The 4 Best Uses for Coconut Oil

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There are no shortage of superfoods on the market, as well as natural solutions for improved health. But I have made no secret of one of my all-time favorite natural remedies (along with apple cider vinegar) that I use every day: coconut oil.

So why do I love coconut oil so much? Well, primarily for it’s versatility — the many uses of coconut oil make it super easy to reap its health benefits in all areas of my life. Here are four of my favorite uses.

For cooking

Coconut oil is great for cooking, and using it in this way is probably the simplest way to start seeing the health rewards of coconut oil. (And it’s a good replacement for vegetable oils, many of which may turn unhealthy when you cook with them.) Coconut oil is slow to oxidize — even when heated at high temperatures — which means it is less likely to go rancid and become unhealthy. Also, the fatty acids in coconut oil (lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid) contain antimicrobial, antioxidant, and antifungal properties that contribute to overall wellness.

Related: Vegetable Oils Might Actually Not Be Good For You

For skin care

Using coconut oil for skin care is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to reap its full benefits (plus, it’s a great alternative to those artificial chemically laden lotions and potions lining drugstore shelves). As an added bonus, the low molecular weight of coconut oil helps it to penetrate the skin easily, thus improving the health of your skin at the cellular level. The caprylic and lauric fatty acids in coconut oil reduce inflammation, while providing superior hydration. Some of my favorite ways to use coconut oil on the skin include as a face wash (it’ll kill pimple-causing bacteria while also moisturizing), to treat skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis (it’s much more effective than mineral oil-based salves), and in an irritant-free deodorant.

Related: Homemade Coconut Oil Lip Balm

For weight loss

It’s the beginning of the year, which means that all across the country, millions of people are forgoing the happy hour cocktails and snacking on carrots and celery in an attempt to win the battle of the bulge. And while deprivation never works for sustained weight loss, there is an easier way. The medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil support weight loss by stimulating the burning of fat for energy. Additionally, some animal research suggests coconut oil may help control cravings and overeating. So now that you know that healthy fats (keyword: healthy) can actually help you lose fat, incorporate at least a tablespoon per day into your diet to maximize benefit. Try adding it to smoothies, your morning coffee or even eating it by the spoonful.

For an overall wellness boost

To date, there are well over 1,500 studies that show the incredible healing properties of coconut oil. So even if you’re currently at your ideal weight and have great skin and oral health, there are still significant reasons you should consider consuming coconut oil on a daily basis.

Coconut oil may help prevent heart disease and high blood pressure due to its effects on cholesterol, and also seems to have digestive benefits (through its effects on gut bacteria) and inflammation-lowering effects (through its high levels of antioxidants). And these are just some of the amazing benefits.

The important thing to remember is that, in order to get maximum benefit from coconut oil, it’s important to choose an unrefined, virgin coconut oil. Refined coconut oil has been heated and processed, thereby destroying many of the oil’s powerful healing properties.

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