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Coconut oil, extracted from the fruit’s meat, is a key part of the healthy food craze in Western societies. We are ingesting it, cooking with it, moisturizing our skin and more. Here are five easy ways to integrate coconut oil into your lifestyle so that you can reap the healing powers of this tropical drupe.

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1. Eat and cook with this healthy fat.

Coconut oil is a good source of saturated fat to add to your diet. Its medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) go straight to the liver, and their quick conversion turns into usable energy. These fats can boost your metabolism and raise the good cholesterol in your blood. The lauric acid found in a coconut’s fat is also known to kill harmful bacteria and microbes. It can improve your digestion and boost immunity. Pop a tablespoon of coconut oil into your morning coffee or cook your veggie stir fry in the oil.

 

2. Repair your hair.

For frizzy, dry or damaged hair, coconut oil is a wondrous remedy. Rub a small amount into the ends of your locks (a little goes a long way), or mix coconut oil with some honey to create a hair mask. Warm the honey and coconut oil, massage it into your hair, and leave it on for 30 minutes. After shampooing and conditioning, you’ll have gorgeous, soft hair.

 

3. Moisturize and clean your skin.
Coconut oil can be used topically to hydrate dry skin. Rub it on your lips or cracked feet. It’s also a great makeup remover that’s gentle on the skin, as it lacks the chemicals found in many store-bought products. This detoxifying oil works as a moisturizer for the entire body or as great massage oil, too.

 

4. Make a natural deodorant.

Most commercial deodorants contain a host of nasty chemicals and compounds, like paraben and aluminum, that we should not be exposing our bodies to on a daily basis. Use coconut oil in this homemade deodorant recipe that will keep you feeling fresh.

RECIPE: Coconut Lavender Deodorant

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp organic corn starch
  • 8 drops lavender essential oil

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Directions:

Mix baking soda and corn starch together, then mash in the coconut oil with a fork. Add the essential oils and store in a glass container. You can also add shea butter for an extra velvety feel.

 

5. Use as a healthy mouthwash.
Ayurvedic medicine suggests following a daily ritual of “oil pulling” by swishing coconut oil in the mouth for 20 minutes. This mouth-cleansing can kill bacteria and reduce bad breath. It also supports healthy gums and teeth. Start by swishing for 5 minutes and increase over time.

 

References and sources:

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Journalist Ann Wycoff has written about wellness, fitness, longevity, travel, spas, food and wine for the past 20 years for magazines like Shape, Fitness, Spa, Outside, Travel + Leisure, Coastal Living, Redbook, Modern Luxury, San Diego Magazine, Redbook, Marin Magazine and more. She lives in Encinitas, California.