, but they got it right that coconut oil is great for your face. It is a natural antibacterial, and has moisturising and antifungal properties which will benefit your face.
8. Eye makeup removal
Many women use coconut oil specifically to remove makeup from their eyes. Apply it after going through your regular makeup removal procedure, and it will clear up the stubborn bits of makeup that refuse to come off.
9. In your hair
Whether hair is natural or processed, frizz can be an issue. Many hairdressers and hair care professionals swear by the use of coconut oil as an anti-frizz agent. Others will tell you that it is also a good leave-in conditioner.
10. Treating cold sores
Coconut oil’s antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial properties help to speed up healing time and ward off bacteria.