Extracted from the meat of mature coconuts, coconut oil is a very nifty ingredient that has numerous benefits for inside and outside the body. Google it and you’ll find numerous websites listing 101+ uses for it. But what is all the fuss about?
Coconut oil contains very high levels of lauric acid which is quite a rare substance to find in nature, the other major source is breast milk. This fat gives coconut oil strong anti-microbial, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, making it a tonic for many health concerns as well as a general well-being champion. Capric acid is another fatty acid found within coconut oil and adds more anti-microbial power.
Coconut oil is one of the richest sources of saturated fat, something once thought detrimental to our health, but now welcomed by many. The fats within coconut oil are Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) and are broken down more easily (than long chained ones found in other plant oils for example) and in a different way. They go straight to the liver after digestion where they are used as instant energy or made into energy supplies known as ketones. Amongst many things these ketones can feed the brain and have been linked to helping people with Alzheimers and other brain disorders. Saturated fat is often linked to cholesterol levels, however coconut oil is a natural saturated fat as opposed to heavily processed hydrogenated fats, and it can actually help reduce bad cholesterol and increase the good stuff. We do actually need a little cholesterol. Coconut oil can also help with weight loss and diseases such as diabetes to name just a few more of its health benefits.
So coconut oil is a great ingredient for your kitchen cupboard, but it is also just as comfortable sitting on your bathroom shelf. Use it as a gentle make-up remover and also as a moisturiser on the face and the body. It will hydrate but also help with inflammation and its anti-bacterial properties can help with many skin concerns. It can be amazing for acne prone skins however there are those who say it can exacerbate the problem – like anything all skins are different so just try a little bit first if you’re concerned.
Coconut Oil also contains antioxidants, including high levels of Vitamin E so is good for healing skin. It is great on its own but we think even better blended in with other plant oils and butters. It will help essential moisture and nourishment travel right down to where it is needed.
Not all Coconut Oils were created equal however. To get the full benefits choose ones that are virgin, organic and cold pressed otherwise most of the goodness is lost during the processing.
What do you think – are you a coconut oil devotee?