Why Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is nature’s boon to the world. Truly.
Not only does it have a mild pleasant smell and flavor, it can be used in so many different ways that it is a little hard to believe.
Coconut oil is derived from the kernel or meat of the coconut fruit and is known to be one of the healthiest and most versatile products ever.
In fact, there are myriad studies attesting to the benefits and usefulness of coconut oil, some of which you can find linked throughout this article.
Unlike most oils, coconut oil is solid at room temperature, which again helps make it useful in many ways since it can be used as a solid or melted to a liquid.
To find out all about coconut oil, read on below.
By the end, you will want to purchase some for yourself, for sure!
Coconut oil is around 90 percent saturated fat, making it one of the rare plant-based sources of saturated fat.
What makes it unique as a health food is that it contains medium-chained fatty acids that are smaller, more permeable, and more easily converted into energy.
These fatty acids — lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid — contribute to most of its health benefits.
One tablespoon of coconut oil contains around 120 calories.
There are no, or very minimal amounts, of protein, fiber, vitamins, or minerals.
For instance, there are very small amounts of Vitamin K, Vitamin E, and iron in coconut oil, but not enough to make much of a difference.
However, coconut oil does contain an impressive amount of phenolic compounds, which have antioxidative properties and can fight free radical damage.
Types of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil comes mainly in two types: refined, and unrefined.
Refined coconut oil is made from dried coconut meat and typically does not have a smell or distinct taste.
Not all refined coconut oils may be produced in the same way, so research a particular brand’s refining procedure before you make your purchase.
This is because sometimes the manufacturers might add chemicals to extract more oil and to extend the shelf life.
Unrefined coconut oil, also known as ‘pure’ or ‘virgin’ coconut oil, is made from fresh coconut meat and typically does have a subtle but distinct taste and flavor.
It can withstand higher temperatures but also has fewer nutrients and more of the unhealthy trans-fat.
Virgin coconut oil does not contain any chemicals and will provide all the benefits listed below.
How to Buy Coconut Oil
When buying coconut oil, look carefully at the labels, or research your brand beforehand.
Buy certified organic coconut oil as much as possible, since this ensures that pesticides weren’t used in farming the coconut trees that produced the coconuts making the oil you will use.
You can select the type of coconut oil you want based on your personal needs and preferences.
Generally, it helps to have both refined and unrefined coconut oil at home, and use them as appropriate.
Either way, it is best to buy coconut oil that was extracted without any chemicals.
Centrifuge-extracted coconut oil or cold-pressed coconut oil are both excellent options because they are both raw and contain all the original nutrients.
Centrifuge-extracted coconut oil has a light flavor and is enjoyable to eat directly for most people.
Cold-pressed coconut oil has a stronger flavor and may even contain small solid bits.
If you want a less distinct taste, usually for cooking, then you can buy expeller-pressed coconut oil, which has a higher smoke point too.
Science-Backed Benefits of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil hasn’t earned such a splendid reputation in the health community for no reason.
It has been proven on many counts that it has multiple health benefits.
Some of those benefits are:
- Coconut Oil Helps Build Muscle
Coconut oil contains a large amount of medium-chained fatty acids.
These fatty acids are used by the body immediately for energy, and they are “insulinotropic” in nature, which means that consuming coconut oil will send a signal to the pancreas that it should release more energy (1).
For those of you who work out and do weight lifting, this is great news.
If you’re trying to increase your muscle mass, then taking some coconut oil pre-workout, or in the short window of around half an hour post-workout, will mean that the essential nutrients are delivered to your muscles to help them grow and strengthen.
- Coconut Oil Protects Bones
Brittle and aching bones are both conditions that you don’t want to suffer from.
Unfortunately, they do affect many people as they grow older.
While coconut oil in itself barely contains any vitamins or minerals, it does increase the capacity of the body to absorb more calcium from other food sources in the digestive tract, i.e. the stomach and intestine.
Increased levels of calcium help prevent bone mineral density loss, thereby decreasing the rate at which osteoporosis takes place (2).
This keeps the bones from becoming brittle and vulnerable to fractures, and thus, is especially helpful for the elderly and for menopausal women.
On top of that, free radical accumulation as you age can also weaken bones and cause inflammation.
Thankfully, the antioxidants in coconut oil have the power to fight such inflammation and lessen the incidence of arthritis.
For example, one study has shown that arthritic rats fed coconut oil showed suppression of certain inflammatory genes leading to relief from arthritic pain (3).
Virgin coconut oil, since it has all its nutrients intact, is the most suitable for this purpose.
- Coconut Oil Helps You Lose Fat
Yes, coconut oil is almost wholly just fat content, but not all fats make you fat.
Because of the way medium-chain triglycerides are metabolized, coconut oil actually helps you lose weight when consumed in controlled amounts.
The fatty acids in coconut oil are immediately used by the liver, resulting in both added energy and higher levels of ketones (4).
Research comparing medium-chained fatty acids and long-chained fatty acids clearly show that the former result in much higher metabolic levels.
With sufficient exercise, individuals wishing to lose weight can do so much faster by substituting other fats and oils for coconut oil (5).
This is bound to be effective also because of another factor, which is that coconut oil also contributes to increased satiety (6).
Feeling full will lead you to consume smaller portions and refrain from unhealthy snacking, which then reduces your daily caloric intake and makes it easier to lose weight.
Furthermore, coconut oil specifically helps target abdominal fat.
Fat around the stomach area is the most dangerous kind of fat since it can lead to other health problems and significantly affect your lifespan and overall health (7).
Taking coconut oil daily will help reduce abdominal fat much faster, compared to other vegetable oils (8).
- Coconut Oil Reduces the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
As we just discussed, abdominal obesity creates a great risk for cardiovascular difficulties (7).
By helping eliminate obesity, individuals can decrease their risk of heart problems using coconut oil.
Another way in which coconut oil can protect you against cardiovascular disease is by increasing levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which is healthy and promotes heart health.
Specifically, virgin coconut oil has been shown to be much more effective than refined coconut oil extracted from dried kernels in increasing HDL cholesterol levels and lowering LDL levels (9).
Using coconut oil while cooking, or just taking it by the spoonful daily, can thus protect your heart in the long run.
- Coconut Oil Protects Your Hair and Head
Coconut oil, like many other types of oil, can also provide nourishment when applied topically.
Especially for your hair, it appears that coconut oil can have significant strengthening and damage-protection properties.
Coconut oil has low weight and has small-sized triglycerides.
This makes coconut oil ideal for protein growth and protection (10).
When compared to most other types of oil, coconut oil can thus prevent hair loss and help you have long, voluminous, strong tresses.
On top of that, coconut oil also helps the scalp fight dryness and flaking.
It has been shown to improve the rough, itchy, and dry skin which causes dandruff (11).
- Coconut Oil Protects the Skin
Coconut oil is revered by beauty gurus, and why would it not be?
The oil has been shown consistently to give excellent results when used in skincare.
When applied topically, it can reach deep beneath the surface to hydrate the skin and increase lipid levels on the surface.
Skin can lose moisture very easily, and coconut oil helps prevent some of that moisture loss which will in the long term prevent wrinkles and other skin issues.
Coconut oil can also fight skin diseases and conditions such as atopic dermatitis (12).
Coconut oil also provides a mild form of protection from ultraviolet rays and is able to block up to 20 percent of those harmful rays when used in sunlight (13).
Because of the fatty acids in coconut oil, your skin is also better able to heal and repair itself as it ages, preventing wrinkles and other signs of aging to some extent.
It also stimulates collagen production, improving your skin’s elasticity so that it sags less (14).
- Coconut Oil Protects Some Important Organs
A disruption in the healthy functioning of even one of your key organs can lead to severe difficulties and a chain effect of health issues.
The great news about coconut oil is that it helps to keep in good health two very important organs: your kidneys and liver.
The liver can suffer damage due to the use of toxic substances, from alcohol to drugs.
Research indicates that coconut oil is able to reduce the impact of toxic consumption on the liver (15).
Furthermore, coconut oil can also reduce the risk of renal failure by reducing instances of lesions in the kidneys (16).
And coconut oil can protect the bladder: a monoglyceride it contains has been known to prevent the formation of gallstones (17).
This substance also has the ability to dissolve gallstones, so it might be used as a treatment when surgery isn’t possible.
In regular coconut oil users, this might help prevent gallstone formation in advance.
Since coconut oil is easily digested, it also helps prevent gallbladder or pancreatic disease.
- Coconut Oil Helps Thyroid Function and Hormonal Balance
Your thyroid gland is another very important part of your body since it is responsible for the regulation of so many functions, mainly hormonal production.
The thyroid gland releases thyroxine and triiodothyronine, among others.
These hormones then assist significantly in the regulation of many basic functions, such as heart rate, breathing, temperature, and metabolism.
Coconut oil keeps the thyroid gland functioning well, which subsequently makes it possible for these hormones to be balanced and to continue carrying out their respective functions (18).
Coconut oil also contains high levels of fatty acids such as lauric acid, which have been linked to increased levels of high-density lipoprotein; this, in turn, has been linked to increased conservation of estrogen in pre-menopausal and menopausal women (19).
At times when estrogen levels are declining, coconut oil can help you conserve more than you normally could.
- Coconut Oil Can Help Prevent Cancer
With a disease like cancer, it is really hard to pinpoint any possible “cure” and expect it to be effective all the time, at all stages, or for all types of cancers.
Nonetheless, there is a good reason to believe that coconut oil may in its own way fight against cancer by preventing tumor growth.
Coconut oil contains lots of medium-chain triglycerides, and the liver converts these into ketones since it is directly converting fats and not carbohydrates into energy.
Since tumors need glucose to thrive, a diet heavy in ketones and low in carbohydrates might deplete energy for the tumor and prevent it from spreading.
One study shows that coconut oil is much more effective than other natural oils at inhibiting the growth of malignant cells than other vegetable or mineral varieties (20).
- Coconut Oil Can Reduce Stress
Uncurbed stress can have many negative effects on your mind and body.
For example, stress can affect your mood, making you irritable, anxious, restless, sad, distracted, or overwhelmed.
And it can affect your body, causing muscle tension, headaches, chest pain, fatigue, lowered libido, digestive issues, or trouble sleeping.
It can also affect your behavior, causing you to eat too much or too little, abuse drugs or alcohol, withdraw from social activities, become less active, and so on.
The medium-chained fatty acids are used again in this regard, as they have been linked negatively with stress.
Stress and stress-induced depression can both be kept at arm’s length with regular use of coconut oil (21).
- Coconut Oil Can Improve Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes, usually diagnosed in children and young adults, is also known as juvenile diabetes.
\Much rarer than Type 2, this form of diabetes happens when the body is unable to produce insulin to get glucose into the bloodstream and the body’s cells.
This lifelong condition has to be treated with insulin and other such therapies.
However, research on rats with Type 1 diabetes shows that coconut oil in the diet can decrease blood sugar levels significantly in those with hyperglycemia, and it has been argued that this is because coconut oil regulates insulin secretion (22).
This protects individuals with type 1 diabetes not only from fluctuating blood sugar levels but also from other possible complications that may have arisen in the future.
- Coconut Oil Can Fight Free Radicals
Free radicals are the toxic byproducts of oxygen metabolism.
While a certain number of free radicals in the body is necessary for its healthy functioning, too many can mean faster aging and deteriorating health.
The free radical buildup in the body creates oxidative stress, which then makes the body vulnerable to inflammation and DNA damage.
Oxidative stress is one of the reasons why aging individuals tend to face declining cognitive abilities and suffer diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
To counter oxidative stress, individuals should consume a diet rich in antioxidants.
Coconut oil has many polyphenol compounds, which are essential antioxidants.
These substances help prevent premature signs of aging, and also keep the body and mind sharp.
Compared to refined coconut oil, and other natural oils such as olive oil and sunflower oil, virgin coconut oil has been shown to be very effective at preventing lipid and protein oxidation and improving your body’s antioxidant status (23).
Using virgin coconut oil in your cooking, or just eating small amounts of virgin coconut oil directly every day, can, therefore, help greatly in the long run by preserving your overall health.
Uses of Coconut Oil
Coconut Oil for Cooking
One of the best places to make use of your coconut oil is in the kitchen!
Coconut oil complements many ingredients and types of dishes and can elevate your dishes to give them that extra appeal.
Some ways to incorporate it into your cooking are:
- Prevent stickiness. Just as you use vegetable oil or shortening to grease your pans, baking trays, and muffin tins, use coconut oil instead. Not only is it healthier, but it is also just as effective at making sure your food doesn’t stick to your dishes. If you are working with sticky ingredients such as honey, syrup, or molasses, spray the spoon or measuring cup with coconut oil before using so that they slide right off.
- Easily clean your dishware. In those times when there is food residue caked on to your dishes, forget all the laborious scrubbing and elbow grease and easily remove the pieces that are stuck with coconut oil.
- Substitute it for butter or vegetable oil. Coconut oil is often a healthier alternative to vegetable oil or butter since it helps increase levels of good HDL cholesterol and reduce calories (24). Whether sautéing, frying, or baking, coconut oil will give the desired results as with any other oil. If you like the rich taste of butter in your food, consider using unrefined coconut oil which has an earthy taste many enjoy.
- Make homemade mayonnaise. Better than buying mayo is to make some yourself! It might end up being cheaper, healthier, and even tastier than what you can find at the store. Use four egg yolks, 2/3 cup olive oil, 2/3 cup coconut oil, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, and a teaspoon of mustard.
- Use it for your tea or coffee. Add extra energy (25) to your daily dose of caffeine by using coconut oil in your tea or coffee! Try it once, and you’ll see why some people are hooked on this combination. Once your hot beverage is done brewing, add about a teaspoonful of coconut oil per cup. Stir vigorously, or best of all, put it all in a blender so that it mixes nicely and you have a lovely drink to lift you up.
- Use it for popcorn. Add coconut oil to a heavy-bottomed pan, making sure to cover the base. Then add the popcorn kernels, making sure they’re coated with the oil. Place the pan on your stove over medium heat and cover loosely with the lid, allowing some air to escape. In five minutes, your popcorn should be done! Melt some coconut oil and drizzle over your popcorn; top with some rock salt.
- Use it on toast. Want to try your regular toast with a twist? Since coconut oil is solid at room temperature, it has a similar textural quality to butter or margarine. You can use it on its own, or mix with honey, cinnamon, or nuts. You can make a nice mixture of your preference and store it in the fridge to use whenever you want as a toast spread.
- Use it to sweeten. Not all people enjoy the overpowering sweetness in their drinks and dishes. For many, lots of sugar also poses a health risk. If you like the subtle hint of sweetness in coconut oil, you can use it in place of sugar as a sweetening agent.
- Prevent freezer burn. Frozen food can be easily damaged by dehydration and oxidation. This is because the food hasn’t been properly protected from air. By adding a thin layer of coconut oil to the items you keep in the freezer, such as sauces, you can seal them from the air and prevent freezer burn.
- Make better smoothies. Just as with the tea and coffee, the medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil will give your smoothie added energy. Mix one tablespoon of coconut oil with the rest of your smoothie ingredients, such as yogurt, fruit, and so on.(26)
- Use it as vegan cream or frosting. You can replace the fat in cream frosting with coconut oil. Mix together 1 cup full-fat coconut milk, 1 ¼ cup coconut oil, 1 cup honey, 1 tablespoon water, 5 teaspoons arrowroot powder, and a pinch of Celtic sea salt, and you’re good to go! This is a suitable vegan option for frosting in many desserts, from cupcakes to carrot cakes and lemon cakes. You can also use coconut oil and coconut milk instead of regular milk and butter in ice creams.
- Make a number of other recipes. Coconut oil is so versatile that you can get creative with it and still enjoy delicious results. Feel free to experiment, and see what dishes you can use coconut oil for. For example, you could use it to garnish a salad by mixing with vinegar, rock salt, and honey. You could also make granola by mixing rolled oats with coconut oil, coconut extract, shredded coconut, other nuts and berries, and honey or syrup. Or you could just drizzle it over some lobster. When using coconut oil in the kitchen, use refined oil if you don’t want the earthy sweet coconut taste, and use unrefined oil if you do.
Coconut Oil Home Remedies
What many of us don’t realize is that so many of our health problems can be prevented or alleviated right from home.
All it takes is a little effort, and you can treat small problems with minimal resources.
Here are some handy home remedies using coconut oil to keep in the back of your mind:
- Soothe skin. Our skin is sensitive to many external factors, so having something that can soothe it is quite useful. Coconut oil is the perfect option because it calms the skin and reduces inflammation, whereas many other chemical-based options might be further aggravating. Make a mix of coconut oil and Aloe Vera gel in a 1:1 ratio and apply it to the sunburnt skin or bug bites. You can store this mixture in the fridge and apply cold—this is even more effective! You will feel the pain subside immediately. Aside from sunburn and bites, you can also apply coconut oil to soothe irritation if you’ve had contact with poison ivy, oak, or sumac. If you’re suffering from eczema or chicken pox outbreak and have itchy, irritated skin, avoid scratching or peeling and apply coconut oil instead. You can also try soaking in bath water mixed with coconut oil, and if you wish, oatmeal.
- Make your own vapor rub. Vapor rub is now a popular item to buy at the store, but it is actually quite simple to make your own at home. Mix coconut oil with beeswax, clove oil, rosemary oil, peppermint oil, and eucalyptus oil. The mixture of these liquid oils and the semi-hard coconut oil and beeswax will give the same consistency as the store-bought variety. This vapor rub can be applied to the chest, nose, or head when suffering from a cold or the flu. It’ll relieve the symptoms, and make it easier to fall asleep.
- Heal wounds fast. Coconut oil can fight germs and bacteria, and thus, is also great at controlling inflammation. When you have a wound and so are vulnerable to bacteria and subsequent infections, applying coconut oil to the area can help the wound heal much faster. Studies on rats have shown coconut oil to be much more effective than using no antibacterial product (14). Coconut oil works on bruises too. Dab some onto the bruise, and the swelling will go down faster.
- Boost energy and control weight gain. The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil, unlike those in other fats, get used for energy rather than being stored in the body. That’s why taking a bit of coconut oil every day can help lift your energy levels. You can also take a tablespoonful of coconut oil if you feel fatigued or have a strenuous activity ahead of you. This same process also boosts thermogenesis, improving your metabolism and allowing you to burn more calories. Ultimately, this may help you manage your weight.
- Treat acid reflux or heartburn. Acid reflux is characterized by burning pain in the lower chest area. If you’ve ever experienced this, you are probably hoping for a way to relieve that terrible heartburn as quickly as possible. Coconut oil can help soothe your esophagus and prevent heartburn from happening.
- Soothe a toothache. Aching teeth and gums can really drag down your whole mood. Mix coconut oil with clove oil in a 1:2 ratio, and apply gently to your gums using a cotton ball or swab. This might soothe you only temporarily, but the effect is immediate, and it is safer than using pain medication.
- Use as toothpaste. Since coconut oil has wonderful antibacterial properties, you can use it to make your own toothpaste right at home. Mix it with some baking soda, which helps clean your teeth and fight stains. The coconut oil will also make the baking soda less unpleasant than it would be on its own. If you miss the minty taste of store-bought toothpaste, add some spearmint essential oil for flavor.
- Use as a mouthwash. Using coconut oil as a mouthwash is an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique that supposedly works like magic (26). It takes a bit more work than regular mouthwash since you’re supposed to keep swishing a tablespoon around your mouth for more than 20 minutes on an empty stomach. But this will kill all the germs in your mouth, and draw out toxins from your body. Oil pulling helps fight plaque buildup and gingivitis and combats bad breath by killing the microorganisms that cause it (27, 28).
- Treat and prevent sores. Sores are usually itchy, painful, and hideous to look at. Avoid feeling uncomfortable and self-conscious by treating them as soon as possible using coconut oil. Cold sores on the lip caused by a virus, or canker sores inside the mouth, can both be treated with coconut oil. Just apply some with a cotton swab to the affected area, and the healing process will be much faster. If you feel a sore appearing, applying oil beforehand can also prevent it.
- Treat athlete’s foot, ringworm, and jock itch. These are all fungal infections caused by dermatophytes. These may cause scaling, redness, and an itching sensation. Since coconut oil also has antifungal properties (29), it can help treat these infections. Thoroughly apply coconut oil all over the affected area multiple times a day. You can also add a few drops of tea tree oil for added effect.
- Soothe your hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids can cause pain, itching, and difficulty sitting. Help alleviate your condition by applying coconut oil to the area several times a day. You should feel the swelling subside in a few days.
- Fight toenail fungus. The antifungal properties of coconut oil are useful again here. Toenail fungus can develop through cracks in the nail or cuts in the skin and can be painful and ugly. Remove as much of the fungus as you can, and then apply the coconut oil to the area. Do this three or four times a day for around a week, and you should see a marked improvement.
- Keep skin from drying out in the bath. We’re all guilty of indulging ourselves and spending a little too much time soaking in the bath. The problem with this is that it can leave the skin too dry. While it can be moisturized afterward it might dry out again soon. The best way to prevent this is to add some coconut oil to the bath water. This will ensure that even after a long soak, your skin is hydrated and supple.
- Clean ear wax. Excess wax buildup can clog up your ears and cause them to look bad and your hearing to be less sharp. It isn’t safe to insert hard objects into your ear and scrape around, so you can put into your ear hole a few drops of coconut oil and let it unclog your ears. Then tilt your head down and let the oil and excess wax drip down. Throughout the day, more wax will break down, and you can easily remove it. If you prefer using a cotton swab, carefully insert it into your ear after dropping in some coconut oil. The wax should come out much easier.
- Relieve a sore throat and cough. If you have a sore throat, mix some coconut oil with honey and gently gargle with the mixture. You can also swallow it since it will soothe your throat as it passes down. And if you have a cough, mix some coconut oil and honey, add them to hot water and fresh lemon juice, and drink the mixture while still hot. This will help get rid of the cold faster, and will also help you relax and fall asleep which will allow your body to heal itself better.
- Treat hay fever. If you tend to suffer from hay fever, try adding a little bit of coconut oil into each of your nostrils before you head out. Any pollen or spores will cling to the coconut oil instead of going down your nasal passage, preventing the allergies from becoming too severe. Your symptoms will be milder, and it will be easier to recover.
- Treat pink eye. Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is the redness and swelling of the mucous membrane in the eye. It is typically easily treated, and you can find antibiotic treatments at any pharmacy. However, you can also make a quick temporary remedy right at home. Apply some coconut oil to your eyelids, and add a warm compress to reduce itchiness or a cold compress to reduce swelling. If the case is more severe, you will need antibiotics, but this method will help relieve some symptoms.
- Reduce seizures. Coconut oil has medium-chain fatty acids which turn into ketone bodies in the liver. A ketogenic diet is very helpful in preventing and treating epilepsy (30, 31). If you or your close ones suffer from seizures, having some coconut oil nearby at all times and taking some every day on its own or incorporated into dishes can be helpful.
- Treat yeast infection. Yeast infections are usually itchy and hard to get rid of. While prescription creams work fine, a mild infection might be treated quite effectively at home with just coconut oil. Applying coconut oil to the affected area daily can help reduce the severity of the infection, or overcome it entirely (32).
- Combat helicobacter pylori infections. Pylori infections are actually very common, with around half of the world suffering from one. But while most people never realize they have it, some can suffer from peptic ulcers, inflammation, or stomach cancers because of it. Symptoms such as frequent burping, bloating, unintentional weight loss, nausea, and abdominal pain may appear if the infection gets severe. Taking three tablespoons of coconut oil each day might help relieve these symptoms and fight the infection.
- Fight digestive problems. Bacterial, fungal, or viral infection in the stomach or intestine can cause various digestive issues. If you feel any digestive discomfort or experience indigestion, try taking some coconut oil and wait to see the results. Coconut oil can also promote the breakdown and digestion of lipids by improving the efficiency of certain enzymes (33). If you already take coconut oil every day, chances are that you will have to encounter such digestive problems much less.
- Prevent nosebleeds. If you tend to get frequent nosebleeds, it is possible because your nasal passage is too dry which has caused a capillary to burst. While nosebleeds are mostly harmless, they are messy, inconvenient, and overall something you’d rather avoid. Dab some coconut oil into your nostrils, especially in dry weather, to keep them moisturized and prevent bleeding.
- Treat an enlarged prostate. Prostate enlargement happens to almost all men as they grow older, but it can be a problem if it presses on the urethra and blocks it. This might mean a weak urine flow, frequent urination, straining to urinate, continued dribbling, a feeling of incomplete urination but difficulty in letting out more, and other such symptoms. Taking coconut oil may help shrink the prostate and relieve symptoms, or may prevent the issue in the first place (34).
- Prevent hot flashes. Hot flashes are very common during menopause and perimenopause. They are characterized by a quick feeling of heat, and sometimes flushing and sweating. Some women also experience rapid heart rate and chills. Taking one or two tablespoons of coconut oil each day might prevent these hot flashes.
- Treat UTI. A unitary tract infection may affect your kidneys, bladder, ureter, or urethra. If you’re a woman, the chances of you developing such an infection in your lifetime are one in two. If you suffer from a UTI, a way to treat it is to take around three tablespoons of coconut oil every day until the symptoms decrease.
- Boost mineral absorption. Calcium and magnesium are both essential nutrients that play a big role in your overall health. Your bones need calcium to be strong and healthy, and your circulatory system also relies on calcium for its functioning. Similarly, magnesium has benefits related to mood, digestion, sleep, muscle function, hormonal regulation, and more. By adding coconut oil to your daily diet, you can increase absorption of both these minerals, and therefore support your health in more ways than one.
- Use as a carrier oil. Carrier oils are used to dilute essential oils before applying to the skin in aromatherapy and massage. They are less volatile than essential oils and help carry them onto the skin. Coconut oil is an excellent carrier oil, whether refined or unrefined. When using essential oils, mix them with some coconut oil first.
- Use for massage and aromatherapy. Virgin coconut oil has a subtle present fragrance, which can be soothing to the senses. Furthermore, coconut oil when massaged on to the body can help you relax, and get rid of some stress.
- Reduce joint inflammation. Coconut oil contains antioxidants in the form of polyphenols. These antioxidants have anti-inflammatory properties, so they can be very effective against the inflammation in the joints that causes arthritis. Reduce arthritic discomfort by both adding coconut oil to your diet, and applying some warm coconut oil topically to your joints (35).
- Treat skin after getting a tattoo. You can use coconut oil to heal your skin faster after getting a tattoo. Don’t apply too much since the oil might make the tattoo lose some of its vibrancy, but do apply enough to soothe your skin and prevent infections.
Coconut Oil for Beauty and Hair
Sometimes it is much easier just to make up your own beauty concoctions at home, instead of buying lots of expensive products that may not be perfectly safe nor from ethical businesses.
Coconut oil is one of the most versatile oils around and will help you in a range of beauty goals.
Here are some beauty-related uses:
- Make your own sunscreen. Coconut oil comes with certain sunscreen properties, so it is a great ingredient to use to make homemade sunscreen for yourself. It isn’t very effective for day-long exposure on its own, since it has a low SPF of only around 4 or 5 (36), but coupled with other ingredients it can be everything you wanted for short-term sun exposure. Ingredients such as raspberry seed oil, carrot seed oil, almond oil, beeswax, shea butter, and zinc oxide will beautifully complement the coconut oil in protecting your skin from the sun’s rays for a while.
- Make homemade lotion or body butter. Coconut oil is a great moisturizer (37), so it makes an excellent lotion or body butter. You can use coconut oil just on its own, or you can combine it with other ingredients to make the moisturizer of your liking. You can store pieces of solid coconut oil and use it as a lotion bar to rub on dry areas such as your elbows and knees after showering. Or you can mix it with other essential oils or beeswax or shea butter until you get the consistency you want. Regular use will give you smooth, hydrated skin.
- Use as a primer. Primer allows foundation and other face makeup to be applied more smoothly and last longer than it otherwise would. Apply a small amount of coconut oil all over your face and wait for your skin to soak it up completely. Your skin should feel soft and supple and will be the perfect canvas for makeup. You can also try mixing a small amount of coconut oil into your foundation itself, which can give a smoother consistency.
- Use as a highlighter. Using highlighter has recently become a very popular trend, and it is clear why. Highlighter gives a luminescent glow to specific areas of your face, such as your cheekbones, brow bones, cupid bow, the bridge of your nose, and the inner corners of your eye. Apply a small amount of coconut oil using a lotion bar, or a brush if melted, on these areas after putting on the rest of your makeup for a natural-looking glow.
- Use as a makeup-removing agent. Coconut oil can be used in the makeup-application process, but it is also very handy for makeup removal. Especially when it comes to makeup that leaves behind a stain or is hard to remove, coconut oil will work great. Apply a fair amount all over your face and wait for a minute or two. Then wipe it all off — your makeup should come off easily, and leave your pores clean and free to breathe.
- Use as a shaving lotion. It is absolutely necessary to use something to lubricate your skin while shaving. Dry shaving often causes irritation and patches, and also makes it more likely that you will hurt yourself or shave without close precision. Coconut oil is chemical-free, and an excellent option for those with sensitive skin who don’t react well to the chemicals in shaving cream. Apply a decent amount of coconut oil to the areas you want to shave, and glide your razor along the skin for a close shave and soft skin. Although it may take a while to get used to the added slipperiness of coconut oil, you won’t want to go back to the old shaving creams when you see how coconut oil gets rid of bumps and irritation, and also makes it easy to wash out razor blades after use.
- Use as an aftershave. Not only is coconut oil excellent as a shaving aid, but it can also help post-shave, too! It soothes irritation quickly and will help prevent razor burns and heal skin inflammation along the shaved surfaces. The smell and texture may also be preferable to many aftershave products that are marketed only for men and facial use.
- Make your own face mask. Face masks help you nourish and cleanse your skin, but most store-bought face masks only provide a combination of ingredients that you can mix up on your own at a fraction of the cost. Mix some coconut oil with carrot seed oil and honey until you get a thick consistency. Apply all over your face and leave on for fifteen to twenty minutes before cleaning it off. Your skin will feel supple and pure.
- Make your own face wash. Tired of your old store-bought face washes that irritate and dry up your skin? Stress no longer; you can get the same deep-skin cleansing by mixing up some basic ingredients. Mix coconut oil in a 1:1 ratio with a carrier oil of your preference. For example, you can mix with almond or grapeseed oil for oily skin, sunflower or argan oil for regular skin, avocado or apricot oil for dry skin, jojoba oil for acne-prone skin, and the most popular of all, castor oil for all skin types.
- Make your own face scrub. It is necessary to scrub out the dead cells and dirt accumulated in your skin every once in a while. While face washes can help clean and nourish the skin, a good exfoliation session once a week will give renewed vigor to your skin. Mix coconut oil with baking soda in a 1:1 ratio, or mix coconut oil with Himalayan crystal salt. Both are effective exfoliating agents. You can also add a few drops of essential oils such as lemon, frankincense, lavender, or tea tree oil.
- Prevent puffiness around the eyes. Puffiness or swelling in the eye area can make you look dull and tired. One way to deal with this is to apply a small amount of coconut oil under the eyes or on the eyelids and lightly massage before you go to bed every night. The coconut oil will not irritate your eyes or harm them, even if there is contact, so it safer to use than other manufactured products. You will see a visible reduction in puffiness, and get to enjoy a brighter, more youthful look.
- Prevent acne. It might seem illogical to apply more oil to your face and body when you’re already suffering from acne, but — trust us — coconut oil can be of massive help. This is because often, your skin breaks out because you haven’t been hydrating it enough, and natural oils are overproduced to compensate. This creates an accumulation of grease that blocks your pores and leads to acne and inflammation. But applying coconut oil to your face regularly will make it less naturally oily. Furthermore, studies have found that lauric acid and capric acid in coconut oil are both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agents (38, 39). Moisturize your face daily with pure coconut oil, and you’ll see your face becoming less prone to breakouts.
- Exfoliate your lips. Exposure to the cold or wind, or a habit of biting, can cause chapped lips and a buildup of dead cells. This is both uncomfortable and unattractive. But exfoliating your lips once a week to get rid of the dead cells’ buildup can restore smoothness to your lips. Mix a teaspoon of coconut oil with two teaspoons of raw or brown sugar and apply to your lips. You can also add honey to the mixture if you want. Store this in a small container and scrub lightly on your lips every week. This recipe is gentle but will do the trick wonderfully.
- Exfoliate your feet. Dead cells’ accumulation on the feet is quite a different story than on the lips. The build-up is usually tougher and needs more vigorous exfoliating. But no worries, coconut oil can be excellent here too. Mix coconut oil in a 1:1 ratio with coarse sea salt and scrub the soles of your feet energetically. This should remove the hardness, and make your feet soft and pleasant-looking again.
- Get rid of cellulite. Cellulite is the little pockets of fats under the skin that give it a dimpled appearance. Cellulite is often hereditary and really tough to get rid of, despite the plethora of products that claim to work. If your cellulite makes you self-conscious and you wish to get rid of it, try this formula: using a soft-bristled brush, brush the skin where there is cellulite with upward motions. Then apply coconut oil to that area. Do this every night, and you should see a marked reduction in your cellulite with time.
- Prevent and reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Stretch marks appear when you gain weight or height in a short period of time, causing your skin to stretch and form those unsightly lines. If you’re pregnant or growing quickly and notice the formation of stretch marks, apply coconut oil to the affected areas so that it doesn’t become worse. Coconut oil can prevent the formation of stretch marks, and if you apply regularly with patience, it might reduce the appearance of those already formed, too.
- Use instead of a deodorant. Yes, it’s true — coconut oil can work as a deodorant! And unlike the deodorants you probably buy from the store, it doesn’t contain harmful chemicals that could irritate the skin, nor will it stain your light-colored t-shirts. The recipe for homemade deodorant is quite simple: Just add 1/3 cup coconut oil, ¼ cup baking soda, ¼ cup arrowroot powder, and 4 tablespoons of cornstarch. Mix and add 5 to 10 drops of essential oils for a pleasant fragrance. You can add more of any of the ingredients if you want a different consistency. Store in a small jar and use before going about your daily activities.
- Use instead of lip gloss or chapstick. Lips can lose moisture easily, but dry lips are anything but a pleasing sight. Just as you apply coconut oil as a lotion or body butter to the rest of your skin, apply coconut oil to your lips every day to give it the moisture it needs. This will make your lips look soft and attractive.
- Remove wax painlessly from the skin. Waxing is painful, but even after you’ve ripped those sheets off, you’re usually left with sticky pieces of wax that cling to your skin. These wax bits can be difficult to remove, and with your skin already sensitive, it can be quite unpleasant to remove them. Apply coconut oil to your skin after a waxing session, which will not only soothe your skin but also make the wax less clingy. Remove carefully with a warm cloth after letting the oil soak in for a few minutes.
- Clear up your varicose veins. If you have gnarled, enlarged, visible veins in your legs or on any other part of your body, you probably want a way to get rid of them. Varicose veins can be uncomfortable, painful, and unattractive to look at. Apply coconut oil to the affected area and lightly massage every day to see a reduction.
- Reduce skin discoloration. Age and sun spots are something we all try to avoid, but with lots of sun exposure and free radical buildup as you get older, they are inevitable. Prevention methods such as eating foods full of antioxidants and always wearing effective sunblock do help to a certain extent. But if you already see a few spots forming here and there, apply coconut oil regularly to the area and they should diminish in size and appearance.
- Improve your cuticles. Do your cuticles, or the beds of your nails, look dry and dull? This is probably because they aren’t getting enough moisture. Apply a small amount of coconut oil to your nails each day and you will see improved strength and appearance. Coconut oil can also be applied to the small, torn pieces of skin around the nails, known as hangnails since it has healing and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Clean your mascara wand. After using your mascara for a while, the brush tends to attract a buildup of mascara clumps, which can make the application more difficult and ineffective. Soak your mascara wand in coconut oil for a few minutes, and most of the buildup will come off on its own without having to get your hand or sink too dirty. Then just pull off any clumps that are left — they should come off easily.
- Make your own mascara. If you want a safer, healthier alternative to the chemical-laden mascaras sold by cosmetic companies, make your own! Just mix coconut oil with some activated charcoal or cocoa powder for the pigment, and then add beeswax and Aloe Vera gel. Wash out an old mascara bottle and wand and put in this mixture instead. It is simple to make, and will actually nourish your lashes and help them grow.
- Moisturize your hair and scalp. Many people neglect to moisturize their hair properly, often leading to thin, weak hair that breaks easily. Scalp dryness may also cause itchiness and unsightly dandruff that can ruin your appearance. Heat up some coconut oil to melt it, or just rub some between your hands for the heat produced by the friction. Then, apply it carefully, making sure you’re nourishing your roots and ends properly. You can even massage it into your hair to leave it overnight as a conditioner, and wash your hair out in the morning. It will feel noticeably silkier.
- Speed up hair growth. Coconut oil can work wonders for your hair when consumed or applied topically. Compared with other oils, it has been shown to reduce protein loss from hair substantially when used as a pre- or post-wash grooming product (40). By preventing hair damage and loss, it’ll give you stronger, more voluminous hair.
- Enhance your lashes. Not only is coconut oil good for the hair on your head, but you can also use it on your lashes too! Clean out an old tube of mascara and its wand completely, and apply unrefined liquid coconut oil to your lashes every night before you sleep. The oil doesn’t contain chemicals and won’t harm your eyes, but do make sure you don’t apply so much that it becomes irritating for your eyes. A week or two later you will see your lashes are much longer naturally.
- Use it to tame your hair. Dry hair tends to be frizzy and stick out. Put a small amount of coconut oil in your hands, rub to melt it, and apply lightly to your flyaway hairs to keep them in place. In the winter, if your hair often suffers from static electricity, hydrate it with some coconut oil and keep it conditioned throughout. Your hair will look much more groomed and become more manageable if you do this.
Coconut Oil for Pregnancy and Baby Care
Pregnancy is by no means easy, and sometimes even more difficult is safely and healthily bringing up very small children before they gain some independence.
You can make your pregnancy and childcare journey easier with coconut oil in the following ways:
- Prevent perineum tears. Delivering a baby is hard work, and for many women, pushing a baby out means straining the perineum, the region between the vulva and the anus. This can cause a perineum tear that can be painful and take time to heal. Apply coconut oil to the perineum three times every day and massage for the last four or so months before your due date, and you can prevent a perineum tear, or at least make sure the damage is less than it would be otherwise (41).
- Prevent morning sickness. Morning sickness is one of the toughest aspects of pregnancy. While this may not work for everyone, a teaspoonful of coconut oil should help you calm down any queasiness. Keep a container of virgin coconut oil within your reach; this will make your pregnancy much more pleasant!
- Soothe breasts. After giving birth, you will have to spend many months breastfeeding your baby, which is both a bonding experience and a way for your baby to get the utmost nourishment needed for proper development. But nursing can leave your nipples sore, cracked, or irritated. You can find nipple creams and nursing balms on the market that are safe to use, but the easiest and most trustworthy option is to just apply some coconut oil. This will soothe your breasts and do your baby no harm.
- Fortify baby formula. If you’re giving your baby formula, a good way to strengthen it is to add a few spoonfuls of coconut oil. A mother’s breast milk contains the best combination of nutrients needed for the baby, but when that’s not available, coconut oil can help by adding lauric acid to the formula. Lauric acid is also found in breast milk and helps the child develop stronger immunity.
- Increase quality and flow of breast milk. The nutritional composition and strength of breast milk largely depend on the woman and her diet. By consuming a little coconut oil every day, you can ensure that its healthy nutrients are making their way into your child’s body, too. Furthermore, nursing women have reported that adding coconut oil to their diets improved the flow and quantity of breast milk. If you have problems producing sufficient breast milk, maybe coconut oil can help.
- Keep your baby’s skin moisturized. A baby’s skin is delicate and loses moisture easily. For that reason, a huge selection of baby products including baby lotions has appeared, promising mild but effective hydration for your child’s skin. But a usually cheaper and safer alternative is just to use coconut oil to moisturize your baby’s skin and keep it baby soft. If you wish, you can add other essential oils and ingredients such as shea butter to the mix. This also helps you avoid adulterated manufactured products that may be damaging.
- Use it to keep your baby clean. Make the task of cleaning up after your baby a little less unpleasant by using coconut oil with the cloth or baby wipes you use to wipe them after removing their diapers. This will make the residue come off much more quickly, and you won’t have to risk rubbing too hard and causing irritation to your baby’s bottom. Before putting on the next pair of diapers, apply some coconut oil lightly to the baby’s bottom so that it is even easier to wipe off the next time.
- Prevent diaper rash. Applying some coconut oil to the baby’s bottom will not only make it easier to wipe the baby off by preventing unwanted sticking, it will also prevent diaper rash. Baby’s skin is soft, and the friction against the material of the diaper often causes them irritation. Their skin might get red or inflamed, and they will experience a lot of discomforts often leading to crying and restless behavior due to the itchiness. Coconut oil will make your baby detest diapers less, and make it an all-around better experience for everyone.
- Make safe play-dough. The problem with giving toys to very young children is that they tend to experiment and may not be aware of the consequences of their actions. Giving them small toys might be disastrous because they might end up swallowing them or putting them up their nose. Children love playing with play-dough, so instead of buying possibly toxic versions from the store, just make your own! Mix two cups of cornstarch with half a cup of coconut oil, and you should have a stringy consistency that infants can play with. You can add edible dye if you want it to be colorful like store-bought dough.
- Strengthen soft spots. Some skull bones in newborns’ heads haven’t yet fused since the head needs some flexibility while going through the narrow vaginal canal during birth. This causes two ‘soft spots’ on the back of their heads. These spots are very delicate and must be handled with care. Applying coconut oil to these soft spots regularly can make them tougher and less vulnerable until the skull hardens naturally.
- Treat thrush. Thrush happens due to an overgrowth of a particular yeast in the oral cavity. This cause a yeast infection inside the mouth and on the tongue. If you notice a mild case of thrush in your baby’s mouth, prevent it from getting worse by applying some coconut oil to the area. Even if the thrush needs to be treated with antifungal medicine, you can apply coconut oil to speed up the healing process (42).
- Treat cradle cap. Cradle cap is the yellowish, patchy, greasy, and scaly skin rash that newborn babies usually suffer from. It isn’t itchy or otherwise harmful, but it can cause thick white or yellow scaling that is tough to remove. Rub some coconut oil into the affected region two or three times a day for a few days. This should reduce sebum formation on the head, and prevent too much scaling.
- Reduce baby acne. Baby acne is actually very common. Newborns or babies a few weeks old usually develop small red or white bumps and pimples on their skin. This could be due to the mother’s hormones, oily or irritating skincare products, or contact with the skin with saliva, spit-up milk, or fabric. Acne can be painful for a baby and can make it difficult for adults to handle them properly. Lightly moisturizing your baby’s face, chest, and back with coconut oil can help reduce acne breakouts.
- Reduce a croup cough. Children are very vulnerable to croup, or the infection of the vocal cords, windpipe, and bronchial tubes. It is uncomfortable for the child and results in a hoarse voice, difficulty in breathing, and lots of coughing. A croup cough is also contagious in the first few days, so it is best to treat it quickly. A wonderful treatment formula is to mix coconut oil with clove oil, peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, rosemary oil, and beeswax. Apply this all over your child’s chest every few hours for best results.
- Prevent or treat ear infections. Ear infections in babies can be very dangerous, and it might affect them gravely, such as by resulting in hearing loss. Check your child’s ears carefully to see if there is any dirt buildup, and be aware of any physical signals of discomfort. You can add coconut oil to an eye-dropper and add a few drops of coconut oil to the ears once a week to prevent any infection. If an infection has already appeared, drop some coconut oil in to soothe the discomfort and kill the microbes in the ear. However, do ensure that you do this only when the eardrums are intact.
- Use as a massage oil. Coconut oil is excellent to use as a massage oil for adults, but it can be especially beneficial for young children. The mild scent is pleasant, and the effect of the light stroking motions and oil can have calming effects. Massaging your baby with coconut oil may help ease constipation, help them sleep better, and awaken activity in the central nervous system.
- Tame frizz. Baby hair is usually short and frizzy and tends to be messy. If you want your baby’s hair to look groomed, just moisturize with a little bit of coconut oil. Not only will the quality of hair be better, but the flyaway hairs and frizz will also be controlled, too.
- Relieve teething pain. It is often quite uncomfortable and even painful for a baby when his or her first teeth are coming in. Babies who are in the teething phase might manifest their discomfort by crying a lot and looking for comfort. Make it easier on your baby by massaging the gums lightly with a mixture of coconut oil and clove oil, especially the area right above the teeth. This can help relieve some of the pain and prevent inflammation. You can also apply the mixture to whatever teething toy the child is using, to prevent pain and swelling.
Coconut Oil for Pet Care
Coconut oil clearly works wonders for humans, but can it help with animals and pet care?
The answer is yes, it can, and in many different ways.
Read on to find out how:
- Get rid of dandruff and soothe irritated skin. Dandruff occurs when the skin gets dry and starts flaking. Dandruff on your dog can not only mean a lot of white flakes falling around the house, but it can also be very uncomfortable for your dog because of dry skin itches. Just as coconut oil can get rid of flaking for your own scalp, applying coconut oil to your dog’s skin can help eliminate dandruff. The oil will also soothe the dog’s skin, making it less likely to scratch and wound itself. If you own a guinea pig, you may have noticed that its skin also gets dry and irritated easily. Mix a teaspoon of coconut oil with your guinea pig’s shampoo, or apply directly to its skin regularly.
- Deodorize your dog. Dogs are adorable, fluffy creatures that we all love. But if you’re not taking proper care of them, they can be rather stinky, exuding a strange and unpleasant smell that makes us less eager to interact. If your dog has a strong body odor but it isn’t yet time for a proper bath, just apply some coconut oil and rinse off for a few hours. The bad smell will disappear, even if for a short period.
- Speed healing of skin infections or wounds. Coconut oil has medium-chain fatty acids which have been proven to have antimicrobial properties (43). Therefore, when your pet has a cut, an abrasion, or a skin infection, applying some virgin coconut oil on the affected area will prevent it from getting worse, and also speed up the healing process by soothing inflammation and fighting bacteria in the region. Coconut oil is also useful when your dog suffers from hot spots since it can prevent it from licking, scratching, or biting that area and making it worse.
- Heal bug bites. Pets are also often a victim of bug bites from a range of insects such as mosquitoes, arachnids, wasps, bees, ants, flies, and more. The venom deposited into the skin usually causes an allergic reaction, which appears in the form of itchy, red bumps, blisters, or welts. This is also sometimes accompanied by pain or burning. Give your pet some relief and speed healing by applying some coconut oil to the area.
- Prevent Chafing. Chafing is caused simply by the friction of the dog’s skin against something else, sometimes another part of its body. It might also occur due to collars, harnesses, life jackets, dog hiking boots, and bag packs, and so on. Before putting these articles on your dog, apply some coconut oil to prevent friction. If you see redness, hair loss, or a rope burn in that area, remove the item that caused chafing and apply more coconut oil to soothe it.
- Make shampoo for your dog. Finding a cleaning product without any chemicals is difficult, and even if you find organic brands, the cost is often steep. Instead, make your own shampoo for your dog using ingredients easily found at home. Mix three tablespoons of liquid castile soap with a tablespoon of coconut oil, and add a cup of vinegar and four cups of hot water. It will clean your dog’s fur with the same effectiveness as any store-bought shampoo.
- Condition fur. Just as you condition your own hair, you can apply coconut oil to your dog or cat’s fur and leave it on for a few hours, or overnight. Don’t apply too much if you don’t want the grease to rub off all over your couches and tables. The same applies if you have pet rabbits, though you should use only a few drops. This will nourish the fur and make it silky, strong, and healthy.
- Condition bird feathers. If you own a pet bird, a great way to ensure that its plumage is shiny and bright is to feed it some coconut oil. Don’t apply the oil directly to its feathers, since that will just make them heavy. Instead, give your bird a small amount of coconut oil along with its daily food.
- Relieve constipation. If your pet is straining to defecate, passes dry, hard stool, or is passing mucus while defecating, it may be suffering from constipation. There are lots of possible causes behind pet constipation, from lack of exercise to abscessed anal sacs. Along with feeding your pet high-fiber foods, you can also give it around half a teaspoon of coconut oil, which can help it pass stool easier.
- Improve energy levels. Just as the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil help humans increase their energy levels, your cats and dogs too can enjoy increased energy levels after consuming a little bit of coconut oil. If your pet tends to just lie around all day, isn’t interested in much play, or gets tired easily, coconut oil can help it become more active and healthier.
- Improve breath and dental health. As much as you love your furry companion, it’s hard to love its stinking breath. Adding some coconut oil to its diet will get rid of the microbes and bacteria in the mouth that cause the bad breath. Furthermore, you can brush its teeth and clean its gums with coconut oil. Your dog will love the taste, and it will keep its teeth and gums free of cavities and infections.
- Get rid of ticks. Dogs are usually quite vulnerable to ticks, especially in warmer climates. Check the surface of your dog’s skin thoroughly for small bumps. If you find ticks on your dog, the best approach is to get rid of them as soon as possible, as they can lead to serious diseases. Apply coconut oil all over the skin to prevent ticks from latching on.
- Get rid of fleas. Just like ticks, fleas often nest on dogs and cats, especially in warm weather. They might cause mild to severe itching, discomfort, skin problems, and infections, and even anemia, after a bite. There are many products you will find for this purpose, but they usually contain a lot of chemicals and can be toxic to your pet. You could use essential oils instead of these chemical formulas, but your pets might prefer a lighter, less intense option. Rub in some coconut oil and leave it in for a few hours, and rinse off later. If you do this regularly, you can prevent future flea infestations as well.
- Get rid of mites. Mites live naturally on dogs, but too many can cause serious skin problems and infections. Similarly, mites can be a big problem if you own pet reptiles such as lizards, snakes, geckos, and turtles. Apply a small amount of coconut oil to their skin every day to prevent mites from taking over and causing health issues.
- Reduce cat hairballs. Hairballs are disgusting for cat owners to clean up, but they can also cause intestinal blockages that make your cat really ill. Hairballs occur when your cat grooms itself fastidiously and ends up swallowing a lot of its own fur in the process, which it then vomits out later together in the form of a ball. Adding coconut oil to your cat’s diet can help reduce hairballs to some extent.
- Prevent stickiness in the cat litter box. Cleaning your cat’s litter box is never fun, but it is even more tiring when you have litter and cat fecal matter sticking to the bottom of the tray. To help make things easier on yourself, line the bottom and inner edges of the tray with coconut oil before you put in the litter. That makes it much easier for you when it’s cleaning time.
- Moisturize paws. Dryness and cold affect your pets as much as they affect you. They can especially lead to rough and cracked paw pads in dogs and cats. Cracked paw pads can also be caused by skidding around on the rough ground, especially if the paws are soft and not yet adjusted to the environment. Cracked paw pads can result in bleeding and other difficulties. While there are lots of solutions you can apply to the paw pads to soothe them, it is best to use a natural ingredient like coconut oil. This is because your pets tend to lick their paws, and you don’t want them ingesting something potentially harmful. Coconut oil will moisturize the paws, heal any cracking, and prevent further cracking.
- Clean out the dog’s ears. It is important that you check your dog’s ears regularly to see if there is any dirt, redness, discharge, or waxy buildup. If there is, it is best to clean your dog’s ears before it turns into a nasty infection that can be harmful to your dog’s overall health. Clean out the gunk with a cotton ball dipped in coconut oil. This is safe, effectively pulls the dirt out, and keeps your dog’s ears free of infection.
- Boost metabolism and lose weight. If your pet gains weight very easily or is obese despite getting a fair bit of exercise, it may be because it has a slow metabolism. Over the long term, a slow metabolism can be very unhealthy for them and may cause other illnesses. By adding a little bit of coconut oil to your pet’s diet, you can help improve its metabolism gradually and also help it become more energetic and shed some pounds. Your pet’s overall health can thus improve.
- Keep squirrels away from bird feeders. If clever squirrels are stealing all the seed from your birdfeeders, a useful way to keep them away is to make it so that they can’t reach the basket where the seeds are kept. If you hang your birdfeeders on a pole, apply coconut oil to the pole. This will make it slippery so that squirrels can’t climb it, and the seeds will remain untouched for birds.
- Treat intestinal parasites. Incorporating a little bit of coconut oil into your pet’s diet can keep intestinal parasites away due to its antifungal, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties. If your pet does get intestinal parasites, using coconut oil in addition to all the prescribed medications by the vet can help get rid of the parasites faster and more effectively.
- Use as an udder balm. Udder balms or salves can be useful if you own cows and to soothe their udders from extreme weather such as low humidity, high warmth, or cold. It can also be used to soothe the udders after milking. And udder balms can be used on dogs after they give birth during their feeding period. Just apply a little bit of coconut oil to the udders, and it will be soothing for the pet in question.
- Regulate thyroid hormone. As your dogs get older, they may suffer from thyroid problems. Common symptoms include skin diseases, weight gain, inactivity, intolerance to the cold, and excessive shedding of fur. Hypothyroidism means that your dog will need thyroxin supplementation for the rest of its life. It is possible to prevent this by maintaining healthy thyroid function in your dog by giving it a small amount of coconut oil in its daily diet.
- Improve joint health. Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties which can help make your pets’ joints healthier. The bones become stronger and arthritis discomfort lessens. Coconut oil also increases energy levels, helping your dogs to be more active and thus gain stronger bones in the process.
- Prevent or control diabetes. Your dog can suffer from diabetes if it tends to have blood sugar spikes. This will lead to more serious health issues in the future, and can substantially reduce its lifespan. Using coconut oil in the diet will help prevent diabetes or regulate blood sugar levels, even if your dog already suffers from it.
Coconut Oil Around the House
If you still aren’t convinced why you should always store some coconut oil in the house, you will be by the end of this section.
Coconut oil can be of great use around the house, making otherwise taxing jobs a lot simpler.
Here are some examples:
- Clean your car. You might think of cleaning your car as a chore, but it can actually be a lot shorter and simpler with the help of coconut oil. Spruce up the interior by using coconut oil to polish the dashboard to a shine. If you have leather detailing, you can also apply the oil lightly and rub in to restore the original color and vibrancy of the leather. Not only will the interior look sharper, it will also smell much better with that light coconut scent. You can also polish your license plate if it’s looking a bit old and dull. The dirt that has built up on your license plates can be hard to remove, but a little bit of coconut oil will loosen it right up. Similarly, metal debris can fall off and accumulate after lots of use, creating unsightly brake dust. This too will come off easily with the help of some coconut oil and a wipe. If there are dead insects, tree sap, or bird droppings on your windshield, grill, or any other part of the car, wipe them off carefully with some coconut oil. This will prevent any residue remaining behind. If you find a residue of window tint left behind after removing it, use a mixture of coconut oil and baking soda to get rid of it.
- Polish wood. As with leather, coconut oil is excellent for polishing wooden items. For example, if your wood furniture is looking a bit dull, just wipe the surface with some coconut oil and let it soak in for a few hours. If you have a parquet floor in your house and you’re unsure how to clean it, use coconut oil. Water will make the wood dry out further, but coconut oil will give it that nice gleam. Similarly, you can use coconut oil for your wooden kitchen items. If your wooden cutting boards or wooden bowl are becoming dry and brittle, a thin coat of coconut oil every now and then will go a long way toward restoring their shine and sturdiness.
- Make your own soap. Instead of the standard store-bought soaps that dry out your skin, you can make your very own soap at home. Depending on the ingredients you have and the smells you like, you can follow one of many available simple recipes to make your own soap. One way is to make melt coconut oil and blend together with a mixture of water, glycerin, and dissolved potassium hydroxide. Another way is to dissolve lye (very carefully!) in water and add that mixture to melted coconut oil. Blend and cook until it is translucent and has the consistency of Vaseline. Put the mixture in molds and cut as soon as it cools.
- Polish different metal items. Coconut oil is also pretty handy for when you need your metal items polished. Apply a small amount to a piece of cotton cloth and use that to wipe your medals, trophies, plaques, doorknobs, and any other metal item you have that you think needs some buffing. You can also use it to polish your metal or steel cutlery such as trays, containers, forks, knives, and spoons, before inviting guests.
- Polish leaves. Many of us love having indoor plants to brighten up our homes, but sometimes they end up looking a little dull with dust and dirt accumulation. Instead of buying an expensive leaf polish from the store, just apply a layer of coconut oil to the leaves using cloth, cotton, or a brush. The leaves will look much more vibrant.
- Clean leather. Leather, real or faux, can do with a good little polishing every now and then. Your leather boots, shoes, jackets, belts, gloves, skirts — all of these can look brighter after light cleaning using coconut oil. Wipe or brush the coconut oil into the leather until you get the desired dull shine. Your item will look newer and cleaner.
- Remove rust. Rust occurs when iron or its alloys corrode because they easily react to exposure to oxygen or chlorine. Rust can prevent household items from working properly, can tarnish the shiny original look of the item by depositing a layer of brown-red material over it, and can also be harmful if you wound yourself with a rusty metal such as a nail. This might lead to a tetanus infection and will require you to get a shot. If you see rust on any item, you can just cover the surface with coconut oil and let it rest for a few hours. Then wash it off with soap water, and the rust should fall away easily.
- Prevent dust accumulation. It is bothersome enough to dust the visible surfaces of your home every day, let alone the higher shelves and surfaces such as ceiling lights and the blades of ceiling fans. Make it easier on yourself by coating the surfaces with a thin layer of coconut oil. This will prevent dust from gathering, and you can wait a long time before reaching up there to clean them.
- Clean sticky residue left by stickers and labels. Isn’t it annoying when you take off the label from a bottle, a price sticker from a new purchase, or an old sticker from the car window, and see the sticky stuff left behind? It is usually a long process to take the gunk off by yourself, and you risk smearing it and making it worse. Instead, just use a bit of coconut oil, and it should be a lot easier to swipe the sticky stuff off. If it’s on a tougher surface, mix with baking soda for its abrasive qualities and scrub the gunk right off.
- Lubricate household items. Coconut oil is a very useful lubricant when it comes to your everyday household items. For example, if you use bicycles or operate the machinery such as chainsaws and sewing machines, you can use coconut oil to lubricate the mechanical parts that get stuck. You can also use coconut oil on items such as clothing and curtain rods to make the hangers and rings move more smoothly. And coconut oil is excellent for cleaning garden tools and scissors. If your tools or scissors are getting a bit difficult to use, consider cleaning them up properly with coconut oil once in a while. This will lubricate the parts, and get rid of any rust or dirt buildup. Repeat this regularly to keep them in good working order. Lastly, if your door or window gets stuck when you try to open or close them or makes a loud squeaking noise, then the hinges need some lubrication. Apply coconut oil to the hinges regularly and you can overcome this problem without having to buy expensive products.
- Degrease household items. Coconut oil is so special because it is helpful in unexpected ways. Not only can it serve as a machine lubricant, it can function as a degreaser, too. If there is hard grease or oil stuck to your floors or machinery, applying coconut oil will soften them up and make them much easier to remove. For more severe cases, mixing coconut oil with baking soda will create the perfect scrub to get out the unwanted grease.
- Clean your hands and nails. Just as you degrease machinery and hard surfaces, you can use coconut oil to degrease your hands and nails too. If you love spending time in the garage, then you’re probably used to how greased up your hands and nails can be after a good session of tinkering. This is quite difficult to remove with just soap and water or even with a store-bought lotion, but coconut oil mixed with some baking soda will do the job quickly and effectively. You can make your own liquid soap paste and store it for use after a day at the garage, and enjoy clean hands and nails in a matter of minutes.
- Use it on your lawnmower. Lawnmowers are a blessing, but one issue that manufacturers haven’t yet fixed is that pieces of grass tend to get stuck on the blades of the lawnmower and lawnmower catcher. Having to clean out the grass to keep it working properly can be an inconvenience. A good solution is just to coat the insides of the lawnmower catcher and the blades of the lawnmower with coconut oil. This will prevent the grass blades from sticking to the surface.
- Unstick a zipper. Zippers are extremely useful and as a result is in a wide range of products, from pants and jackets to dresses and bags. The problem is that zippers often stop working or get stuck, making you unable to use the product properly. If the zipper is just stuck, though, you can use coconut oil to get it to work again. Just pour a decent amount of oil until the zipper moves again.
- Use it to season cast iron. Cast iron is used to make cookware. This is because it can distribute heat evenly across its surface, making it perfect for pots, pans, skillets, stoves, and other utensils that work under high heat. But cast iron cookware needs the occasional seasoning to keep the surface from sticking. To do so, put your cast iron cookware on the stove at low heat, and melt coconut oil as the oven preheats to 400 degrees. Then cover the entire surface of the cookware with the melted coconut oil and place it on the oven rack upside down. If you don’t want your oven messy, you can put some foil underneath to catch the dripping coconut oil. Bake the pan for an hour before allowing it to cool. After using your cast iron cookware, another way to keep it protected is to scrub it without soap and wash immediately with just warm water. After drying it, put it on the burner stove. Apply a thin coating of coconut oil once it is fully dried and put it away.
- Remove makeup from fabrics. Makeup stains on your clothes, carpet, and furniture might seem like your worst nightmare, but you can fix the damage quickly with some coconut oil. Whether its foundation or lipstick, you can remove the makeup from fabric by quickly applying some coconut oil and carefully wiping the mess off.
- Get rid of soap stains. Soap is a cleaning agent when it comes to your body, or clothes and utensils, but it can be a staining agent if it comes into contact with the wrong surfaces. Soap and hard water when they come together are especially troublesome, leaving behind white soap scum, also known as lime soap. Remove the grime and soap scum using coconut oil and a brush, and add baking soda if the scum is tough.
- Clean musical instruments. We’ve talked already about how coconut oil is wonderful for cleaning both wood and metal, so it is useful for a wide range of instrument owners. Furthermore, if you play an instrument with strings, such as a guitar or a violin, you can use coconut oil to lubricate the strings periodically and keep them producing sound as they should. If you play drums covered with animal hide or skin, you can use coconut oil to keep them from getting dry. Rawhide dries out very easily and will cease to function as it ideally should without moisture. Coconut oil is as good an option as any store-bought formula.
- Remove chewing gum. Dried chewing gum is hard, sticky, and gross, and yet people keep conveniently forgetting anyway to wrap their used chewing gum in paper and throw it in the trash. Sometimes it is an accident, and you find chewing gum stuck to your furniture or hair or clothing. Don’t panic, and instead apply a fair bit of coconut oil to get it unstuck. This will take the chewing gum off, and also help get rid of the sticky residue.
- Remove a tight ring from your finger. Removing an unyielding ring from a finger that’s a little too big is no easy task. It is often painful, causes irritation to the skin around the ring, and ends up being ineffective. There are ways to get the ring to loosen up, one of which is to use coconut oil. Coconut oil is more effective than using soap and water or just any lotion. Apply the oil directly to the ring, and rotate it to get it underneath so that you can gently pull it off.
- Use as snow protection. Wintertime can be pretty, but often brings with it a lot of physical labor. Make the labor a little less intensive this year by preventing snow sticking to items such as your shovel or your satellite dish. Just rub a thin coating of coconut oil onto these items, and you won’t have freezing snow clinging to the surface.
- Keeps pests away from the trash. Maggots and flies go where the dirt goes, so your trashcan is their home from heaven for them. If you don’t want these pests around your trash can, coat the entire thing from top to bottom with a layer of coconut oil. Maggots and flies will stop making it their local habitat, and won’t lay their eggs to worsen the problem later either.
- Get rid of ants, cockroaches, and spiders. If you’re like most people, you don’t enjoy insects infesting your home. A simple but effective way of deterring insects such as ants, spiders, and cockroaches is to spray surfaces with a little bit of coconut oil mixed with vinegar. This is better than bug spray, which can smell very strongly and can leave behind a chemical mess. For ants, you can address the issue directly if you find the ant nest. Spray it with a mix of coconut oil, seed oil, and Castile liquid soap.
- Get rid of mosquitos. Standing water such as puddles and ponds is the ideal spot for mosquito larvae during warm weather. If you spot mosquitos or mosquito larvae, add a little bit of coconut oil to the water. This will kill the larvae before they get a chance to mature and wreak havoc. To protect yourself from the mosquitos that are already present in the air when you go outdoors, rub some coconut oil over your exposed skin to repel the parasites.
- Protect your jar lids. The lids of your jars can corrode with time if the jar contains a liquid. To prevent rust formation and to ensure that the lid opens easily after being closed for a long time, coat the underside and the rim of the lid with coconut oil before closing.
- Unclog a nozzle. If the nozzle of a spray bottle isn’t working because it has been blocked, an easy way to solve the problem is to remove the lid and pour coconut oil over the clogged nozzle. This can make the clogged-up debris looser and easier to remove. If you have an empty spray bottle, you can fill it with some liquid coconut oil and transfer the clogged lid to that bottle. The force of the spray and the coconut oil will help remove the accumulated grime that’s blocking the nozzle.
- Protect from wax. As candles burn, they inevitably drip wax down onto the table or candleholder. Coat the candleholder or whatever surface the candle is standing on with a layer of coconut oil. This will prevent it from clinging to the surface, and make it much easier to remove.
- Improve fertilizer or pesticide. By mixing some coconut oil with your fertilizer or pesticide, you can help reduce the surface tension between the plant and the liquid. Coconut oil acts as a surface active agent, helping the fertilizer and pesticides stick better to the plant for better results.
- Prevent Tupperware stains. Tupperware stains are a nightmare to get rid of. Protect your Tupperware containers by applying a little bit of coconut oil to the surfaces before putting in any food. This way you can prevent stains, instead of worrying about how to remove them. Your containers will look new and attractive for much longer.
- Clean dental appliances. Dental health is important, so when you have to use appliances such as dentures, mouth guards, or retainers, the responsibility falls on you to keep them clean and free of debris and germs. When you think it’s time for a good cleaning, remove the dental appliances and apply coconut oil all over them. Let the coconut oil sit for a few hours, and then rinse it off. This should make the dental product clean and free of most bacteria.
- Prevent Chafing. Chafing occurs because of friction between your skin and the fabric you’re wearing. Before wearing clothes that are too-tight or with many seams, apply a bit of coconut oil to the hot spots. This serves as lubrication that will reduce unwanted friction, even when you’re in the midst of exercising or some other repetitive movement-requiring activity.
- Start fires. Camping is usually a blast, but it can be more than a little frustrating when you can’t get your kindling to start burning when it’s getting cold or dark, or you’re getting hungry. An easy trick is to bring along cotton swabs or balls soaked in coconut oil in a little plastic bag. This will act as fuel, causing the balls to light up in flames when you set them on fire. The flames will catch on to the rest of the kindling in a minute or two.
Yes, there is clearly a wide gamut of benefits and uses when it comes to coconut oil.
But what about the side effects?
Unfortunately, there are some possible negative consequences of using coconut oil.
While they are few, they should be considered seriously.
Though rare, some people may be allergic to coconuts and their products.
For these individuals, using coconut oil might mean anything from mild symptoms like rashes and hives to very serious symptoms such as potentially fatal anaphylactic shock.
Most people would know if they were allergic to coconut, so do ask your guests beforehand if you’re planning on using coconut oil for cooking, or you’ve used it on your furniture, cutlery, utensils, pets, or even yourself.
Another precaution is more applicable to everyone.
There is substantial evidence that coconut oil does increase levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol, but there is also some evidence that it simultaneously increases the levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol (44, 45).
The reports are conflicting, with some studies concluding that coconut oil only positively affects HDL cholesterol but has little to no effect on LDL cholesterol.
There is no clear consensus in the health community yet, but if you are already suffering from high LDL levels, you might want to err on the side of caution.
A final consideration to keep in mind is that many of the studies on the health effects of coconut oil have been done on animal subjects, and those too are limited in number.
For many of the benefits, it isn’t clear whether or not humans can enjoy the same degree of success.
We will only find out with time as we continue to experiment.
So, what do you think?
Will you be trying out some of these uses of coconut oil?
We suggest you buy some as soon as possible; trust us, you will truly begin to appreciate the value of some good-quality coconut oil, and will begin investing in it regularly.
Who wouldn’t, when the returns are so beneficial?
The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.
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