Coconut Oil Benefits That Can Make Your Life Better

Posted: Updated:

Is coconut oil good for you? That depends on who you talk to.

Superfood enthusiasts love the product, which has been used as skin moisturizer, cooking oil and as an ingredient in baked goods. They tout its ability to fight viruses, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, high blood pressure and much more.

But it isn't quite gaining full acceptance among medical experts. Coconut oil is more than 90 per cent saturated fat, which is generally considered a "bad" fat that increases cholesterol levels. In the Cleveland Clinic's comparison of olive oil vs. coconut oil, olive oil came out definitively on top for heart health.

Supporters, however, say that its saturated fat content isn't all bad. Medium-chain fatty acids make up about half of coconut oil's saturated fat, and those are easier to digest than long-chain fatty acids that you find in butter and other oils, but more study is certainly needed.

Though the debate around its healthy qualities persists, coconut oil's proponents have nevertheless found innovative ways to incorporate it into their lifestyles.

Here are several ways that coconut oil has been used to make people's lives better:

  • Oil Pulling
    Getty Images
    Tired of Listerine? Try oil pulling!

    Using coconut oil instead of mouthwash is believed to do a better job of getting rid of plaque and other bacteria in our mouths, and boosting the immune system overall.
  • Moisturizer
    Getty Images
    Coconut oil works better on the skin than some commercial moisturizers because many major brands use petroleum-based chemicals that can suffocate the skin, says celebrity nutritionist Kimberly Snyder. The oil strengthens tissues and removes excessive dead cells on the skin's surface that can make it dry and rough.
  • Stimulating Hair Growth
    Getty Images
    Coconut oil can help hair grow long, strong and healthy. It also helps keep the hair shiny, says Palmer's, which produces its own coconut oil formula.
  • Coffee Creamer
    Getty Images
    Coconut oil works great in coffee if you do it correctly, writes Becca Ludlum at My Crazy Good Life.

    First, you make a cup of coffee, then pour half into a blender or a frother. Add one to two tablespoons of coconut oil, milk, and five to seven scoops of Stevia. Then froth and blend.

    According to Ludlum, you'll end up with a delicious latte.
  • Salad Dressing
    Getty Images
    Coconut oil can also make a good salad dressing. Epicurious has a recipe for a sweet maple and coconut dressing that combines coconut and olive oil, maple syrup, dijon mustard, sesame seeds and more.
  • It's Better than Butter
    Getty Images
    Coconut oil can be used in the same way that you might use dairy butter or vegetable oil, says Artisana Organic Foods. You can spread it on toast, use it to cook food on the stove and even try it in place of vegetable oil when baking.

    It's better than butter and trans fats, Penny Kris-Etherton, a cardiovascular nutrition researcher, told Web MD, though she warned that it's not better than vegetable oils.
  • In Smoothies
    Getty Images
    The Smoothie Recipe Handbook has several ideas for using coconut oil in your favourite blended drinks.
    To avoid clumping, notes Wellness Mama, melt the oil slightly and add slowly as the smoothie is being blended.
  • In The Bath
    Getty Images
    Nohona Products promotes its coconut oil as an all-over body moisturizer. It recommends adding a little bit to your bathwater to help heal ailments such as burns and rashes.
  • For Eczema
    Shutterstock
    The National Eczema Association in the United States has seen coconut oil work effectively to treat the skin condition.

    Heidi Carolan from England reported a massive improvement in her son's skin after using coconut oil and soap nuts. She said the oil is lovely on his skin and easy to apply without much touching or rubbing, which can further irritate the condition.
  • Cuticle Oil
    Getty Images
    Problems with hangnails? Try coconut oil! It helps to soften cuticles and moisturize hands, says dermatologist and author Dr. Ava Shamban.
  • In Curries
    Getty Images
    Coconut oil makes a great addition to many curry recipes, giving Indian dishes a dash of extra flavour, BBC reports.
  • For Baking Cookies
    Getty Images
    Yes, you can even use it in cookies. It can enhance flavours, and if you use refined coconut oil, you can make chocolate chip cookies that taste just like the regular kind, says the Culinary Couture Blog.
  • Frying Eggs
    Getty Images
    Coat the bottom of a skillet with coconut oil to create a non-stick surface, then crack a couple of eggs to ensure they have an extra coating of flavour, says Swanson Health Products.
  • Add to Oatmeal
    Getty Images
    Coconut oil adds a "buttery richness" to oatmeal, writes Anjali Malhotra at the Perfect Morsel blog. It tastes great AND it's healthy.
  • On Popcorn
    Getty Images
    Who needs butter on your popcorn when you can use a healthier alternative? You can either heat coconut oil on your stove (being careful, of course) and pop kernels in it, or air pop your kernels and toss them in two tablespoons of coconut oil.
  • Sunscreen
    Getty Images
    Coconut oil was the original sunscreen, says the Coconut Research Center. It doesn't block UV rays like other sunscreens do: it lets in beneficial UV rays, the kind that allow for some natural vitamin D. For those coming out of winter with very pale skin, though, we'd suggest getting some SPF on you as well.
  • For Stretch Marks
    Getty Images
    Coconut oil can help make stretch marks from weight loss and gain, pregnancy or even just growing go away. It has moisturizing properties and antioxidants that can nourish the skin, says EarlyCare.org.
Like this article? Follow our Facebook page
On Pinterest? Check us out! HuffPost Canada Living Or follow us on Twitter

Also on HuffPost:

Close
11 Things You Should Know About Coconut Oil
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

Suggest a correction

Around the Web

Top 10 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Coconutoil.com - Research on Coconut Oil's Health Benefits

The Surprising Health Benefits of Coconut Oil | The Dr. Oz Show

Coconut Oil Uses & Your Health - WebMD

Trading Crest for coconut oil: First-hand account of oil-pulling

Is coconut oil a healthy choice or not?

Consumers going nuts over coconut oil