Follow enough health and beauty journals, and you could easily find yourself wondering, “is there anything coconut cannot do?” If you want the full story about this miracle fruit, our friends at An Organic Conversation have an interview with the foremost expert on coconut, Dr. Bruce Fife of the Coconut Research Center.
But if you’re just looking for the white paper on this beneficial ingredient used from the kitchen to your bath cabinet, we’ve got you covered. Read on. And, spoiler alert: coconut is everything it’s cracked up to be.
Coconut oil possesses potent enzymes and nutrients that have been used for centuries to heal and nourish the body, skin, and hair. Here’s what you need to know:
Nearly 60% of coconut's fatty acids are lauric acid and caprylic acid, powerful antimicrobial, antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal agents.
These fatty acids are medium-chain, a particularly usuable form of fat that can be burned almost entirely for energy and which promotes weightloss by helping unlock and burn stored fat in the body.
Coconut is an antioxidant, making it beneficial inside and outside the body against oxidative stress and signs of aging.
Coconut has hydrating, emollient and elasticizing properties which counter formation of wrinkles and strengthen hair.
Coconut soothes & conditions the skin, maintaining softness while nourishing and calming.
Coconuts are a sustainable crop and are predominantly grown without chemical fertilizers.
Now for the fun part: 50 ways you can start using coconut oil right now for health and beauty. These are our favorite, delicious, and gorgeous tips with coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut water, and coconut meat:
- Saute with coconut oil instead of olive oil
- Roast with coconut oil instead of olive oil…
- ...ESPECIALLY mushrooms. Yum.
- Melt over popcorn instead of butter
- Replace butter with coconut oil in baking; they’re both saturated fats that are solid at room temperature
- Add healthy fat to your smoothie with coconut oil or coconut milk
- Add electrolytes to your smoothie with coconut water
- Drink coconut water as a hydrating post-workout beverage (electrolytes and potassium!)
- Use coconut oil in place of egg whites in chocolate mousse
- Chill coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight, scoop out the coconut cream on top, then whip for a non-dairy whipped cream
- Coconut flour makes a great gluten-free and paleo-friendly flour alternative
- Use coconut milk as a non-dairy alternative in your coffee…
- ...or try the metabolism-boosting coffee craze of putting coconut oil in your coffee (blended, not stirred)
- No-Bake Macaroons in 6 ingredients: 3 cups coconut flakes, ⅓ cup melted coconut oil, 1 cup cocoa powder, 1 cup maple syrup, vanilla and sea salt to taste; freeze; devour.
- Make dairy-free chocolate ganache with full-fat coconut milk instead of heavy cream
- Quick Curry: simmer 1 ½ cups of coconut milk with 2 tablespoons of curry powder and sea salt to taste; serve over rice and vegetables
- Quick Omega-3 Pudding: 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed, ½ cup coconut milk, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, stevia to taste and a pinch of sea salt
- Spread coconut oil on your toast instead of butter; layer with jam or nut butter
- Stir coconut oil or coconut milk into your oatmeal
- Coconut Milk Hot Chocolate. Need I say more?
- For adventurous spirits, crack into a young Thai coconut and blend the fresh coconut meat with cocoa powder, vanilla, and sea salt for a healthful chocolate pudding
- Finally learn how to make Thai Coconut Soup. Essential: coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, ginger, and chili. Veggies are up to you.
- Hands-down one of the best savory breakfasts when sauteed with coconut oil: Poached Eggs with Sauteed Greens and Mushrooms
- For sweet breakfast lovers, spread coconut oil over pancakes or waffles and top with maple syrup
- Frozen dessert: place 1 medium-sized baked sweet potato and 1 cup coconut milk in food processor with desired sweetener to taste; puree and freeze.
*coconut oil unless otherwise noted
- Face Moisturizer; supermodel and raw foodist Carol Alt swears by this
- Body Moisturizer; especially for rough spots like elbows, knees, and heels
- Makeup Remover
- Moisturizing Mud Mask; combine coconut oil and clay
- Eye Cream
- Lip Balm
- Deep Conditioning Hair Mask; try with either coconut oil or coconut milk
- Moisturize Split Ends of Hair
- Hair Smoothing Serum, Frizz Control, or Shine Booster
- Hair Detangler
- Shaving Balm; no need to moisturize afterwards!
- Aftershave; soothes skins and prevents razor burn
- Cuticle Oil; stimulates nail growth and eliminates skin peeling
- Deodorant; combine coconut oil, arrowroot powder and baking soda
- Massage Oil; just add your favorite essential oils for a sensory experience
- Make your essential oil perfumes last longer; apply over a base of coconut oil; it doesn’t evaporate as quickly and helps the scent better fix to your skin
- Gentle DIY Moisturizing Exfoliator; combine coconut oil and ground coconut flakes
- Whitening Toothpaste; combine coconut oil and baking soda
- Breath Freshener; combine coconut oil and peppermint oil (antimicrobial, remember?)
- Oil Pulling: an ancient Ayurvedic tradition that promotes body detox by reducing bacteria in the mouth; swish 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth for 15-20 minutes, then spit into trash can.
- Insect Repellent; apply coconut oil to skin and hair; mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas don’t tolerate the smell, and it makes it harder for them to stay on your skin.
- Decongestant; combine coconut oil and eucalyptus essential oil, then rub on chest and breathe deep
- Blemish Spot Treatment (antibacterial, remember?)
- Protect and heal minor cuts and scrapes
- Proven to reduce dark spots, even discolored skin, and fade stretch marks
Credo Beauty has over 70 products featuring coconut. Check out a few favorites below, or browse a larger list here.
Host of An Organic Conversation
Contributing Editor for Credo Beauty