40 Uses For Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has many uses – I first became familiar with coconut oil and its many uses while nursing our oldest son. Our family chiropractor recommended I eat 3-4 tablespoons of it daily with vitamin D to increase the fat content of my breast milk, and to help aid in some of his reflux issues – bah, whaaaaat? I thought, “You want me to eat oil” – disgusting! Much to my surprise, I did it! It is truly amazing what we won’t do for our kids. Not only did I do it, of course like everything, I had to read all about it and, as my mom says, I nearly take a bath in the stuff now. Did you know a little added to your bath will help hydrate your skin?
What to look for; Refined versus Unrefined
Unrefined Coconut Oil – (aka virgin or extra-virgin) it has not been altered or changed – it is in its purest, natural, least processed form. Unrefined coconut oil is superior to all of its refined oil counterparts as its nutritional value far exceeds the rest. It will however, have a mild coconut flavor to it.
Refined Coconut Oil- Although close in comparison, refined coconut oil is colorless, tasteless and odorless. This process involves flakes of coconut being chemically processed – bleached and deodorized. It still contains many of the healthy living properties as its unrefined counterpart however, as you might suspect some of the nutritional content is lost in the refining process.
Cold-pressed, expeller-pressed, and centrifuged coconut oil –This simply explains the method used to extract the oil from the coconut (whether it is dry or fresh) and all three methods can be used whether the final product is unrefined or refined. The great news is that with the growing popularity of coconut oil you can pretty much find it everywhere from the local health food store, Amazon, to the gigantic warehouse stores – just be sure to read exactly which you are buying and how it is processed.
How to store coconut oil – whether you choose to store your coconut oil in the refrigerator or not, is really a matter of personal preference-we store ours in our pantry (in the cool basement) as it can last for up to two years without going rancid. When cold, coconut oil will solidify (below 70 degrees) and when warm, (above 75 degrees) it will liquefy – so just be mindful of this depending on what your intended use is.
Uses for Coconut Oil
1. Coconut oil is a great moisturizer – Many beauty products contain water and petroleum based ingredients. When the water dries, it makes your skin dry too. Petroleum based ingredients simply suffocate your skin. The coconut oil locks in moisture, clears away dead skin cells and leaves the skin with a natural shiny glow. By the way, a little goes a long way – a spoon full is enough to moisturize your entire body so use caution and apply sparingly.
2. Cooking – Coconut oil has a high smoke point making it great for cooking everything from eggs to stir-fry dishes. It is not recommended for deep frying but I have used it several times for pan-fried dishes like our gluten-free pierogi’s and it works great.
3. Butter replacement – It is a wonderful butter replacement on steamed vegetables or for replacing butter on your toast.
4. Natural Deodorant – Coconut oil alone can be used as a natural deodorant, but for added body odor protection when combined with cornstarch / arrowroot powder and baking soda it works a 100xs better than any store bought, chemically laden deodorant. *I have not used an “over the counter” (OTC) deodorant in years and to my knowledge I haven’t offended anyone yet.
5. Natural Sunscreen – Did you know coconut oil has a natural 2-6 SPF range minus all of the chemicals? I am not a Dr. and none of what I share on this sight is meant to be used as medical advice. Use at your own risk – for someone with fair skin an SPF of 2 means they could potentially burn in 20 minutes. What I find coconut oil works best for is that thin, morning sunscreen application, or the winter application when you will not be in the sun all day long. If using as your primary sunscreen – frequent application is recommended.
6. Diaper Cream – A dab on that pesky diaper rash will do wonders – it will help ward off moisture and the antibacterial properties will aid in healing.
7. A natural stretch-mark cream – I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but after having 4 babies I can say that it’s unlikely that your skin will ever be what it once was. That being said however, a little added moisture never does any harm! The nourishing components of coconut oil help repair damaged skin and with a little exercise to tighten those “once tight muscles” you will be looking darn good in no time – it’s not magic but remember you have been given a beautiful gift and you’ve earned those marks.
8. Massage oil – If you have never used coconut oil for a massage, you are missing out. Coconut oil leaves the skin feeling cool, soft and (my personal favorite part) the grease / oil-slick that is often left behind from commercial brand massages oils is literally non-existent. Better yet, there are no harmful chemicals being absorbed through your skin.
9. Calm the hair frizzies – A tiny bit rubbed into your hair is the perfect way to tame the craziness that often comes with humid weather. My hair gets pretty curly when the humidity spikes and I find that a little rubbed through my hair does the trick – a more defined wave without all the crazy “fly-aways” remember, a little goes a long way – if you add too much it may just look like you haven’t showered in days.
10. Natural Chapstick – a tiny finger-tip amount on your lips is the perfect chemical free softener – this is one of my personal favorites. As an added bonus coconut oil has an SPF of about a 2-6 providing a little added sun protection.
11. Try emulsified coconut in your coffee – Did you know that you can blend coconut oil and a bit of grass-fed no salt butter together and use in place of cream in your coffee? I know it sounds nasty, but it really does work. The blending process makes the mixture creamy instead of oily. It is a good way to increase your beneficial fat content.
12. Boost your immune system – Coconut oil has strong anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa properties making it an ideal substance for protecting and strengthening the immune system.
13. Natural foot / body scrub – Mix coconut oil with a little sugar and apply to the soles of your feet, hands and body. Scrub then rinse off and your skin will feel silky smooth. If you are into essential oils this is a great way to add some of your favorite invigorating scents.
14. Itch relief – Apply directly to bug bites or stings to relieve itching and the burning sensation that often accompanies them. The anti-bacterial properties of the coconut oil will aid in the healing process and the thin oil layer will create a protective barrier between the wound, dust and dirt.
15. Growing pains and leg cramps – Coconut oil taken internally, aids in the absorption of calcium and potassium, both which can help with leg cramps. Not to mention a cool coconut massage on the legs smells great and is extremely relaxing.
16. Stop bugging me – insect repellant – Use it as a base mixed with a little peppermint, rosemary, or tea tree oil (I personally like tea tree oil as I find it works the best).
17. Eye Makeup Remover – no more chemical laden eye makeup removers – simple rub a tiny bit over your eyelid and wipe away with a cotton ball or Kleenex. Your vision maybe blurred temporarily but then again don’t most eye removers make the world seem a bit fuzzy for a bit?
18. Cradle cap – We all know how difficult it can be to get rid of those little brown dry splotches on baby’s head – a teaspoon twice a day should do the trick. It will help moisten baby’s scalp (I also like to brush their little head with that super soft baby brush to help loosen it) use a teaspoon daily as a preventative measure after all splotches are gone.
19. Greasing pans – Whether you are baking up a batch of your favorite muffins or coating a 9×13 pan for a dinner casserole, simply coat the inside of the baking dish with a thin layer of oil to prevent sticking. Wearing a kitchen glove, I simply spoon a small amount on the glove and proceed to smear the inside of the dish – voila, slip the glove off and throw it away for a quick clean up.
20. Keep maggots and flies out – Line the inside of the garbage with a coconut and peppermint oil combination.
21. Cough relief – A little essential oil (we typically use eucalyptus or peppermint oil) combined with coconut oil as the carrier – this combination rubbed on your feet or chest can provide great relief for those coughs that make us all crazy.
22. Cuticle care – Rub a small amount on your cuticles before removal to help soften. Regular application can also aid in preventing hangnail.
23. Pre-shaving / Aftershave – Coconut oil will help moisten skin prepping it for shaving, and after it will aid in healing without clogging pores. It works great for those days when the blade is ready for replacement and you get a terrible case of razor burn – ahh, such relief (I might be speaking from experience).
24. Popcorn – Use it to make a batch of popcorn or drizzle some melted coconut oil on top instead of butter.
25. Baking – You can simply replace butter with coconut oil in a 1:1 ratio in most any recipe. My oldest daughter who cannot stand the taste of coconut, rarely busts me when I swap out the two ingredients.
26. Under eye cream – Help keep that delicate under eye area wrinkle free by applying a dab of coconut oil. Use your ring finger as it is the weakest and less likely to pull the skin during application.
27. The DIY Raw Peanut Butter Cup – Think in the lines of a peanut butter cup minus all of the additives. This treat is a healthy fat overdose – perfect for the person who is on a low carb diet or just looking to eat a bit healthier. However, let’s be real – we all crave something sweet sometimes.
28. Improve digestion – Eating a teaspoon at each meal has been known to aid in digestion.
29. Sooth a sore throat – Gargle with some warm water and coconut oil to coat you throat, or better yet, add a little to tea for a calming soothing affect.
30. Animal bad breath – Add a little bit to your dogs’ water bowl to help with that nasty “dog-breath”.
31. Toothpaste – Combine coconut oil with a little baking soda for a fluoride free, all natural toothpaste
32. Oatmeal protein balls – For a quick on- the-go snack, or if you’re looking to satisfy that sweet tooth a bit, keep these in the freezer for those weak moments and you won’t feel as guilty afterwards.
33. Gum and other sticky substance remover – Massage a small amount on the affected area (rug/hair), let sit for a few minutes and rub or gently brush out.
34. Cuts, bruises, and scrapes – Dab a little oil on the injured surface of the skin for a quicker healing process. It will help provide a natural chemical layer keeping dirt, dust and germs out.
35. Smoothies – Blend a little coconut oil into your favorite smoothie recipe for a cool, refreshing, tropical creaminess. Try a strawberry, banana, coconut, chia seed smoothie this afternoon in place of your 3:00PM coffee.
36. Nipple cream during breastfeeding – Coconut oil is a natural, safe alternative to some of the “over the counter” (OTC), chemically laden creams available. A little goes a long way, so if you’re already using coconut oil for other things there is no need to go buy something different in the days / weeks before baby comes.
37. Hair Conditioner – Our oldest daughter has super tangley hair – now, unfortunately she is not a fan of the coconut smell, but this does work great. Simply massage the oil into your scalp and gently throughout your hair. Put your hair in a loose bun and let set overnight. Wash out in the morning for super smooth, tangle and dandruff-free hair.
38. Static Control – A tiny amount rubbed between your hands and then on the staticy
surface will do the trick.
39. Sunburn care – We live outdoors all summer long and for those day when we may have spent a bit too much time in the sun, coconut oil is a great way to add moisture and promote natural healing of the skin.
40. Salad Dressing – for a refreshing and not over-powering salad dressing, combine 1/4 C. Coconut oil, 1T vinegar, 1/2 T raw honey, and a dash of sea salt. Gently whisk over a low medium heat until blended and liquefied. Let cool and toss with your favorite mixed greens.