5 ways to use coconut oil in everyday life

5 ways to use coconut oil in everyday life

5 ways to use coconut oil in everyday life

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by SARAH FIGALORA

ABC News

Posted on April 30, 2014 at 2:09 PM

(ABC News) -- Coconut oil is one fad that keeps on giving.

From cooking to hair care, fans of this all-natural vegan product say it really can do it all.

Give into the hype and try these five ways to incorporate coconut oil into your everyday life.

1. When cooking

“If you haven’t yet tried coconut oil, stop what you’re doing right now, grab a pen, and add it to the top of your grocery list,” said ABC News’ nutrition and wellness editor David Zinczenko.

Found in your local grocery or health food store, studies suggest that a small daily serving (1-to-2 tablespoons) can boost metabolism thanks to its high lauric acid content and medium chain triglycerides.

Coconut oil doesn’t seem to raise your cholesterol – another great benefit – and its high smoke point makes it great for just about every meal, from eggs to stir-fry dishes.

2. As a body lotion

Coconut oil is a natural moisturizer and is commonly used an ingredient in commercial skin products.

“Besides its hydrating ability, it contains lauric acid, which has been shown to kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi, explaining why coconut oil may help treat certain skin infections,” said Dr. Josh Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

A spoonful of coconut oil is usually enough to hydrate your whole body – try swapping it in for your current lotion.

3. As a hair product

Studies suggest that coconut oil can strengthen and fortify the hair shaft which may help it look thicker, feel softer and appear healthier-looking. Extra-virgin or unrefined coconut oil, which has not been processed, is the best and purest form to use, and is commonly used as an ingredient in commercial hair products.

“The oil can be massaged into the scalp and onto the hair,” said Zeichner. “Let it sit for 10 minutes then rinse out to use as a natural moisturizer.”

4. As an energy boost

As if it couldn’t get any better, coconut oil can also be used to increase energy.

“Unlike the long-chain fatty acids found in animal sources of saturated fat, coconut oil is more likely to be burned as energy than stored as blubber,” said Zinczenko.

Try spreading 1-to-2 tablespoons onto toast for breakfast or add 1 tablespoon to the water or sports drink you consume during your workout.

5. To promote oral health

Oil-pulling, originating from the ancient practice of Ayurvedic medicine in India, has recently become a popular trend after research suggested its positive effects on oral health.

“The procedure is definitely beneficial, it prevents the accumulation of Dental plaque and reduces gingivitis” said Dr. HV Amith, a researcher at the People's College of Medical Sciences & Research Centre and author of a recent study on the topic.

Try it out for yourself and swish 1-to-2 teaspoons of coconut oil in your mouth for 20 minutes.

For more from ABC News, click here.

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