You will laugh when I tell you this, but we literally have coconut oil in every room in our house. Ok, not EVERY room, but almost. We have a jar in the kitchen, our bathroom and our son’s bedroom. Now let me explain myself. Coconut oil has multiple benefits. Not only is it an amazing oil to cook with, which I’ll get into, but it also supports good thyroid function, radiant skin, heart health, and even weight loss.
Over the last 60 years, the majority of the health care industry and the media have been telling us saturated fats are bad for our health and lead to a host of negative consequences, including high cholesterol, obesity, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Meanwhile during this same 60 years, the American levels of heart disease, obesity, elevated cholesterol levels and Alzheimer’s have skyrocketed. Did you know that multiple studies on Pacific Island populations who get 30-60% of their total caloric intake from fully saturated coconut oil have all shown nearly non-existent rates of cardiovascular disease? The fact is, all saturated fats are not created equal. The key word here is “created,” because some saturated fats occur naturally, while other fats are artificially manipulated into a saturated state through the man-made process of hydrogenation. Avoid hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils at all cost!! They are terrible for you!
Nearly 50% of the fat in coconut oil is of a type rarely found in nature called lauric acid, a “miracle” compound because of its unique health promoting properties. Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Coconut oil is also nature’s richest source of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs or MCTs). By contrast, most common vegetable or seed oils are composed of long chain fatty acids (LCFAs or LCTs). LCTs are large molecules, so they are difficult for your body to break down and are predominantly stored as fat. But MCTs , being smaller, are easily digested and immediately burned by your liver for energy. MCTs actually boost your metabolism and help your body use fat for energy, as opposed to storing it, so it can actually help you become leaner.
We used to cook exclusively with olive oil, until I found out that it is not intended for high heat cooking. Due to its chemical structure, heat makes olive oil susceptible to oxidative damage. It is however the best source of monounsaturated fat and should be used unheated as in salad dressings or drizzled on foods. There is only one oil that is stable enough to withstand the heat of cooking, and that’s coconut oil. So, do yourself a favor and replace all your old cooking oils with a big jar of organic, heart-supporting coconut oil!
Now lets talk about the benefits for your skin. Coconut oil is an excellent skin conditioner containing naturally occurring fats that deeply penetrate, moisturize and act as a protective barrier against environmental and free radical damage. The oil also provides sun protection by screening 20 percent of ultraviolet exposure. Coconut oil is rich in anti-oxidants and bursting with natural microbial and antibacterial agents. Its ability to smooth the skin while infusing it with anti-oxidants makes it a perfect anti-aging moisturizer. It also contains vitamin E, another antioxidant popular for aiding in the recovery of skin abrasions, burns and other trauma.
I smothered it on my belly, breasts and hips every night before bed when I was pregnant to help prevent stretch marks. I didn’t get any, but who really knows if it was all genetics or if my coconut oil rub downs helped. I also use it on my face at night. I used to cringe at the thought of putting oil on my face and body, but I have since realized that the more hydrated my skin is, the less I actually breakout! Coconut oil will not make you breakout, unless you have some kind of allergy.
Lastly, I use it on my little guy. If he ever gets a cut or a weird little rash or eczema, I just rub some on. Also, after his bath, I give him a little coconut oil massage before putting his jammies on (We’ve been doing it since he was a newborn). We both enjoy this relaxing routine and afterwards he smells like a delicious pina colada! Yum!
Note: Make sure you are buying an organic, raw, virgin or extra virgin, unrefined coconut oil. You can find this at your local health food store, but read the labels carefully. Also, fyi, a little goes a long way.