I and my family have been using coconut oil for several months now as a beauty product and have found it to have the following benefits:-
- As a moisturiser it combats dry skin and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- A gentle but powerful skin cleanser, it gently dissolves dirt, make-up and impurities. Massage half a teaspoon into the skin and wash off with warm water.
- Due to its regenerative effects, it is an excellent all-round skin healer. Try it on cuts, grazes and wounds.
- As a lip balm to nourish and soften the lips.
- A dramatic reduction in rosacea flare-ups.
- Provides immediate relief from the itching of a shaving rash.
- Relieves eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis. We used it on a flaking scalp – apply at night, wash out in the morning and the flaking is gone.
- Relieves patches of dry skin on knees, heels and elbows.
- Smoothes and softens hair when applied as a conditioner. There was less frizz and less straightening was required. Apply to the ends to treat fly-away hair.
The healing, antibacterial, cleansing and regenerative properties of coconut oil make it ideal for topical use. It is not laden with chemicals so is gentle on the skin and safe for everyone to use. Many facial skin care products are made from harsh chemicals and contain large amounts of alcohol which will strip the skin of its natural oils, resulting in the skin producing more oil to compensate for the loss which leads to clogged pores and acne. Coconut oil gently removes even the heaviest make-up without stripping the skin of its natural oils.
My own research on line has found many amazing health benefits of coconut oil. The general guideline is to take 3 tablespoons a day. Coconut oil is one of the good fats and is easy to digest for those with gall bladder problems. It does not cause heart disease and does in fact protect against it.
- Stimulates thyroid function and combats hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid). Symptoms of an under-active thyroid are low body temperature, cold hands and feet, sensitivity to cold and feeling cold all the time, headaches, insomnia, dry skin, puffy eyes, hair loss, brittle nails, aching joints, constipation, fatigue, hoarse voice, dizziness, ringing in ears, loss of libido, weight gain, mental fog and low mood.
- Its antiseptic, microbial properties help fight viral and bacterial infections. The lauric acid in coconut oil also fights yeast and fungi.
- Lowers cholesterol. People living in tropical environments who consume large amounts of coconut oil experience far less heart disease than those living in the West.
- Helps combat diseases associated with ageing and chronic degenerative diseases including cancer.
- Regulates blood sugar levels so helps prevent, control and manage diabetes.
- Controls hunger and cravings and promotes weight loss. Its medium chain fatty acids promote thermogenesis, leading to increased metabolic rates.
- Promotes brain health and is beneficial in cases of Alzheimers due to the high level of good HDL cholesterol which is required for the proper functioning of the synapses in the brain.
I have also tried coconut water which contains more potassium than a banana and is excellent for rehydration. An excellent choice of drink in the current hot weather!
Cooking with Coconut Oil
Coconut oil can be used in cooking and baking, replacing other oils or margarines.
Try roasting potatoes in coconut oil – they taste delicious!
Saute or stir fry seasonal veg in coconut oil such as carrots, courgettes, peppers and mushrooms.
Add to smoothies, fruit salads and yoghurt.
There are many recipes available on line but here is something simple and delicious for you to try:
Raw Chocolate Cream Caramel Bars
Crust: 1 cup almonds, cashews or peanuts, 1 cup dates, Pinch of salt (optional)
Caramel: 1/2 cup cashew butter, 1/2 cup coconut oil, 1 cup dates
Chocolate cream: 1/3 cup coconut oil, 2-3 tablespoons cacao powder, 1/4 cup raw honey
Method: To make the crust: process the almonds or other nuts into flour in your food processor, then add the dates and process until it all begins to stick together. Press into the bottom of a lined baking pan and refrigerate. To make both the caramel and mocha layers: just blend the ingredients in each list until smooth. Feel free to add other flavours like vanilla, chili, ginger, etc. Spread the caramel onto your crust, followed by the chocolate cream. Refrigerate for a couple of hours until completely set.
- Coconut oil is available from Little London Herbal Stores, 9 Kings Walk, Nottingham, NG1 2AE. Little London stock 3 different brands (Veridian, Optima and Biona) ranging in price from £11-£15 for a 500ml jar. Tel (0115) 9472854 or visit http://www.all-ages-vitamins.co.uk
- Coconut water is available from Waitrose.
- More information on coconut oil can be found at www.coconutoil.com or visit youtube.com Dr Bruce Fife on the benefits of coconut oil.
Helen Shortland is a Holistic Therapist, Reiki Master Teacher and Meditation Teacher based at Little London Herbal Stores on Kings Walk in Nottingham city centre. Please visit her website http://helenshortland.com for further information.