In recent years, coconut oil has shown up as every mama’s magic elixir. From the shower to the kitchen, it seems it has a place just about everywhere. Coconut oil contains high amounts of saturated fatty acids, which causes it to be solid at room temperature. Therefore, it’s useful in many of the ways olive and canola oil are, in addition to having many other purposes. While it’s common to use many different oils on your hair and skin — namely jojoba and olive oil — coconut oil is easy to handle and relatively inexpensive. These features make it perfect for experimenting with and slathering all over — plus, it smells delicious! Offering an impressive array of health benefits — from increasing good cholesterol to reducing stress — it’s no wonder that coconut oil has risen in popularity. If you want to take part in this trend, you may be wondering, what can coconut oil be used for?
In the Kitchen
What better place to start than where food belongs? With the health benefits that coconut oil poses, along with its unique physical properties, it goes above and beyond your average cooking oil. If you don’t like the taste of coconut in all of your food, go for refined coconut oil. A refined option, while not as pure and unprocessed as organic, is odorless and tasteless, making it a great solution for picky eaters or finicky kids. No matter what kind of coconut oil you choose, it has a variety of uses in the kitchen. You can grease pans and baking sheets with it — no more aerosol cans! Use it to sauté or stir fry, adding a kick of sweetness to your veggies. You can also add it to smoothies for a boost of healthy fatty acids and rich, creamy texture. Another excellent idea is to bake with coconut oil. Many paleo dishes call for this ingredient, such as muffins with almond flour and bananas. You could also try a vegan recipe, such as apple buckwheat pancakes with coconut caramel apples.
For Holistic Health
There are plenty of holistic uses for this seemingly magical goo. How could there not be? Coconut oil is a great neutralizer and healing remedy for the whole body, with many unexpected uses, like:
- Dilute essential oils with it for aromatherapy needs.
- Use it to help soothe and treat sunburns.
- Treat cold sores with it.
- Use on dry or irritated noses during cold or allergy seasons.
- Use externally to help treat yeast infections.
- Mix into warm tea to soothe the throat and recover from a cold.
- Rub on skin to help prevent stretch marks if you’re pregnant.
In the Bathroom
From the glamorous uses to the more practical ones, coconut oil has all the makings to be the star of your medicine cabinet. No need for any fancy products or recipes, either! The same jar you buy at the grocery store and use to grease the cookie sheet can make its home on your bathroom shelf.
Use it as a natural moisturizer on your head, shoulders, knees and toes. Coconut oil is an excellent alternative to expensive creams and oils. Just make sure not to use it on your face if you have sensitive skin — the saturated fatty acids that cause it to solidify at room temperature may clog pores and cause breakouts. You can also rub it on your lips as a quick, hydrating balm.
Tired of razor bumps? Smooth this oil over a freshly shaved oil for ultra-moisturizing. You could also mix it with sugar or salt to create a natural exfoliant or body scrub. Already have a bottle in your shower? Use a dime-sized amount in your hair daily for a deep conditioning hair mask.
If you want to improve your dental hygiene, try oil pulling, the process of swishing a spoonful of this oil in your mouth for 15 to 30 minutes. The result is fresh breath and whiter teeth. You can also use this product as a natural makeup remover — an excellent alternative to skin-drying astringents.
For the Kiddos
In addition to all the tips and techniques above, coconut oil has plenty of specific uses for kids and babies, such as:
- The ability to calm itches from poison ivy, chickenpox or other skin irritations.
- A replacement for store-bought diaper creams.
- Help treat ear infections by placing a little bit inside of the ear.
- Use on nursing nipples to help treat irritation.
How to Start Using Coconut Oil Today
Coconut oil is a great all-around household solution with many amazing natural properties and uses. It seems like people are coming up with new ways to make the most of this magic oil every day, from health remedies to practical applications. Do you have a favorite use for coconut oil?