Ok, I admit it, I was a bit skeptical about how coconut oil was going to be the answer to every health problem like every article out there right now claims – how it would soften my hair, cook my food better and generally leave me healthier than before. After wandering around Dunnes one day I finally took the plunge and bought a jar of it to see if the promises held true.
So what makes coconut oil different? Well, coconut oil is a saturated fat, that means it’s hard at room temperature, but it quickly melts when warmed. It also contains lauric acid, which has been known to increase good HDL cholesterol (when taken in small doses) and because of the medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) in the oil, it can increase the amount of energy used in comparison to longer chain triglycerides. This means even though it might be the same amount of calories as another oil, the MCTs will increase the amount of calories burnt.
Unrefined coconut oil has a higher smoke point than oils that we would usually cook with (vegetable oil, sunflower oil etc.). The smoke point is the temperature that the oil begins to produce smoke, and it marks the temperature of the oil when it starts to break down. This is the point where free radicals are released along with a substance that gives food that burnt taste, and makes your eyes water. Using unrefined coconut oil instead of your regular oils let you get the pan hotter for stir fries and other foods, and with my own experience I’ve found that while frying meat in coconut oil it still stays tender on the outside, while cooking completely through the inside.
So after replacing the bottle of oil with a jar of solid coconut oil in the kitchen, I bought another one for the bathroom and playing around. First on the to do list was a hairmask.
The important thing when using oil in your hair is not to put it near your scalp, because all of the goodness you will get out of the oil will be washed away when you’re scrubbing the oil off your scalp. It is as simple as warming up a shot sized amount of oil and rubbing it into the ends of your hair, working the way up. It can be left in for 10-15 minutes, or if your hair is in desperate need of a rescue, overnight (while wearing a shower cap to save your pillow). To remove it, just wash your hair as normal, and you should be treated to smoother hair. This is something that I now try to get in once a week, and is so much cheaper (and in my opinion more effective) than hair masks you see in the shops.
After leaving the oil in the bathroom I started using it in place of Baby Oil after a shower and found that it’s also great for removing waterproof mascara while being gentle on your skin. Plus, you have the added bonus of smelling good enough to eat! As a long sufferer of temperamental skin, I haven’t been brave enough to apply it directly to my face as a moisturiser just yet.
Other benefits of coconut oil that I’ve yet to try is using it as a natural remedy for athlete’s foot and for oil pulling to improve oral health, but with how long the jars actually last, I’m willing to give it a go for most things.
It may not be the solution to all of life’s problems, but it is definitely something that you can effortlessly add into your life to reap the benefits