It’s no secret that we love a superfood at Content, especially when it’s a #skinfood staple from both our kitchen and beauty cabinet! Even after all these years, our love affair with organic coconut oil is still going strong: it’s a versatile, multi-tasking wonder which we’re never without.
Coconut oil is taken from the meat of a coconut, which is shredded, then crushed or pressed to expel the coconut oil. Our favourite type of organic coconut oil are those which have been extracted using centrifugal extractors: machines which do not heat the coconut oil during the process, in order to preserve its purity and nutrient content. This means that it's almost as fresh as the moment in which they were extracted from the coconut itself. For this reason, both Essence of Eden Premium Virgin Coconut Oil and rms beauty Raw Coconut Cream are two of our favourites.
Buyer, beware though - what you definitely want to avoid is 'RBD' oils - those that have been refined, bleached and deodorised to look crisp white and often smell overly coco-nutty! With our oils as with our food, we like to stick to the rule of: the less processing the better it is for you. As with all these things, you do tend to get what you pay for!
There are a myriad of well known and beneficial uses for coconut oil, both internally and externally - these are just some of our #ContentApproved favourites:
- Drink It: Anyone interested in wellbeing and food will have noticed the explosion of bulletproof coffee over the past year. Adding coconut oil (or organic grass-fed butter - the grass bit is important as grass-fed animals have higher omega-3 levels) to your morning java is a delicious way to get your 'healthy fat' kick in the morning and adds a nice creamy texture to your drink. The ‘bulletproof coffee’ idea is credited to Dave Asprey, and it has taken the fitness and health world by storm as benefits are known to include promoting brain function and maintaining energy levels and limiting hunger. After all, coconut oil itself has a host of health benefits: it is made of MCTS (Medium Chain Triglycerides), which are sent directly to the liver and rapidly absorbed by the body and quickly metabolised as fuel, rather than stored as fat. Studies have shown that it can help lower cholesterol1, as well as improve energy levels. Adding the oil may help the sensitive amongst us from getting the coffee jitters by slowing down the caffeine metabolism. Simply add a spoonful to your morning coffee and whizz in a blender. If you’re not a coffee fan, you could try mixing it in your herbal teas - we add it to our green tea- or smoothies instead. Our favourite way to drink it though is added to the Four Sigma Foods Superfood Coffee, which contains medicinal mushrooms - a match made in heaven!
- Dental health: Oil as mouthwash? Yes, it’s a thing! Traditionally an Ayurvedic practice from India known as ‘oil pulling’, it involves swishing a teaspoon of coconut oil in your mouth for fifteen to twenty minutes, before spitting it out. By doing this, the bacteria “get stuck” in the liquid oil and dissolved. You can use other oils such as sesame but we favour Coconut Oil as it is nature’s richest source of lauric acid (50%), which has strong anti-bacterial properties and is a potent anti-microbial. Recent studies show that coconut oil may help fight gingivitis2 and prevent tooth decay.3 It’s not a substitute to your usual oral hygiene routine, but rather a great supplement to assist it. We’re hooked.
- Beat sugar cravings: Here’s a little secret: when we’re feeling a little peckish, we like to help ourselves to a teaspoon of coconut oil or coconut mana as a quick snack. Thanks to its high lauric acid content, coconut oil is a sugar stabiliser and doesn’t spike blood sugar levels, which is a good way to sustain energy. A study showed that daily coconut oil intake can actually help promote a reduction in belly fat.4 Of course, we also love it in our cooking as a healthier substitute for olive oil, which can't take high temperatures.
- Our choice for all the above uses is the UK's Essence of Eden Certified Organic Centrifugal extracted oil - available here.
- An all-over beauty balm: No surprises here, but we like to use coconut oil on face, body and hair too. A study shows5 that coconut oil is incredibly hydrating and beneficial for dry, rough and itchy skin. As a natural antiseptic, it’s packed with antibacterial properties to keep skin clean and clear from bacteria. A few of our favourite ways to use it at Content are: as a body lotion (try the Liha Idan Oil), a highly effective make-up remover (hello rms beauty Coconut Cream), as a foot cream (simply lather feet in it and put on socks), as a face or body scrub (mix with ground almonds left over from your almond milk for face, or organic sugar for body) or as a lip, nail and cuticle balm (our favourite being the Dr Jackson's Coconut Melt).
- Hair - It’s also a great protective balm7 for hair which reduces protein loss: you can use it as a conditioning hair mask to strengthen scalp and hair and promote healthy, shiny locks.
- Men - Try it on your better half as a beard oil, pre-shave or after-shave.
- SPF - Surprisingly, it even has SPF properties. Although it looks like it's effective at blocking about 20% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays6 , we wouldn’t recommend replacing your usual SPF just yet!
REFERENCES 1. Complementary therapies in long-stay neurology in-patients settings - Arunima S1, Rajamohan T. Nurs Stand. 1999;13:32-35. 2. Effect of coconut oil in plaque related gingivitis — A preliminary report - Faizal C. Peedikayil, Prathima Sreenivasan,1 and Arun Narayanan2 doi: 10.4103/0300-1652.153406 3. "Coconut Oil May Prevent Tooth Decay." Nordqvist, Christian. Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 4 Sep. 2012. Web. 4. Effects of dietary coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting abdominal obesity. Assunção ML1, Ferreira HS, dos Santos AF, Cabral CR Jr, Florêncio TM. doi: 10.1007/s11745-009-3306-6. 5. A randomized double-blind controlled trial comparing extra virgin coconut oil with mineral oil as a moisturizer for mild to moderate xerosis. Agero AL1, Verallo-Rowell VM. 6. Potential of herbs in skin protection from ultraviolet radiation.- Korać RR1, Khambholja KM. Pharmacogn Rev. 2011 Jul;5(10):164-73. doi: 10.4103/0973-7847.91114. 7. Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage. Rele AS1, Mohile RB. J Cosmet Sci. 2003 Mar-Apr;54(2):175-92.