General Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
In all, coconut oil offers a truly impressive array of health benefits when included in your daily diet. In addition to its antimicrobial properties, coconut oil is beneficial for:
Promoting heart health
Supporting proper thyroid function
Promoting healthy brain function
Strengthening your immune system
Providing an excellent "fuel" for your body and supporting a strong metabolism that can aid in weight loss
Maintaining healthy and youthful looking skin
While coconut oil is an ideal food for fostering health and beauty from the inside out, it also has a staggering number of other uses, from topical beauty applications to first aid treatments, to general household cleaning.2,3 Once you're done reading through this article, you'll probably be inspired to stock up for all eventualities!
Coconut Oil May Help With The Treatment of Different Conditions
Coconut Oil for Mothers and Babies
If you're an expectant mother, various changes will take place in your body. You and your baby can both benefit from coconut oil even before you welcome your child to the world. To help you make your pregnancy as comfortable as possible or assist you in motherhood, here are a few coconut oil uses you can try out:7
Stretch mark treatment. Expectant mothers can use coconut oil as a moisturizer for their stomach to avoid developing stretchmarks during pregnancy. Using coconut oil instead of chemical-based lotions provides you with a safer choice.Topical solution for cracked nipples. Some breastfeeding mothers usually suffer from cracked or sore nipples due to different factors. Applying coconut oil can help in soothing and moisturizing them, without exposing your breastfeeding baby to any harmful chemicals usually found in other moisturizers.Nutrient boost for breastmilk.Studies show that coconut consumption helps in doubling the lauric acid in breastmilk, a healthy fat that would aid your baby's immune system and brain development.8Diaper rash treatment. Because of its antibacterial and antifungal properties, coconut oil may help treat your baby's diaper rash and provide a protective barrier against other bacteria.Natural treatment for cradle cap.Cradle cap is a common condition in babies where their heads start developing dry skin. While it's not uncomfortable for your baby, coconut oil can still be used to minimize the dry scales on your baby's head.
Beauty and Personal Care Uses for Coconut Oil
Makeup remover: Swipe on with a moist cotton ball. Wipe off with clean cotton ball or wet washcloth.
Facial cleanser: Massage a dollop of coconut oil onto face and neck. Wash off with wet washcloth and pat dry.
Body scrub: Mix equal parts coconut oil with organic cane sugar in a glass jar. Use the scrub on dry skin prior to your shower or bath.
Facial scrub: Instead of sugar, mix coconut oil with baking soda, or oatmeal with a dash of cinnamon, for a gentle facial scrub.
Shaving lotion: Apply a thin layer of coconut oil on area to be shaved, and shave as usual. The lauric acid in the coconut oil will also serve as an antiseptic for cuts that result from shaving.
Face and body moisturizer: You can use it either by itself, or add your favorite essential oil. (Make sure you're using a high quality essential oil that is safe for topical application.) The featured article12also suggests whipping the coconut oil with an electric mixer to produce a fluffy moisturizer that stays soft and spreadable even in cooler temperatures.
When applied topically, coconut oil helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by helping to keep your connective tissues strong and supple, and aids in exfoliating the outer layer of dead skin cells, making your skin smoother.
Eye cream: Apply a thin layer of coconut oil around your eyes to soften wrinkles and counteract thinning, sagging skin.
Cuticle cream: Simply rub a small amount of coconut oil around your cuticles to soften dry areas.
Deodorant: Applying a small amount of coconut oil directly onto your armpits can help keep odors at bay, courtesy of the oil's antibacterial properties. If you prefer, you can add a small amount of baking soda, or make a homemade deodorant using coconut oil, baking soda and arrow root powder. For directions, see the second video above.DeliciousObsessions.com also lists additional deodorant recipes using coconut oil as the base.13
Bath soak: Adding coconut oil to your bath can help moisturize dry itchy skin (Make sure to scrub your tub afterward to prevent slipping!). Make sure the water is warmer than 76 degrees Fahrenheit though, otherwise the oil will turn to a solid.
Soap: Coconut oil is one of the base ingredients in many homemade soap recipes, such as this one by NourishingJoy.com14
Lip balm: You can either apply a small amount of coconut oil, as is, or make your own lip balm using coconut oil as one of the base ingredients. You can find all sorts of recipes online, but here's one by The Liberated Kitchen.15
Toothpaste: Mixed with baking soda, coconut oil can replace your regular toothpaste. The baking soda will gently cleanse while the coconut oil's antibacterial action may help keep harmful bacteria in check. For recipes using essential oils to spruce up your toothpaste, see DeliciousObsessions.com.16
Insect repellent: Mixing coconut oil with high-quality essential oils may help keep biting insects at bay when applied to exposed skin. Effective choices include: peppermint, lemon balm, rosemary,tea tree oil, neem, citronella (Java Citronella), geraniol, catnip oil (according to one study,17 catnip oil is 10 times more effective than DEET), and/or clear vanilla oil
Oral Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
As mentioned above, coconut oil mixed with baking soda makes for very simple and inexpensive, yet effective, toothpaste. It's also a great alternative if you want a fluoride-free toothpaste but don't want to spend the extra money, since they tend to cost more than most regular, fluoridated toothpaste brands.
Another oral health technique where I believe coconut oil can be quite beneficial is oil pulling. This technique has significantly reduced my plaque buildup, allowing me to go longer between visits to the dental hygienist. (Adding fermented vegetables to my diet has been another game-changer in my oral health.)
Oil pulling is a practice dating back thousands of years, having originated with Ayurvedic medicine. When oil pulling is combined with the antimicrobial power of coconut oil, I believe it can be a very powerful health tool. Sesame oil is traditionally recommended, but it has relatively high concentration of omega-6 oils. Therefore, I believe coconut oil is far superior, and, in my mind, it tastes better. But from a mechanical and biophysical perspective, it is likely that both work.
Oil pulling involves rinsing your mouth with the oil, much like you would with a mouthwash. The oil is "worked" around your mouth by pushing, pulling, and drawing it through your teeth for a period of 15 minutes. If you are obsessive like me and want even better results, you can go for 30-45 minutes. This process allows the oil to "pull out" bacteria, viruses, fungi and other debris.
The best time is in the morning before eating breakfast, but it can be done at any time. I try to do it twice a day if my schedule allows. When done, spit out the oil and rinse your mouth with water. Avoid swallowing the oil as it will be loaded with bacteria and whatever potential toxins and debris it has pulled out.
When done correctly, oil pulling has a significant cleansing, detoxifying and healing affect, not only for your mouth and sinuses but for the rest of your body as well. Candida and Streptococcus are common residents in your mouth, and these germs and their toxic waste products can contribute to plaque accumulation and tooth decay, in addition to secondary infections and inflammation throughout your body.
Oil pulling may help lessen the overall toxic burden on your immune system by preventing the spread of these organisms from your mouth to the rest of your body, by way of your bloodstream.
14 Surprising Uses for Coconut Oil Around the House
Last but not least, coconut oil can be used for a number of household tasks otherwise relegated to more costly, and potentially toxic, alternatives. Following are 14 creative yet practical uses for this fantastic oil:
1. Clean, condition and sanitize your wooden cutting board. Use whenever the wood starts to look dry.
2. Use when making compost tea21for your garden to reduce foam.
3. Use as a metal polish. Make sure to test a small area first.
4. Moisturize and soften leather goods as you would using other leather conditioners.
5. Season your cast iron pots and pans22 using coconut oil in lieu of lard or corn oil.
6. Lubricate squeaky hinges and sticky mechanisms with coconut oil instead of WD-40.
7. Clean and condition wooden furniture in lieu of furniture polish. Make sure to test a small area first.
8. Lubricate your guitar strings.
9. Clean soap scum from your shower using a small dollop of coconut oil on a damp cloth. Spray the area with white vinegar and wipe dry with a lint-free cloth.
10. Clean your hands and paint brushes with coconut oil after using oil-based paints, in lieu of mineral spirits.
11. Clean and condition the inside of your car by adding a small amount to a soft lint-free cloth. Rub in and wipe off excess.
12. Clean and sanitize your mouth guard by applying a thin layer of coconut oil. Leave the coconut oil on when not in use. Rinse before using.
13. Cleanse and add a glossy finish to indoor plants by wiping the leaves with a small amount of coconut oil on a lint-free cloth.
14. Remove chewing gum from virtually any area, including carpets and hair
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