How using Coconut oil has changed my life
Growing up, coconut oil has always been a staple in beauty and food amongst my family, so much so, that every time I smell coconut oil, all I can think of is the smell of my granny. She rubs this oil on her hair and scalp after every wash and almost every second day. It's a tradition of hers, everywhere she went and wherever she placed her head, smelt of coconut oil. This smell travelled with me through my childhood and something I knew was good for you.
Today, I use coconut oil, in all forms, to do most of my cooking and in my beauty regimes. I have found that using this product in its natural state not only protects your skin and body from harmful ingredients used in other beauty and cooking products but, it also provides the best results.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW?
Apart from the very distinct smell of using coconut oil (there are odourless options), the benefits are evident and you can rest easy that you are using the best for your body and skin.
In essence, Coconut oil is a highly saturated oil that is traditionally made by extracting the oil from raw coconuts or dried coconut kernels. It is widely known and marketed as a superfood making it rich in medium-chain fatty acids, which are a form of saturated fat. In fact, these medium-chain fatty acids make up about 65% of its total composition.
It has also been reported that the fatty acids found in coconut oil have antimicrobial properties that effectively kill bacteria and fungi. Animal studies have shown that coconut oil may relieve inflammation by improving antioxidant status and decreasing oxidative stress. The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of coconut oil and its components could help treat acne.
HOW I USE MY COCONUT OIL?
SKIN & BODY
I use my oils all year round but mostly in Winter for my dry and sensitive skin. Very few moisturisers actually assist in moisturising my skin and keeping it moisturised throughout the day in cold conditions.
I have started massaging a small amount onto my skin every night before I apply my night cream as well as mixing a tiny bit into my day cream. This small addition leaves my skin supple and soft, but also moisturised and free of flaky areas.
I also suffer with eczema on my arms and feet. In Winter, these dry patches become unbearable with the skin becoming inflamed, dry and spreading in and around the area. In conjunction with my ointment I also rub melted coconut oil onto the area massaging it in with a cotton pad. I don't use my hands because my hands carry germs and sometimes that can irritate the area. The hot oil and the massaging calms the inflammation, redness and decreases the dryness.
If you have oily skin you might want to avoid using this oil directly on your skin as it may block pores and cause blackheads. Additionally, if you have sensitive skin, use a small amount or try applying it only to a small section of your skin to make sure it doesn't cause irritation or blocked pores. That said, if you have oily or highly sensitive skin, consider adding coconut oil to your diet instead to take advantage of its benefits.
DIY BEAUTY & HAIR
I also use coconut oil in homemade sugar scrubs for my body, due to its moisturising and anti-inflammatory benefits. It's a staple ingredient for DIY beauty masks and scrubs, as well as being gentle and beneficial.
Coconut oil can also be used in your hair. It is known to protect your hair from damage and breakage. Again, if you have oily hair this might increase the oil production and leave you with VERY oily hair. I have oily hair but I still use this in my hair because it strengthens my strands, from the root to the tip, and leaves the overall look of my hair shiny and rich. I would rather have healthy hair than oil-free hair, so I use it anyway.
Since being introduced to coconut oil for cooking by my Mum, I tend to reach for it more than I reach for my Sunflower oil. Some of the brands do leave a slight coconut taste behind in the food, but its nothing overwhelming and too distinct.
I have even started drinking coconut water, in conjunction with normal H20 and using coconut cream in most of my gourmet dishes at home, in pastas and even curries.
Coconut oil can be used to make vegetables, curries, meat, as well as in some baking options. Virgin coconut oil may be a better choice than refined coconut oil, given that it provides added health benefits like improved antioxidant status. As with most things, trial and error may be the best approach to determine if coconut oil works for you. Yet, eating and cooking with coconut oil is generally not a problem for most people.
Overall, the less processed a food is, the more likely it is to offer health benefits, and the same is probably true of coconut oil. Extra virgin coconut oil comes from the fruit of fresh, mature coconuts. Processing does not involve high temperatures or added chemicals. People who choose to use coconut oil should opt for the least processed type.
In moving towards living a healthier lifestyle, I am gradually trying to find organic alternatives to some of the necessities in my life, such as cooking oil and beauty products.
I am not saying that this is a magic product, people have been using coconut oil for decades and it is a product that is still used widely used all over the world, all I am saying is that, I am introducing it into more areas of life, using it safely and in its natural form more for more than one requirement. It's also great for saving money, especially in a time like now, you can use this product for several different needs, and a little goes a long way.
Its variety offering leaves me needing less in my life in order to do what I need to do.