The Many Uses of Coconut Oil

Once demonized as unhealthy, coconut oil has been popularized as of late as being a "good fat," recommended for hearthealth and even weight loss.  While its medium-chain fatty acids are responsible for the new face in the news (while coconut oil is saturated fat, medium-chain triglycerides are efficiently metabolized by the body), the uses of coconut oil do not end there.  This super-versatile oil may just find its way into every room of your house.

I am sure that for as many uses for coconut oil as I can list here, there will be a hundred more that I have missed.  It seems like every time I turn around, someone is telling me something ELSE for which I can use this magnificent gift of nature, whose list of benefits is almost as long as the list of potential uses.

Coconut oil has been found useful for:

  • balancing blood sugar and hormones
  • improving memory (including Alzheimer's Disease), digestion and overall energy
  • reducing wrinkles, age spots and cellulite 
  • killing candida
  • lowering LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL
  • fat burning
  • moisturizing skin
  • teeth whitening
  • oral bacteria removal

With so many uses, I literally have the same bottle in my kitchen pantry and under my bathroom sink.  If you have not jumped on the coconut oil bandwagon, this post just may push you over the edge.  So, without further ado, and in no particular order, here are some of my favorite uses for coconut oil:

1. Face and body moisturizer - Coconut oil is solid below 72º F, and so during colder months, you may have to scoop out a bit using the back of your nail, and rub in between your palms to liquify before slathering on face and body.  

2. Tooth whitener (see oil pulling blog post) - Swish 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth for 10 minutes to remove harmful bacteria, and brighten tooth enamel. 

3. High-heat cooking, stir-frying, baking/roasting - Coconut oil is stable at high heats, unlike the more popular olive oil for cooking.  While olive oil is great for medium heat cooking, coconut is preferred for heats above 375º F.

4. Superfood boost for smoothies - Adding 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to your smoothie adds healthy fats, cholesterol- and blood pressure-lowering compounds, nutrients for healthy gut bacteria, and death to bad bacteria.

5. Replacement for low-quality vegetable and canola oils in recipes - You most likely will have to heat the coconut oil first, depending on the recipe.  

6. Replacement for non-stick cooking sprays - No need for Pam!

7. Makeup remover - Use on a cotton swab or pad to remove makeup.

8. Natural sunblock - Coconut has very low levels of SPF (2-4), so if you are going to be laying out at the beach, you will want additional protection for sure.  Coconut oil alone, however, provides minimal protection against the sun's rays.

9. Lip balm - Coconut oil is ultra hydrating and moisturizing, and so it makes for an ideal lip balm.

10. Carrier to dilute essential oils - Coconut oil is ideal as a carrier for essential oils, as it serves to dilute the oils while moisturizing and protecting the skin. 

11. Natural deodorant - Coconut oil is an excellent deodorant on its own, or when combined into a paste with baking soda and essential oils.

12. Healing aid for cuts, scrapes, wounds - If you are looking for Neosporin, try coconut oil instead.   The antibacterial and antifungal properties of coconut oil help to keep the area free of infection, and the lauric acid in coconut oil helps to speed healing.  Can be combined with essential oils like lavender, melaleuca and frankincense for intensified healing.

13. Diaper rash cream - Nothing works better on diaper rash.  

14. Stretch mark reducer - Can be used during and after preganancy.

15. Massage oil - Coconut oil is a serious upgrade from most synthetic massage oils on the market.

16. Sunburn soother - If you forget to put it on before heading outdoors, then use it to soothe a burn.

17. Fat burner - Coconut oil has medium chain triglycerides, which the body can metabolize and use more efficiently than long-chain fats.  For thgis reason, it has been proven to reduce excess fat in the body.

18. Antifungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial properties - Coconut oil can be used topically on skin fungi/Athlete's foot, nail fungi, or internally to combat parasites, bad bacteria, yeast/candida and fungi.

19.  Acne fighter - As acne is commonly caused by bacteria overgrowth or an imbalance in oil on the skin, Coconut oil (a natural antibiotic), kills bacteria that lead to breakouts. Mix with Melaleuca (tea tree oil) and raw honey for increased effectiveness.

20.  Heart helper - Although heart patients have been told for years to steer clear of saturated fats, the medium-chain coconut oil fats have actually been proven to reduce heart disease and lower blood pressure. 

21. Wrinkle reducer - Using frankincense in coconut oil on the face reduces fine lines and age spots.

22. Butter/cream cheese replacement - Your sprouted-grain cinnamon raisin toast (or English muffins) won't know what hit them!

23. Creamer replacement - Yes, you read that right.  Stir a teaspoon to a tablespoon into your morning coffee for a creamy treat.  Whip it in the blender for a frothier consistency.

24. Shaving cream - Warm a dab in the palm of your hands and rub on your face, under arms, on the legs, or bikini area and shave. Rinse well, and pat dry.

25. Toothpaste replacement - With its antibacterial properties, coconut oil makes an effective fluoride- and other harmful ingredient-free toothpaste.