Coconut oil, a saturated fat harvested from the meat of mature coconuts, has been gaining popularity among medical professionals, dietitians, health bloggers, and foodies alike, and not without good reason. Classified by some as a ‘superfood,’joining the likes of Goji berries and Kefir, coconut oil has many fantastic uses and health benefits. Read on to learn about just some of the ways you can integrate coconut oil into your daily routine for better overall health…

Alternative Cooking Oil

Coconut oil has a reputation for being a light and clean oil as opposed to other oils that may leave residues after cooking, such as vegetable and olive oils. Coconut oil can be used as a healthy alternative for recipes that call for oil or butter. With a longer shelf life, it tends to keep longer than other oils without turning rancid.

Skin Moisturizer

Because of the chemical compounds found in coconut oil, it works wonders for the skin. When applied topically, coconut oil’s saturated fats help the skin retain moisture, and when ingested, these fats are deposited beneath the skin, helping fortify skin from the inside out. Many have replaced anti-aging creams with a regiment of coconut oil and seen amazing results for their skin. Because of its moisturizing effects, coconut oil can also be used as an alternative to lip balms.

Hair Health

In addition to a skin moisturizer, coconut oil can also be used as an alternative to conditioners, which may contain harsh chemicals that could damage your hair in the long run. Rather then strip hair, like many chemically based shampoos and conditioners, the saturated fats in coconut oil help hair retain moisture, producing a natural radiance and sheen, the hallmark of healthy hair. Additionally, coconut oil, when massaged into the scalp, has been reported to reduce and alleviate dandruff.

Teeth and Gums

“Oil pulling” is an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique used to promote oral hygiene and improve overall health. Oil pulling, to be used in conjunction with routine brushing and flossing, involves swooshing about a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth for 20 minutes. The oil works as a magnet, drawing out toxins and bacteria from around the teeth and gums. After swooshing, spit the oil into the trash or a container. Be mindful not to swallow the oil. Some who have practiced oil pulling have also reported whiter teeth and better smelling breath.

Increased Energy & Calorie Burner

Typically, saturated fats have a tendency to be stored in the body as energy reserves, but because coconut oil contains a unique strain of saturated fats called medium-chain triglycerides (MTCs), it works to increase energy and performance. These MTCs also work to boost the metabolism, making them an ideal supplement for burning calories and losing weight.