The Benefits of Coconut Oil


benefits-of-coconut-oilI have been going on and on about my unabashed coconut oil use and the myriad benefits of coconut oil to the point where everyone (including my husband) thinks I’m nuts! Yes, I’ve been smelling like a coconut for months now, and decided it was about time I filled everyone in on my little secret. This stuff is good for pretty much everything! As my dear friend pointed out, “you’re like the guy in My Big Fat Greek Wedding who uses Windex for everything!”  I haven’t seen the movie, but I suspect she’s right. And now she’s almost as obsessed with it as I am!

Since you’re probably a busy mommy like me, I’ll give you the executive summary before I get into the many uses of coconut oil.

Why is coconut oil so good for you? In addition its nutritional value (healthy fat content), coconut oil contains a large quantity of lauric acid, which helps the body fight bacteria, viruses and fungi.  Lauric acid is also found in – you guessed it – breast milk!  That’s why breast milk is also a great natural and effective remedy for eye infections, scrapes, etc. Here’s a great article from the Huffington Post (written by a doctor) that gets into different types of fats and why the fats found in coconut oil are actually good for you.

What kind of coconut oil should I buy? Organic unrefined (virgin) cold pressed coconut oil.  It will have a coconutty smell.  Refined coconut oil may be cheaper (and won’t smell of coconut), but it has lost many of its unique properties during processing, and it has been bleached.

benefits-of-coconut-oilWhere can I buy it? I buy pretty much everything on Amazon, including my Nutiva coconut oil.  You can also find it at Costco, or at your local health food store.

There, that was easy!

So, here is my personal list of top uses for coconut oil:

1. Skin moisturizer (for both Olivia and I).  You can use coconut oil to moisturize your entire body, including your face! I leave it on my face overnight and while you’d think it makes it greasy, it doesn’t! And it doesn’t stain sheets/pillowcases.

2. Hair conditioner/deep conditioning mask. Be careful not to use too much!  Use your fingers to comb about 1/2 of a teaspoon through your hair.  Leave in for 10-15 minutes and wash out.

3. Lip balm.

4. Eye makeup remover.

5. Massage oil (again, good for mommy and baby).

6. Diaper rash cream. This cleared up a mild diaper rash just as well as Desitin!

7. Cradle cap. Rub a dime-sized dollop on baby’s scalp, let it sit for a few minutes, and use a fine tooth baby comb to remove the dried skin.

8. A natural alternative to Bacitracin. I put this on a small cut I had on my hand overnight and it was almost gone in the morning. I’m still in shock about this one.

9. Cold remedy. Okay, this one is also pretty unbelievable but I can attest to it.  I mixed a teaspoon of coconut oil into a cup of hot chamomile tea when I felt a cold coming on.  I had that tight lump in my throat, body aches and everything.  The next day, I was totally fine.  Believe it or not, while it’s certainly a bit oily, it didn’t taste half bad.  Hubby thinks I’m really weird most of the time, but even he gave this a shot recently.

10. Cooking. One of my favorite super-simple recipes is sweet potato fries baked using coconut oil.  Cut sweet potatoes into fries, toss with a tablespoon of coconut oil, and bake at 350 until soft. OMG YUM.  Olivia loves them also.

At home, I have one 15 oz jar of coconut oil in the kitchen, and another in the bathroom. On the go, I put some coconut oil in empty sample jars from Sephora, and keep one in my diaper bag, the other in my purse.

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