Ways to use Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is getting a lot of good press these days across health, beauty, and food pages, and for a lot of good reasons: coconut oil is a versatile product with a range of beneficial applications.
Coconut oil falls under two main categories: unrefined (virgin) and refined. Refined coconut oil has been baked and deodorized to remove the coconut flavor and aroma. This reduces the number of polyphenols and medium-chain fatty acids (MCTs); it also means that if you don’t like or want the coconut smell or taste, you can still enjoy the benefits of coconut oil. There are also organic and conventional coconut oils. Organic coconut oil comes from coconuts that are organically grown. Here’s a short list of the benefits derived from organic coconut oil.
On the health front, the polyphenols and MCTs in organic coconut oil offer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Studies have shown that coconut oil may reduce belly fat, promote digestive health (today’s cod liver oil, perhaps), and because it’s quickly absorbed, can increase metabolism (burn calories). There are also indications that coconut oil promotes bone health by neutralizing free radicals. According to Healthline, if you’re taking coconut oil primarily for its health benefits, choose unrefined coconut oil.
Coconut oil works as a natural moisturizer, balm against skin irritation, and as a night cream. Studies have shown that coconut oil significantly reduces protein loss from hair when applied before or after shampooing. The main fatty acid in coconut oil—lauric acid—can penetrate the hair shaft in a way that most other fats can’t, resulting in healthier hair. Coconut oil is also the main ingredient in a DIY natural deodorant.
In the kitchen, refined coconut oil can be used as a butter substitute in most recipes with a 1:1 ratio. It has a high smoke point, which means it holds up well when sautéing or frying.