I just discovered coconut oil last year, and I can’t say enough good things about it! I love that stuff and can’t imagine how I ever lived without it! I use it daily in cooking, baking, and on my skin, teeth, and hair. I recommend it to everyone! As I mentioned in my post 10 Things I Learned in 2013, I feel like coconut oil was the best thing I discovered in the past year. When people ask me for tips on eating healthier, my first suggestion is usually to replace their vegetable oils with coconut oil. It is a simple change that is hardly noticeable, but the benefits are many.
What is it/How is it Made/How do I select the right product for me?
Coconut oil is the oil extracted from coconuts. There are two different types of coconut oil: refined and unrefined. If you do not like the taste or smell of coconuts, you may want to opt for the refined oil because it is generally tasteless and odorless. If you do go with the refined oil, just be sure it is not hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated because the hydrogenation process creates synthetic trans-fats. “Virgin” or “Extra-Virgin” Coconut oil is unrefined and it tastes and smells like coconut. If you need additional help in choosing whether you want refined or virgin coconut oil, check out this great article here.
Where Can I Buy It?
With coconut oil gaining in popularity, you can find it just about anywhere. I have seen it at my local grocery store in the organic foods section. I have also seen it at my local Walmart next to the cooking oils. You can also buy it in health food stores, and online here.
Uses of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has many health benefits and is said to help with weight loss, diabetes, cholesterol, Alzheimers, and many other health conditions. I can attest to it helping with cholesterol. Last year I threw out my huge jug of canola oil and replaced it with coconut oil. Since I no longer keep vegetable oils in the house, when baking I now use coconut oil in any recipe that calls for vegetable oil. When cooking, coconut oil may be used in place of butter or other oils in temperatures up to 350 degrees. I most commonly use coconut oil when cooking eggs or popcorn. As a result of this healthy replacement, my “good” cholesterol went up and my “bad” went down as of my last cholesterol screening in October.
Coconut oil has many uses for the skin and hair as well. It is a popular ingredient in many homemade natural products. I use it daily as a facial moisturizer (as an added bonus, it is naturally an SPF of 4). I use it as a moisturizing body lotion, as a replacement for chapstick, and I have recently started using it for oil pulling. For more information on oil pulling, check out this article. There are so many more uses for coconut oil. Check out Wellness Mama’s great list of 101 uses here.
Coconut oil is a solid at room temperature. It naturally melts and becomes a liquid at 76 degrees Fahrenheit. When it cools back down, it returns to a solid.
Check out Coconutoil.com for the most up-to-date research on the benefits of coconut oil.
For more in-depth information about all I’ve mentioned in this article and more, including some really great recipes, check out “Lucy Bee’s Definitive Guide to Coconut Oil.”