Like I mentioned in my last post, I am from the Caribbean… A proud island girl!!
Coconut is the staple of every beach in my country, the beautiful palms trees stand tall in every country road and surround every single one of our stunning, crystal blue, warm water beaches.
I was born and raised in the Dominican Republic and in my country we use coconuts a LOT. From drinking the coconut’s water and then eating “la masita” (what we call the coconut’s meat), cooking amazing dishes like my favorite “arroz con coco” (rice with coconut) to making refreshing drinks. We use it for frying, moisturizing, we make milk from it, butter, flour, we use coconut for and in about everything you can think of!!
But coconuts have so much more to offer and it was not until I moved to LA that I realized that my love for it was just getting started!
In this post I will tell you a little about the amazing properties and benefits of coconut and the many ways that I’ve used it over the years.
A little background on coconut:
The coconut (cocos nucifera) is regarded as the jewel of the tropics and it is without a doubt the most economically important palm. Often called “the tree of life”, coconut contributes significantly to the economies of many countries and is of prime importance to the daily lives of millions of people (nearly one third of the world’s population depends on coconut to some degree for their food and their economy)
It is highly nutritious, rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and it’s classified as a “functional food” because it provides many health benefits beyond its nutritional content.
While coconut possesses many health benefits, it’s the oil that makes it a truly remarkable food and medicine. It contains lots of easily digestible, fat-soluble vitamins: A is good for the immune system, E has strong antioxidant properties for the skin and can provide some protection against UV rays, D is good for strong bones and teeth and K is good for blood-clotting.
Coconut oil has a saturated fat called lauric acid, which has been shown to increase the good HDL cholesterol in the blood which helps improve cholesterol ratio levels. Also, when coconut oil is enzymatically digested it forms a monoglyceride called monolaurin, both lauric acid and monolaurin can kill harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses and fungi.
For Heal and Wellness:
I haven been “Oil-Pulling” with Corpo Natura RD cold pressed virgin coconut oil, every morning. I take it as soon as I wake up, I swish it while I shower, blow dry my hair and do everything I need to do before spitting it out, rinse and then brush my teeth. That gives me a good 20 minutes of swishing.
Oil-Pulling involves rinsing (swishing) approximately one tablespoon of oil around your mouth. As the oil hits your teeth and gums, microbes are picked up and bacteria hiding under crevices in the gums, pores and tubules within the teeth are sucked out and held firmly in the solution.
Coconut oil is preferred because 50% of the fat in it is composed of the bacteria whooping ingredient Lauric acid. This acid is very well known for its antimicrobial actions. (It inhibits strep mutants that are the primary bacteria to cause tooth decay)
Healing Bug Bites and Other Cuts – When applied directly to bug bites, it can stop the itching sensation. When applied to scars or cuts it forms a layer that protects the cut from dust, bacteria and it also speeds up the healing process.
For an energy boost – Only 1 teaspoon of coconut oil can give you a burst of energy. Try adding a spoonful to your coffee instead of turning towards a caffeinated energy drink. Takes a little time to get used to it but once you do you’ll love it.
Clear up congestion – All it takes is coconut oil, tea tree oil, and rosemary oil. Rub it on your chest, underneath your nose and in your temples to help you breathe and sleep better.
Clean your ears – Dip a cotton swab into coconut oil (but just for a second—you don’t want it to be soaked), and gently clean earwax out of your ears.
For Beauty Purposes:
Shaving – Conventional shaving cream is a massive blend of chemicals that you don’t need in order to get a nice clean shave on your legs or underarms. Coconut oil, on the other hand, is inexpensive, naturally antimicrobial, anti fungal, anti inflammatory and not to mention it smells amazing.
Even though I’m always trying new things, I always keep my jar of organic coconut oil in the shower for shaving and when it’s very dry I also use it as an after shave oil.
Make-Up Remover/Face Cleanser – This is one of my favorite uses for coconut! It is so simple, I don’t need anything but my fingers and water.
I take it straight from the jar, smear it all over my face, (coconut oil even removes waterproof mascara) gently massage until all the make up is removed and then rinse with warm water. In the mornings I follow up with my favorite facial soap bar and at night time I just pat dry my face and go to sleep. It is the best moisturizer!
Body Moisturizer – This one is very easy, at the end of my shower, when I turn off the water, I slather the oil all over my whole body and pat dry. I love it specially during summer on my feet since I use a lot of open foot shoes and they tend to get very dry. Also in winter time when the weather is very dry and after long beach days It calms my skin and helps minimize peeling.
Massage Oil – Coconut oil is the perfect choice for a massage oil. Is not too greasy and maybe because I grew up around so much coconut I find the scent super relaxing.
Hair Static Reducer and Anti Frizz – I rub a very small amount on my hands and run them through the static or frizzy areas.
Cheekbone Highlighter – For a natural glow apply a small amount on cheekbones after putting makeup. Be careful and make sure to use very little so it doesn’t look greasy.
Replace Vegetable Oil for Baking and cooking – I started replacing vegetable oil for coconut oil in baking around 5 years ago. I was look for healthier alternatives and liked it so much I have never gone back. If you are not the biggest fan of coconut, like me, you don’t need to worry as the taste is not overpowering at all.
Pan Frying – From potatoes, onion rings to even eggs, next time you have to fry up try using coconut oil. Coconut Oil has a high smoke point which is important for deep and pan frying because proper oil temperature guarantees a healthier fried food. While all fried foods will absorb oil, the right temperature will prevent burning, reduce the amount of oil absorbed and better preserve nutrients. Deep frying and pan frying require an oil temperature of 325 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, making refined coconut oil the best option for these cooking methods.
For your pets:
Cut down on hairballs – Coconut oil aids improve cats digestion and helps the body to absorb the nutrients necessary for the body to work properly. At the same time, it helps in the removal of hairball. Add ¼ teaspoon of coconut oil to your cat’s food and gradually increase the dose to 1 teaspoon per day.
Condition your pet’s fur – Rubbing some through your cat’s or dog’s coat will keep it healthy and shiny.
This is all for now, I will keep updating my list and sharing my experiences with you!! I really hope you enjoyed it.