There’s a funny meme that many of you have probably seen on instagram: I have 99 problems but I solved 87 of them with coconut oil. This isn’t far from the truth. Coconut oil is a delicious oil made from (funnily enough) coconuts that can be used in cooking, in beauty and as an incredible home remedy.
But what is in coconut oil? And is it really that healthy? It has been hailed as a health food by so many. Well, it is a calorie-dense, nutrient rich fat, which means that you need only a little of it in your diet to see good results. Like with so many health foods, too much and you start to risk your health as coconut oil is a source of saturated fats. While there is evidence to suggest the link between saturated fats and heart disease might not be quite as strong as previously thought, there is still not enough evidence to change the official data from the top.1
Looking for a nice all-purpose Coconut Oil? I like this one from The Body Source*.
Having said this, you should definitely use coconut oil as a “healthy” fat in your diet. As long as you don’t go over a couple of tablespoons per day you will probably be fine.
1. A hair and scalp masque
Coconut oil due to its vitamin content and being a fat that easily liquifies can be massaged into the hair and the head. It is antifungal so can be massaged into the scalp to prevent or treat dandruff. Gently warm coconut oil and apply to the roots and ends of wet hair. Massage through the scalp and lengths and cover with a hot towel. You can even leave it on overnight. To remove, rinse thoroughly with tepid water, shampoo and condition as normal.
2. Teeth and mouth freshener
Oil pulling is the practice of swilling coconut oil around the mouth and can help to remove stains and kill the bacteria associated with bad breath. It also gently whitens teeth. To do this, just pop around half a teaspoon of coconut oil in your mouth after brushing and swill it around your closed mouth with your saliva for around 15-20 minutes. It’s a great time to sit and relax or do one household chore, like the vacuum cleaning. After this time, spit into the earth. Coconut oil solidifies at room temperature so ideally should not be disposed of via the sink as it could clog the pipes.
3. Emulsifier for smoothies
Ever wonder how smoothies look so deliciously glossy and appetising? By adding a little oil to the mix, you add vitamins, essential fats and also coconut oil acts as a gentle laxative. Make sure that you only add a very small amount – less than half a teaspoon of melted coconut oil will be plenty for a smoothie for one or even two people. Add them in the food processor to reveal a shiny, delighting sheen to your smoothie.
4. Base for this delicious chocolate orange vegan fudge
A lot of vegan desserts rely heavily on coconut oil as a binding and setting agent. This decadent chocolate orange fudge is no exception, and you can rely on the nature of coconut oil to add a gentle coconutty taste and, at room temperature or below will be solid, ensuring the integrity of this indulgent dessert. It is invitingly moreish, so try not to make too much in one go.
You saw this was part I? Stay tuned for more surprising uses for the humble coconut oil.