by: Karina Klugg, Nutritional Supplements Buyer
In the comedy Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009), the main character Rebecca Bloomwood struggles with the dichotomy of her life as a financial writer giving advice on money and her “real” life as a seriously in-debt shopaholic. Although Gucci and Versace are not my downfall, Nordic Naturals (“the Cadillac of fish oil”) and gourmet whole food vitamins are my weak spot.
In an effort to cut costs but not quality an all-in-one product fits the bill quite nicely: coconut oil. Coconut oil may be used from the head to the toes (and everywhere in between), internally and externally. Coconut oil can be used topically on the skin and is super softening and nourishing. It can also be used internally in supplement form and of course, as food. Coconut oil can be used in place of butter on toast or added to rice for a delicious coconut curry. Some people even take coconut oil straight at a volume of three to four tablespoons a day.
I have found coconut excellent when used topically for cracked heels, dry skin and dandruff. For years I have searched for the right shampoo. My hair tends to be greasy and my scalp the opposite very dry. I have been amazed at how effective doing a pre-wash scalp conditioning with coconut oil has been in transforming my dry scalp while eliminating my greasy hair problem. It seems counter-intuitive, but it worked.
Another wonderful aspect of coconut oil as body care is it has been shown in studies to have sun-protective qualities as well as post-sun nurturing benefits. An oil that softens the skin and aids in protecting from ultraviolet radiation, sounds great to me. The wonderful smell of the oil is an added bonus!
Coconut oil is high in lauric and caprylic acid. Lauric acid is a medium-chain fatty acid. Medium-chain fatty acids have been shown to metabolize in the body with very little output of energy helping to ease absorption without storing a lot of fat. Research has shown lauric acid to be antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral as well as free of trans-fat. Caprylic acid has been used extensively for candida and yeast treatment. (Please note that due to its “thermogenic effect” (temperature increasing) coconut oil is contraindicated in people with hypertension/high blood pressure.)
Coconut oil is considered a cholesterol-free fat. When shopping for coconut oil look for organic, virgin, unrefined and non-hydrogenated. If coconut oil is hydrogenated the good fatty acids are turned into trans-fatty acids. A non-hydrogenated coconut oil is free of trans-fatty acids.
There is substantial research that shows coconut oil lessens the severity of the symptoms related to psoriasis, eczema and dermatitis. Additionally, coconut oil has been used by many for conditions such as ringworm, acne, herpes, warts, yeast infections, boils, poor circulation and cold body temperature. Use coconut oil as a natural deodorant. Natural and aluminum-free; make your own with ingredients found in the kitchen: mix approximately 5 tablespoons coconut oil with roughly ¼ cup baking soda and ¼ cup cornstarch or arrowroot.
Studies done in 1998 at McGill University by their obesity research group compared coconut oil to other sources of fats. This research showed that the medium-chain fatty acids found in coconut oil actually burn up energy when they are metabolized instead of storing as fat in the body, leading to potential weight-loss benefits.
We have coconut oil available on our grocery shelves with the other oils as well as in capsule form by Source Naturals. The capsules are currently on a member special at thirty percent off for the month of March.
At the end of the day, when you are covered in warm, silky and nourishing coconut oil, you might curl up with a book or perhaps a movie and enjoy one of my favorite coconut oil treats, coconut dark chocolate popcorn. Melt 1/3 cup of coconut oil in a saucepan add 1 cup of dark chocolate chips (vary amount to your taste and serving size). Pour this over freshly popped and salted popcorn. My friend Sondra recently made this for an Oneota Film Festival event at the Dug Road Inn. She added chili pepper powder which added a warm spice that was just the ticket to compliment the coconut sweetness.
So be creative with coconut oil. There are many wonderful uses and benefits that I have found. Be sure and let us know of any new uses you find for this great product.