3 Ways To Use Coconut Oil; And Not Just In Your Food

Use Coconut Oil

I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again: I’m fairly convinced that back squats and coconut oil can save the world. I’ll save my soap-box spiel about back squats another time, but today I’m talking about coconut oil.

Not sure you’re a fan of coconut flavor? Not to worry. There are plenty of ways to benefit from this hugely healthy natural product without having to eat it or use it in your food (though I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t—it’s even delicious by the spoonful!).

Why Coconut Oil Is Considered A Potent Health Elixir For The Ages

Coconut oil is extracted (typically through a mechanical process called cold-pressing) from the kernel or meat of the coconut itself. It’s been used for centuries by cultures all around the world–not surprising when you consider just how good for you this stuff actually is. It offers clear benefits to your skin, nails, and even teeth!

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The secret is what’s in it. Coconut oil is a potent and natural source of:

  • Vitamin E, which is full of anti-aging antioxidants that help fight free radicals and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs), also known as fatty acids, which promote fat loss, weight regulation, and improved blood sugar control
  • Protein, also known as amino acids, which are critical for cellular regeneration and tissue repair

3 Ways To Use Coconut Oil That Doesn’t Involve The Kitchen

coconut oilDon’t get me wrong. Using coconut oil as a cooking oil is an awesome idea. Not only does the oil have a high burning temperature (making it perfect for stir-frying veggies and pan-frying turkey burgers), but it tastes delicious and offers tons of good-for-you benefits when consumed. Heck, I even add a tablespoon of it in my coffee every morning for a metabolism-boosting, fat-burning kick!

  1. Natural makeup remover. The high-fat content of coconut oil naturally attracts dirt, makeup, and sweat, so it’s a gentle and effective way to clean your face. Try putting about a tablespoon of oil in your palm, and rub your hands together to melt it (it’ll be solid at room temperature). Then, simply massage the oil all over your face. Rinse with a gentle soap cleanser to remove any excess oil.
  2. Leave-in hair mask. The small molecules within this oil can easily penetrate your hair follicles, which can improve the smoothness, strength, and shine of your hair. Plus, coconut oil is extremely moisturizing and can relieve signs and symptoms of dandruff or a sunburned scalp.Try rubbing about 2-3 tablespoons in your hair. The amount may vary, depending on how much hair you have. Focusing on the ends of your hair. Leave in for about 20 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with shampoo. Try this once per week.
  3. Teeth whitener. Oil “pulling” is an easy and all-natural method for removing odor and plaque-causing bacteria from your mouth. Believe it or not, it’s actually an effective way to whiten your teeth, too. To do, simply put about a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth (remember, this oil is solid at room temperature, so you’ll have to wait a few seconds for the warmth of your mouth to melt the oil). Swish the oil for about 15-20 minutes, then spit and rinse (I do this at least a couple times a week while I’m getting ready for or even driving to work in the morning…just be sure you don’t sneeze while you’ve still got your mouth full. Yeah, I learned that the hard way). Added benefit? No increased tooth sensitivity that’s common with over-the-counter teeth whitening products.

No matter how you use coconut oil in your health routine, be willing to spend a bit more for a better quality ingredient. Look for unrefined and cold-pressed (expeller-pressed) oil, and in an ideal world, from a company that pledges to use sustainable and fair-trade practices.

Do you have another favorite way to use coconut oil? Let us know about it in the comments!

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Sara M. is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and freelance writer living and working near Boston, MA. As a former CrossFit gym owner and current fitness lover, Sara has a lot of personal and professional experience inside and outside the gym. She loves to write about various topics related to health, wellness, nutrition, human behavior, and self-mastery.