In 1994, The Center for Science in the Public Interest published a report bashing coconut oil, blaming the oil for packing as much saturated fat into a large, no-butter movie theater popcorn as six Big Mac Burgers. Not surprisingly, this study left coconut oil with a bad name and sales plummeted violently. Over the following decade, the truth started to leak out into the health community – the movie theater offender had actually been partially hydrogenated, a process that takes the nutritional benefit out of any heart-healthy oil.
As it would turn out, virgin coconut oil is extremely good for you, both when eaten and used externally. Some may say that it is even a natural miracle worker! Now you may be asking, what can coconut oil really do for my health? Let me tell you:
Cooking with Coconut Oil
When ingested, virgin coconut oil has several health benefits. When used as a cooking oil, it can help with digestion. The saturated fats in virgin coconut oil have anti-microbial properties that help your body fight bacteria, fungi or parasites that can cause indigestion.
Virgin coconut oil is high in fatty acids, which can aid in weight loss, and help prevent heart disease. It also removes stress from the pancreas, which increases metabolism.
Cold pressed virgin coconut oil can be used many ways in the culinary world. It is often used by Vegans in baking as a replacement for animal fats, such as butter. It has a subtle, nutty and sweet flavor, so it is the perfect oil to sauté bitter greens in or roast sweet potatoes. My favorite ways to eat coconut oil include adding a tablespoon to my green smoothie in the morning, and using it to pop popcorn on the stove! It’s the perfect amount of salty and sweet to satisfy my cravings.
Coconut Oil for Skin Care
Coconut oil also has several benefits when used externally. Many people warm coconut oil slightly, then rub into their hair and scalp to prevent dry, brittle hair and dandruff.
It can also be used on your skin as moisturizer, or to eliminate dry skin patches or acne. As with any natural product, coconut oil works differently for all skin types, so test on a small patch of skin before using on larger areas. If you do find that you like the moisturizing effects of coconut oil, try mixing a small amount with granulated sugar to create a body scrub.
Coconut oil can also be used to treat infections, both internally and externally. Rub coconut oil on a bruise to speed up the healing process, or ingest the oil to kill bacteria that causes throat infections, urinary tract infections, or pneumonia. It is also effective on fungi and yeast that causes athlete’s foot, diaper rash and other infections.
With so many positive effects, and at only $8-10 per jar, it’s hard to find a reason NOT to use virgin coconut oil! What do you use virgin coconut oil for?