Get creative with coconut oil for health and beauty
Whether you're a die-hard fan of Pina Colada or love adding reduced-fat coconut milk to spicy, creamy Thai curries or Tom Yum soup, we're all a little nuts about coconuts. But have you tried coconut oil yet? This tropical wonder has a myriad of uses – did we mention it smells great? From cooking, to your beauty regime, coconut oil is affordable and easy to find either online or in a health food store near you (just make sure you get the unrefined, pure kind). Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which can help lower your cholesterol, it has antifungal and antimicrobial properties and it's packed with iron and vitamins. So we've come up with these 5 ways to use coconut oil in your life – try them, we think you'll like them!
Store-bought deep conditioning treatments for your hair can be packed with parabens and other toxic chemicals, not to mention they can cost the earth. So why not make your own hair treatment with pure, natural coconut oil? Mix just a few tablespoons of the oil with some honey and apply to your hair, then wrap in a warm towel and relax for up to an hour. It's the perfect excuse to relax with that bestseller you've been meaning to read. For an even deeper treatment, leave out the honey and heat the coconut oil for a few seconds in the microwave, for a home-made 'hot oil' treatment. You could use olive oil as a hair treatment, but we think coconut oil smells much nicer, plus its antifungal properties help protect against a flaky scalp!
Scrub yourself silly
You know that coconut oil is great for your hair, but did you also know it's good for your skin? It nourishes skin, leaving it silky soft, so next time you're in the bath or shower, mix some salt or brown sugar with coconut oil to buff your way to softer skin.
Oil cleansing method
We all want soft, glowing skin, and the oil cleansing method can help you to achieve that, without the use of artificial preservatives or harmful chemicals. It may sound counter-productive to add oil to your skin when you're trying to cleanse it and remove makeup, but the essential fatty acids in coconut oil help to dissolve stubborn makeup and sebum for a fresh complexion. A word of warning – you'll need fairly warm water on a clean washcloth to remove the oil, so if your skin is prone to redness, this may not be for you.
Whip up a stiry fry
Coconut oil's fantastic nutty flavour makes it the number one oil for stir fries. The oil has a high smoke point, which means you can cook vegetables and lean protein such as chicken or even tuna at high temperatures and it adds an oriental feel to dishes. Coconut oil is also great drizzled over sweet potatoes before roasting in the oven.
Add to smoothies
If you're looking for a natural energy boost, adding a tablespoon of coconut oil to your berry smoothie or protein-packed breakfast smoothie can do the trick. Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids which are used instantly by the body and converted to energy. Try it – it's amazing!
There are loads of other uses for versatile coconut oil too – as a moisturiser, salad dressing, scalp treatment, the list goes on and on. How do you use coconut oil in your life?