By: Jefferson Tobkin
The coconut is a fruit that is widely known for its health promoting properties. Simply crack a hole in a coconut, stick a straw in it, and you have yourself a healthy drink with its own cup. You’ll quickly feel refreshed and hydrated due to the electrolytes in it and luckily for us, it tastes amazing too! This drink has started to gain mainstream attention as an alternative to other drinks used for hydration. It should be noted that canned coconut juice has nothing on the fresh juice. Companies often add preservatives like potassium sorbate, as well as extra sugar, which negatively affect its benefits. In either case, it should be noted that you shouldn’t binge on coconut juice because it does contain some fructose, which can negatively affect your health if consumed excessively. Ideally, you should only have around 25 grams of fructose a day. The great thing about the coconut is that beyond the juice, there are so many other uses for the fruit.
- Coconut Flour
Coconut flour is high in fiber, gluten-free, low-carb, and still retains some of the beneficial fats and nutrients. This high-fiber, low carbohydrate flour can be invaluable when used to make healthy coconut flour muffins and breads that normally require regular flour.
- Coconut Milk
Coconut Milk is lactose-free and an excellent alternative to dairy milk. I personally use coconut milk the most in my protein shakes and oatmeal. It tastes great in Thai curries as well. Homemade coconut milk is simple to make, but for those of you that are strapped for time, I’d recommend buying the Native Forest Organic Coconut Milk. Their product tastes great and their cans are BPA-free.
Beyond all of these healthy foods derived from the wondrous coconut, the most prized substance sought after is the coconut’s oil. This oil is the healthiest cooking oil available and has many health benefits, especially in its raw form.
Coconut oil has been used as a natural source of food and medicine throughout history. Pacific Islanders consume large amounts of coconuts in various forms and they have a history of low heart disease and seldom have overweight issues. In Thailand it is the main oil used for cooking, as well as for cosmetics and medicine. Jamaicans would generally use coconut oil as the first remedy against illness and in India this oil plays a critical role in Ayurvedic medicine, which dates back over 5000 years. It is said to speed up the recovery process from illness as well as speeding up the healing of wounds. In society today where vegetable oils and other highly processed omega 6 oils are the most common source of cooking oils, it is great that coconut oil is finally being recognized again for its superior health benefits.
12 Uses of Coconut Oil
- Acne Treatment – Clean and pat dry your face, then apply some coconut oil lightly. Leave it on over night. You should wait 10-15 minutes before going to bed. It might temporarily increase breakouts and oily skin for a few days, even up to a week or two. This is just the coconut cleaning up any toxins in your skin and it will clear.
- Aftershave – Does a good job of moisturizing your skin after shaving, as well as promoting healing. Some coconut oil brands smell better than others so test it out for yourself and see how you like it!
- Butter Alternative – Use coconut oil as a substitute for butter on toast. It tastes great as a substitute for butter in popcorn as well. With the addition of a little sea salt, you dramatically improve the nutrient content of popcorn versus using butter and normal table salt. Use organic popcorn kernels and make your own at home. It is best to avoid microwaves as it alters the composition of molecules in the food, making them unhealthier.
- Cooking Oil – Coconut Oil is about 90% saturated fat and has 50-60% lauric acid. It has a plethora of beneficial health properties and is the healthiest cooking oil as well.
- Deep Hair Conditioning – Use a tablespoon or so and rub into your hair and scalp. Put a shower cap on and leave it in overnight. Wash it out in the morning and your hair will feel amazingly soft! It will strengthen your hair as well as slow down hair loss.
- Effective in getting chewing gum out of hair – Put it in hair where chewing gum is and leave it in for 30 minutes. The gum should come out with relative ease afterwards.
- Make Up Remover – Just use the coconut oil itself as a makeup remover. It works surprisingly well! For the record, this is NOT coming from personal experience, thank you very much. My girlfriend uses it and it seems to work wonders! In addition to removing make up she says it moisturizes her skin without the added chemicals.
- Mosquito Bites – Stops or significantly reduces the amount of itchiness.
- Natural Chapstick – Use coconut oil as a lip moisturizer. Edible chapstick that really works!
- Natural Toothpaste – ¼ cup coconut oil, ¼ cup baking soda, essential oil of peppermint or cinnamon, stevia (add to desired sweetness)
- Oil Pulling – A great, simple way to detoxify your body! Take 1 tablespoon of oil, swish in mouth anywhere from 10-40 minutes a day to draw out toxins, bacteria, and other germs. The oil will turn into a thin white foam. DO NOT swallow it. Spit into trashcan. (If you spit it in drain, it will clog it over time)
- Skin Moisturizer – Works great as a skin moisturizer. A little goes a long way so keep that in mind.
Go and experiment with the oil and flour! It really makes staying on a healthy diet much easier and has been an integral part of my diet. It serves as a great substitute for foods that call for butter, as well as staving off my carbohydrate cravings through the making of low-carb muffins and other coconut flour recipes. I don’t know about you, but personally, I have a weakness for cupcakes and muffins so being able to actually eat some without guilt is a huge, huge plus in my book. Check em’ out and see for yourself!