Coconut oil has soared in popularity over the last few years.

It’s surprising, because not long ago coconut oil was on the nutritional hit list as a definite no-no. The reason? It had the unenviable status as a member of the nefarious saturated fats gang.

But today it seems the tide may be turning on the 60 year war on saturated fats – e.g. some emerging research seems to suggest that they – at least some of them (‘saturated fat’ refers to a group of compounds) – may have been wrongfully maligned.

Now the controversial debate whether saturated fats are good for you or not rages ever on, with supporting scientific studies (and adherents) for both sides. It seems like the sensible option, at least for the time being, is moderation.

If you do consume coconut oil, remember that because it is a fat (and remember, fat doesn’t make you fat) it is very calorific.

In other words, if you want to be lean, don’t eat a whole tub.

Fortunately, you can do a lot more with coconut oil than simply eat it, and that’s what makes it so interesting.

Choosing a Good Coconut Oil

Before you go rushing off to pick up some coconut oil of your own, know that not all coconut oils are equal – there are a few things you want to look out for before you buy:

  1. Virgin or extra-virgin

    Virgin (or extra-virgin) simply means it has not been refined, and is thought to offer the most health benefits. It usually has a wonderful coconut aroma and taste and is typically made from fresh coconuts, whereas refined coconut oil has almost no coconut taste or aroma and is made from the dried kernel of the coconut (copra).

  2. Organic

    As with your fruit and vegetables, the fewer pesticides the coconuts have been exposed to the healthier the end product.

  3. Raw

    Although coconut oil itself though has a very high smoking point, the less heat used in the extraction process the better since it is less likely to destroy beneficial nutrients.

  4. Cold pressed

    Uses an mechanical extraction process (as opposed to a chemical one) in a heat controlled environment so it stays as close to raw as possible.

  5. Dedicated factory

    If the coconut oil is produced in a factory which only produces coconut oil it means you will be much less likely to have cross contamination issues with other products.

  6. Glass container / BPA-free container

The points above are for an idea coconut oil; however, if you can’t get all those boxes checked, a good minimum to aim for would be:

  • Organic
  • Virgin
  • Expeller pressed

Recommended Brands of Coconut Oil

40 Amazing Uses for Coconut Oil

So you’ve bought yourself some coconut oil, now you want to know what you can do with it, try some of these on for size:

  1. Energy-boosting supplement

  2. In your smoothies for taste and energy

  3. Add it to your diet to get more omega-6 fats

  4. Improve the absorption of vitamins and fat-soluble nutrients

  5. Potentially speed up belly-fat loss.

  6. Butter and vegetable oil replacement for cooking or baking

  7. Give a frying pan a non-stick coating

  8. Cooking at high heat due to its high smoking point

  9. Popcorn!

  10. Give your drinks a coconut flavor

  11. As a spread on your toast

  12. Overnight conditioner to make your hair shine

  13. Moisturise your face and body

  14. Remove makeup

  15. Combine with baking soda to use as toothpaste

  16. Lip balm

  17. Reduce damage of hair dye

  18. Shaving lotion

  19. Hair defrizzer and static remover

  20. Help strengthen hair

  21. Combine with sugar or salt crystals for a body scrub

  22. Night cream

  23. Reduce the appearance of oily skin

  24. Wrinkle prevention and reduction

  25. Fade skin blemishes

  26. Lubricant for the sexy time (probably not condom friendly)

  27. Massage oil

  28. Soothe sunburn

  29. Possibly improve blood pressure

  30. Reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks

  31. Could help combat tooth decay due to natural antibiotic properties

  32. Help treat eczema

  33. Potentially help ease Alzheimer’s

  34. Soften dry feet and elbows

  35. Oil pulling for fresher breath

  36. Dogs and cats love to eat it

  37. Polish leather shoes and wood furniture

  38. Insect repellent

  39. Replacement for WD-40

  40. Remove stickers and (gum from hair!)

Those are just a handful of the things you can do with coconut oil, and while it’s not miracle cure and seems to be getting a lot of – perhaps – undeserved hype right now; there’s one thing you’ve got to admit: it’s very versatile.

It’s clear though, for some of the more of spectacular claims (such as helping with Alzheimer’s) more studies will need to be done before it’s accepted as science.

Love coconut oil? What do you use it for? Let us know in the comments.

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  • Margaret Rogers

    I use it on my skin and hair but I will be trying some of the other uses as well!

    • Great! It seems like you can use it for just about everything!

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