Coconut Oil | Life Hack #1

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I’ve used coconNT_coconut_oil_THUMBut oil as a skin moisturizer and for cooking (amongst other things) for most of my adult life. I stopped for a very short while for no apparent reason other than that I never remembered to stock up on it again. After asking one of my favorite Indian clients about her beautiful skin and hair, she responded with: “You white girls don’t use coconut oil”. I decided then and there, this is it – I miss the ease of use and the amazing results that were noticeable, especially on my skin, and headed to the supermarket and stocked up on my favorite local coconut oil brand: Lemcke Fine Oils

The 2 kinds (I use both. At times I enjoy the natural coconut smell and at other times I prefer a fragrance free option) varies in the following manner:
Organic, virgin, coconut oil – Organic virgin coconut oil is cold-pressed from the fresh white meat of the coconut and has a distinct coconut flavour and smell. It is rich in medium-chain saturated fatty acids, especially lauric acid. Unlike many other saturated fats, lauric acid is a ‘good’ fat, which helps lower cholesterol. Organic virgin coconut oil is suitable for frying and cooking due to its stable nature at high temperatures.

Neutral taste coconut oil – Refined coconut oil is made from copra, the dried kernel of the coconut. It is also rich in medium-chain saturated fatty acids, like lauric acid which keeps cholesterol levels in balance. Refined coconut oil is neutral in taste and smell, making it the perfect cooking oil when you want the health benefits but not the flavour of coconuts.

Why use coconut oil?

In my humble opinion, there’s nothing like it. #superfood

For dry skin & hair: Whether it’s weather-induced or a chronic issue, dry skin is compromised, less-healthy skin. Skin’s supple, elastic natural state enables it to protect the entire body from invaders; when it’s too dry, the skin’s barrier function is affected, and pathogens can enter. But even less serious dryness can cause irritation, itchiness, and inflammation. And it doesn’t just feel bad: Dry skin can look uneven, blotchy, and decidedly more wrinkled, as moisture plumps and smoothes the skin.

Dry air is of course the enemy of dry skin, but so, counterintuitively, is water. Applied to the surface of the skin, water takes natural skin oils with it as it evaporates, causing… dryness. Overwashing can really exacerbate dry skin, and the hotter the water, the stronger the effect. Surfactants—soaps, detergents, most anything that foams—compound the water-evaporating situation, breaking up and dispersing the skin’s natural oils with extreme efficiency. On top of eliminating oil, surfactants can also irritate skin, further disrupting the barrier function.

In short, wash as little as you need to, and for as short a time as possible. For instance, if you cleanse your face at night, it shouldn’t need re-cleansing in the morning—unless you’ve got very oily skin, not dry, skip morning cleansing altogether, and just start with face oil or moisturizer. Most people with dry skin don’t need a toner step, either—unless they’re not exfoliating at all, in which case the mild exfoliation from applying a toner might be worth it. Take short showers with non-surfactant cleansers. But that is all beside the coconut-oil point. I’ve recently started making my own body scrub using coconut oil, brown sugar and left over coffee grinds. It’s truly amazing!

Some other cosmetic purposes includes the use against hair damage and one study shows effectiveness as sunscreen, blocking about 20% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Another application is using it like mouthwash in a process called oil pulling, which can kill some of the harmful bacteria in the mouth, improve dental health and reduce bad breath. Not 100% sold on that yet, but I’ll try it once at least!

Consumption & other uses: Coconut oil is one of the few foods that can be classified as a “superfood.” Its unique combination of fatty acids can have profound positive effects on health. This includes fat loss, better brain function and various other amazing benefits.

Coconut oil has been demonized in the past because it contains saturated fat. In fact, coconut oil is one of the richest sources of saturated fat known to man, with almost 90% of the fatty acids in it being saturated. But lucky for us, new data is showing that saturated fats are harmless.Coconut oil contains Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) – which are fatty acids of a medium length.Most of the fatty acids in the diet are long-chain fatty acids, but the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil are metabolized differently. They go straight to the liver from the digestive tract, where they are used as a quick source energy or turned into so-called ketone bodies, which can have therapeutic effects on brain disorders like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s.

Another favorite fact is that almost 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil is the 12-carbon Lauric Acid. When coconut oil is enzymatically digested, it also forms a monoglyceride called monolaurin. Both lauric acid and monolaurin can kill harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses and fungi. For example, these substances have been shown to kill the bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus (a very dangerous pathogen) and the yeast Candida Albicans, a common source of yeast infections in humans. Gwyneth Paltrow recently expressed her view in an article on the dailymail.co.uk on what a useful and healthy, non-toxic sexual lubricant coconut oil makes. Something to explore.

And that’s a wrap on why I adore coconut oil.

 

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