Fit n’ Pretty: Coconut oil ingeneous health, beauty, cooking secret

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Throw out your cubes of butter and your bottle of olive oil collecting dust in the back of your pantry.

There’s a new oil in town that’s bigger, badder and can double as a moisturizer — it’s coconut oil, and it will make you want to cheat on your beloved butter. Coconut oil is decadent, slam-packed with medium-chain fatty acids that can help with weight management, and it’s full of lauric acid, which can help increase your good cholesterol.

Not only is coconut oil a healthier option to eat, but you can use it to do everything from treating fungal infections to polishing wood to using it as a deep conditioner.

Eating and Cooking 

Any dish you would pile on the butter, you can pile on the coconut oil. It can be used in high heat, low heat and even on toast, which I vow is delicious. Cooking with organic virgin coconut oil is the best since it is unrefined, and the oil hasn’t been manipulated. Now, I’ve been a butter-lover for most of my life, but I’m devouring the subtly sweet, coconut taste, and the added health benefits are a major plus.

According to the National Library of Medicine, the Tokelauans, who are Polynesian islanders who live near New Zealand, receive most of their calories from coconuts but have no traces of cardiovascular disease and had overall exceptional health. So even though coconut oil is calorie-dense and contains saturated fat, the oil seems to be beneficial to health and can even promote weight loss.

Health and Beauty

Skin loves coconut oil. It acts like an intense moisturizer while the lauric acid helps kill bacteria, which can help with preventing pimples. Every week I mix two tablespoons of coconut oil, a tablespoon of honey and two tablespoons of brown sugar to create an all-natural moisturizing and revitalizing facial scrub. It can also be put directly on the skin, put in a bath or used as a makeup remover. The oil helps moisturize skin, maintain elasticity, fade sun spots and prevent stretchmarks, according to everydayroots.com.

Hair can also benefit from coconut oil. You can put a tad through your hair to smooth frizz, or you can put a little more through and let it sit to get a cheap and easy deep condition. I’ve added a little eucalyptus oil to my coconut oil before putting it in my hair, and it left me smelling like a glorious hippie princess.

Other uses

There is also something called oil pulling, where you basically swish coconut oil around in your mouth, and it is supposed to help improve teeth and gum health, reduce bacteria and whiten teeth. You can read more about oil pulling at authoritynutrition.com

Coconut oil can also be used to clean soap scum, heal wounds, help with brain function and much more. Find more than 100 uses for coconut oil at everydayroots.com.

I bought a new jar of organic virgin coconut oil last month at Natural Grocers, located at 624 W. Telegraph Street, and it’s still half full despite my excessive use. The benefits of coconut oil are plentiful and cost effective, and it continues to impress.